Shell Wreath Tutorial

 Have you ever collected so many shells that you didn’t know what to do with them?  I’m a craft and sea shell junkie.   Now that I’ve been to the Gulf of Mexico a few times, I’ve learned that this is where all the best shells are kept. Where have you found good shells?


Glue gun
Glue sticks
Crafter’s Pick Glue
Shells (I had about 100 various sizes)
Starfish (I purchased the ones I used for $1)
Wreath (I used a small grapevine wreath, but most types will work)


Step 1
To whiten the shells:  Mix 1 part bleach with 3 parts water (I did 2 cups bleach + 6 cups water) in the sink.  Leave for about 5 hours or overnight.Step 2
Rinse well using a strainer (so the shells don’t go down the drain).  Rinse again – use dish soap if needed.

Step 3
Dry completely on a dish towel.  I just let mine air dry.

How to make a sea shell wreath

Step 4
Lay out your shells like a puzzle and get started hot-gluing them in place.  If you’re kids are doing this with you, Crafter’s Pick Glue is the best because it isn’t runny.

Halfway through making a shell wreath from shells collected at the beach.

Step 5
Stop and make sure it’s not too crooked or strange shaped.  I tied mine to the oven.  It looked pretty misshapen!  Go back and add more shells.  Check again, back up 10 feet again and look at it.  Final product….

Done!  I actually went back and added a few more shells and a sand dollar after the picture was taken.  Feel free and make it anyway you wish.  I chose not to see any of the grapevine wreath in the background, you can do that too.

Lessons Learned:
1.  Do not use your favorite dish towels when shells are drying.  They may still have bleach on them!
2.  Attach your string, ribbon, or twine before you begin the project.
3.  Do not leave a metal spatula in the bleach – it will corrode.
4.  Make sure you have enough glue before you begin!


I’ve seen these retail for $125!

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About Kristen

Kristen is a Reading Specialist who currently works with children in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. She is the blogger behind Busy Kids Happy Mom, a site dedicated to fun, practical, and purposeful activities to do with your kids. Follow Kristen on Facebook, Pinterest, and subscribe for updates.


  1. So cute! My mom used to make shell wreaths when we were little, but I never saw her bleach the shells. Great tip!

  2. Good point! I wanted to make a wreath with all different colors, but opted for the easier-to-me all white wreath. Some shells can’t be bleached, so I tended to choose ones that were pretty white anyway. :)

  3. Hi,

    You have been featured at craftionary for your awesome wreath. :) Come check yourself and some other inspirational wreath ideas here
    Thanks for the inspiration and great job.
    You can also grab a featured button if you like! A friendly gesture is always appreciated. :)
    Have a great day!

  4. What an adorable wreath ~ I love it!

    Have a happy and blessed Labor Day!

  5. Very nice wreath! We have a ton of shells… thanks for the link. :)

  6. These shell wreaths are so elegant! I’m glad that you like our shells down here on the Gulf Coast. Were these heavy by the time they got all the shells glued on? I saw your tutorial over on Pinterest…your post is almost a year old but still getting attention.

  7. Hi Miss Kitty! Thank you so much for your kind comments! :) The wreath does get heavy once the shells are glued on. I thought I’d use a nice ribbon or raffia, but the small twine rope proved to be the best! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Love it, thanks for sharing. Great tip about bleaching the shells too! It really does work :)


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