DecoratePaintings. January 10th, 2024

55 Unique Seashell Painting Ideas

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Seashell painting is an amazing and pleasant form of art. It mixes the beauty of nature with the creative ability of human expression. It transforms plain and ordinary seashells into spectacular artwork with various painting techniques and styles. You can decorate, gift or even sell these beautiful items. You can use seashells, scallops, turtle shells, oyster shells, crab shells, clam shells and even nautilus shells (or snail shells) as well.

Seashell Painting Supplies

Seashell painting supplies include:

Brushes: There are different sizes and shapes for broad strokes and fine detail work.

Acrylic Paints: These are high-quality, water-resistant, durable, and vibrant colors. Seashells in various shapes and sizes serve as a canvas for painting.

Non-Stick Paint Mixing Palette: A flat surface to mix and combine colors before putting them on the shells like paint tray. Can also use baking sheets from dollar store.

Dispoable Paint Palettes: Used to store and mix small quantities of paint for particular color schemes.

Easel: Not necessary, but helpful for stabilizing the shell when painting.

Waterbase Sealer: To keep finished artwork safe from harm and moisture.

Fine-tip Markers: For adding detailed details and outlines to the artwork.

Paper towels: Used to clean brushes and remove extra paint or mistakes.

Varnish: To create a glossy finish and use vibrant color for artwork throughout time. Optional extras include gold or silver leaf, glitter, and decorations.

Creativity: Stimulates your creativity and artistic expression.

How to Paint Seashells?

Painted seashells are a fun way to add dimension and interest to your shell collection. While seashells are lovely on their own, a little decoration can personalize them and make them perfect for adorning a craft or art project you are working on. There are some tips which you can follow to paint your shells.

  1. Prepare your shells:

  • Gather and clean the Shells:

To clean seashells, look for cracks and chips, save for another project, rinse in warm water, and then scrub with an old toothbrush or manicure brush. If the seashells stink, soak them in a bleach solution for up to 24 hours. Remember that bleach may turn them white. If you live far from a beach, you can buy shells at art supplies or flower shops to fill vases. Rinse with warm water to remove dust.

  • Prime the shells for painting it in a solid color:

It is optional, although it will make the surface easier to paint. Select an acrylic paint primer and paint both sides of the shell. Allow each side to dry before applying a second layer.

  • Use watercolor if you want the features of the shell to be visible:

To absorb watercolor into seashell, dry it translucently, and use it for both solid color and tie-dye designs. You can dilute liquid water colors with water to achieve their higher saturation and brighter results. They are perfect for tie-dye and solid-color designs.

  • Choose acrylic paint for fine designs, scenery, and solid color:

When acrylic paint dries, it becomes opaque, covering the shell without revealing its original color or pattern. It is great for layered designs, but let each layer dry before moving on.

  • Get a good quality brush:

Choose a fine brush with talon or sable bristles; avoid horsehair or boar bristles and twisted or messed-up bushes. Consider having a variety of flat and fine-pointed, round-tipped brushes.

  • Pick a theme:

You can paint various images on your shell, such as words, designs, beach scenery, or animal faces. You can avoid making mistakes while working on complex scenes; by practicing on paper or a sheet.

  1. Painting the shells

  • Dilute your paint with water:

Water activates watercolor and acrylic paints, making them more fluid and easy to work with.

  • Use Wet Brush:

Damp the brush in water and blot it with a paper towel to make painting simple and reduce strokes.

  • Begin with the background, let the paint dry, and then proceed:

For simple designs like ladybugs, start with the background color to avoid combining and creating a muddy impression. Allow one side to dry before painting the other, and use a large flat-tipped brush for broad areas.

  • Use a thinner brush for details:

Make a shell beautiful by painting it with solid color and adding millions of small dots with a fine-pointed brush. Make adjustments while keeping them close. Mix and match colors to create a striped or radial effect.

  • Seal the shell for protection:

Cover your seashell with a transparent acrylic sealer, either brush-on or spray-on. To get the metallic or glossy shade use a matte, glossy or satin finish. Use watercolor paints carefully because glossy sealers can cause blotting and darken the paint, while matte or satin sealers can lighten it.

