Decorate a Picture Frame with Seashells

Seashell picture frame 1156x650

Craft by Robin Walker; photo by Susan McElhinney

Going to the beach? Here’s a fun picture frame you can make with the seashells you collect.

What You Do

  1. Paint the frame.
    Paint a plain wooden picture frame (available at craft stores), using a brush and a small bottle of acrylic paint. Let it dry completely.
  2. Glue on the shells.
    Brush Tacky Glue on the front of the frame, and then stick on 20 to 30 seashells and any other beach treasures you like.
  3. Sprinkle the sand on the frame.
    While the glue is still wet, use a spoon to sprinkle sand on the undecorated parts of the frame. Let the frame dry for at least a day before inserting your favorite vacation photo.

NOTE: Before you pick up any treasures from a beach, be sure it’s not against the law. Also make sure the sea stars and shelled creatures you pick up are not living. To keep your beach treasures from getting too stinky, ask an adult to soak them in a mixture of half bleach and half water overnight. Then have an adult rinse them thoroughly before you work with them. You shouldn’t have to do this with beach treasures you buy at a store.
shell frame example

As a variation on this craft, you can paint the frame blue to make it look like sky and waves.
For this variation, we used smaller shells.
girl ocean theme

Gathering shells can be a great outdoor activity.
Considering bringing a sieve to speed up the process. And remember to look for shark’s teeth while you are there!
find shells

At certain times of year and tide heights, tiny shells can be plentiful.
shell 2

When gluing shells on your frame, try to find the flattest side, which can be tricky.
Sometimes that means you are actually going to show the inside of the shell, if it is more colorful or rounded.put glue on shell

Tiny shells provide exquisite texture when glued together on a frame.


You can glue shells on all sides of the frame, or just a few and paint the gaps.
sea shell picture