  • Use shells for display or project:

You can display shells on a charger, dresser, fireplace mantel, or hair clip using hot glue for adorable accessories.

  1. Explore Various Designs

  • Transform shells into painted Animals:

Allow a solid seashell to dry. Create different animals by painting patterns or adding embellishments like pipe cleaners and googly eyes. Make a ladybug by drawing a head, a vertical line, and black dots. Make a crab by attaching googly eyes to the top of the shell and a fish by sticking fins and a tiny seashell to the top.

  • Paint a scene:

You can paint ocean scenes or any other scene, beginning with the sky, continuing to the backdrop, larger things such as buildings and trees, and finishing with details such as flowers, windows, and birds. Let each layer dry before adding another.

  • Decorate with Gems and Glitter:

Paint a shell with multicolor paint, let it dry, and decorate it with glitter or gemstones. For glitter, use white glue, superglue for jewels, or colored sand for a distinct texture.

  • Create Geometric or Mandala Designs:

Paint the shell with a solid color, let it dry, and then add geometric designs like zigzags in vibrant colors. Try to add a black, white, blue, or rainbow layer on the top.

  • Create small points and mandalas with a painted brush:

Paint a solid shell, then use a fine-pointed brush to paint small dots of various sizes to create a striped or radial design.

  • Refine shells with metallic Gold and Silver:

Paint the entire seashell in a solid color or just the edge for a splendid look. Spray paint is ideal for quick and easy application.

Seashell Painting Kit

You can buy a seashell painting kit from Amazon to decorate your seashells.

Sea Side Scenery Diamond Painting Kit from Amazon.

DIY Painting Kit with paints and brushes from Amazon.

55 Seashell painting ideas and designs

Seashells are delicate works of art created by nature and left on sandy beaches. These gorgeous jewels have long inspired artists, and painting seashells can be a fun and creative undertaking. There are many seashell painting ideas and designs to spark your ideas and help you bring the magic of the beach into your art pieces. If you don’t have any experience in painting and designing seashells, you do not need to worry about it. You can paint or design; the seashell with these easy and simple ideas. So grab your brush, and let’s get started.


Easy Seashell Painting Ideas

Here are some easy seashell painting ideas for you.

Painting trees on a seashell is a fun and creative thing to do.

Combine painting and writing with paint on a shell and share kind messages.


A simple painting on a seashell by Sabus Creative Zone


Modpodge printable and use paint on top to highlight the design. This seashell with a message is ideal for people who enjoy painting but not drawing.


Simple Seashell Painting Designs

Add some personal touch with this seashell letter craft.

Due to its unique form and smooth surface, a scallop shell is a stunning and popular choice many arts and crafts projects.


Fabric florals on shells by felicitybuchanandesigns.


A fun and whimsical art activity is making a seashell butterfly painting.


Ocean in a mussel shell with hand-painted turtle, the water glows at night from Etsy.


Painted Seashell Decor Ideas

Decorating seashells with gold leaf can give a touch of elegance and sophistication to your beach-inspired decor.


Embellish a vase with seashells by Glued to my crafts.


Stunning couch shell design by Faery bug original.


Vibrant seashell dot pattern from Pinterest.


Painted Seashell Gifts

Seashell bottle art transforms regular glass bottles into gorgeous beach-inspired decor piece gifts.


This gorgeous painted candle seashell oyster is a wonderful piece for beach side cottage.


Painting Made From Handmade Sea Shell from Etsy.


Blue original framed shell sculptures from Etsy.


Beautiful oyster shell pineapple hanging from Etsy.


Cool Seashell Painting

This gorgeous painted seashell is meant to look like a sunrise. So cool!


Wall hanging made of seashells by My world easy craft.


Painted seashells windchime from Etsy.


Give your indoor or outdoor plant display a beachy and natural feel with a seashell flower pot.


Create lovely mermaid painting on seashells to capture the sea’s charm and attraction.


Adorable slice of rainbow flourite inspired scallop large seashell painting idea by Faery bug original.


Coastal scenery by Serena Art.


Your favorite lighthouse on a seashell with your inscription from Etsy.


Trending Sea Shell Painting

Ocean-inspired seashell paintings by Serena Arts.


Risen Ocean-Inspired Seashell Painting by Michelle Tracey Art.


Create elaborate and fascinating mandala designs on seashells or get this gold pearl mermaid treasure from Etsy.


Abstract painting on seashells to express yourself.


Iridescent Hand Painted Gold Seashell from Etsy.


Van Gogh seashell painting from Etsy.


Acrylic Seashell Painting Ideas

Acrylic seashell painting is a fun and creative art project that allows you to capture the beauty of seashells, using the colorful and versatile properties of acrylic paints.

Two layer painting with acrylics on shells from Creative Art.


Turn a seashell into a unique pendant by Etsy.

Painting shells and squid on rocks by luna in yellow.


Seashell Painting for Kids

Making a seashell painting for kids can be a fun and engaging hobby that allows them to express their creativity while celebrating the beauty of the beach.

Sea shell craft activity by Nhavi’s activity hut.


Glow in the dark seashells by handmade by hems using glow paint.


Making a seashell photo frame is a charming and decorative way to display your beach memories while adding a tropical charm to your home decor.


Simple dot flowers on shells by colour prism.


Poppies under the moon painting from Etsy.


Seashell painting with paint brush and markers

Use brush pens to make intricate patterns from your travel diaries on seashells like this Eiffel tower by persian alhoti.


Painting butterflies on sea shells by Creative Hacks and Crafts by Komal.


Draw beautiful patterns on shells with sharpies from Pinterest.


Make intricate patterns on shells with fine tip markers from Pinterest.


Watercolor and Oil Seashell Painting

Watercolor seashell painting is a beautiful technique that shows the softness and natural beauty of seashells using soft and transparent features of watercolors that blend and contrast naturally with flow of water by Mess for less.


Colorful houses painted in oil on repurposed seashell from Etsy.


Vintage Seashell Paintings

Still life Trinket Seashell Tray painting ideas by Iron Orchid Designs.


Learn to decoupage tissue paper and paint gold sides on oyster shells by Positively Strong.



Seashell angles by fabric twist.


Hanging Gold Oyster Shell Ornament William Morris Pimpernel from Etsy.


Painted clam shell coastal scene from Pinterest.


Cute Seashell Painting Ideas

Turtle scallop shell art from Etsy.

Turtle Scallop Shell Art

Encapsulated sea creature from Kailas_Canvas.


Galaxy painted shells using alcohol ink from color made happy.


What are some uses for painted seashells?

Painted seashells can be used for decorative crafts, jewelry, home decor, beach-themed party favors, personalized gifts, kids’ art projects, ornaments, and gifts for others.

What places to get seashells?

Beaches, coastal areas, shell shops, craft stores, gift shops, online stores, and beach combing are good places to find seashells for crafts and decoration.

What is the best paint for painting seashells?

Acrylic paint is the best choice for painting seashells because of its versatility, brilliant colors, and strong bond on shells.

How do you seal and preserve painted shells?

Seal painted shells with a clear varnish or sealer spray to protect the paint, enhance the colors, and maintain their beauty.

How do you paint dull seashells to look shiny and sparkly?

You can paint dull seashells with metallic or glitter acrylic paint to make them shine and sparkle.

How do you clean shells before painting?

You can clean shells with warm soapy water and a brush to remove dirt and scum. Rinse and properly dry them before painting.

Can you spray paint seashells?

Yes, you can spray paint seashells. Apply spray paint specifically intended for shells in a fully ventilated environment.

What does putting nail polish on seashells do?

Nail polish adds sparkle and color to seashells while acting as a glue to protect and improve their look.

Author: Alveena Nazir

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Hi, I’m Hani

I’m a mom of 2 decorating and soulfully designing our home. I love to share crafts and simple ideas for home and garden.

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