Yesterday, I shared how to clean seashells. And today, I’m going to show you what I’ve been doing with those clean shells. I’ve been making DIY painted seashells!
This whole project started because I love the look of Hawaii Sunrise Shells, but a good quality Hawaiian sunrise shell can be quite pricey and rare. Since I had an entire basket of scallop shells leftover from my Giant DIY Seashell Seahorse project, I decided to turn one of these scallop shells it into my own version of a Hawaiian sunrise shell. And you know what? My DIY painted sunrise shells came out pretty darn good! They look similar (not exact) to a sunrise shell and can easily be turned into your own version of a Hawaiian sunrise necklace or used as decorative bowl/vase fillers.
How to Paint Imitation Hawaii Sunrise Shells
Keep in mind, that sunrise shells vary in color quite a bit. The bright yellow/orange colored shells are referred to as sunrise shells and the dark green/blue/purple shells are called moonrise shells but are all the same rare native Hawaiian scallop shells.
DIY Painted Sea Shells Supplies:
- Clean scallop shells
- Acrylic paint – dark green, dark yellow, white, coral, orange, magenta, light pink, violet, blue
- Small paint brushes (have one thin enough to fit into the scallop grooves)
- Two bowls (for water)
- Paint tray
- Paper towels
- Gel acrylic nail polish top coat
Prepping to Paint Seashells
- Fill two bowls with water. One is for rinsing dirty brushes and the other for clean water.
- Add a drop of acrylic paint of each color you want to use in the paint tray.
How to Paint Seashells
- Brush water onto the entire front surface of the shell.
- Dip a paint brush into water and a paint color. Dab the color onto the area of the shell you want to be colored and let the water ‘bleed’ the paint into the crevices of the shell.
- Continue to add paint in the color combination and pattern that you like, using an image of a sunrise shell for reference.
- You may need to let the paint slightly dry between coats and layer the paint to get the look you want.
- If you feel you have added too much color, remove it with a clean wet brush before it dries.
The left shows the shell I was painting above with the first layer of paint. The right shows a shell that I completed with several layers of paint.
Sealing the Painted Shells
Once you’re happy with the way your shell looks, seal it with a coat of gel topcoat. I tried using a clear acrylic spray coat, but it didn’t give the same shine and ate away some of the acrylic paint.
And that’s it! You now have your very own handpainted Hawaiian sunrise shell. When the shells are dry, you can display them in a vase or use them to create fun sunrise shell jewelry 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and give DIY painted seashells a try!
Will you be painting any seashells this year?Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2017
I’ve been painting shells to use as key chains. I paint them with a gold metallic paint then seal with a thick clear gel paint. Unfortunately the shells have some areas where the paint is wearing off, even with the clear gel paint. Upon searching for solutions I came upon this post and I need to ask if the nail gel topcoat works well to stop the paint from wearing away. Handling the shells as a keychain, or necklace like you’ve made, can maybe cause the paint to wear away, but I’m hoping to find a solution that can handle wear and tear. 🙂 Thank you! BTW – your shells are beautiful! I love the colors.
Hi, try UV resin, you will not be disappointed!
Those pendants are beautiful! What a great summer crafting project. Pinned.
I love love love this tutorial, Erlene! Thank you for sharing. This will definitely be something I’ll give a go. Love the pendants you’ve made, too.
Thanks Habiba. It’s such a fun project with so many color possibilities.
This is great! I bought a Sunrise shell necklace in Maui! Yes they can be pricey. On my last day I met a guy whose brother dives for Sunrise shells!
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What color did you get? Did you get the sunrise or moonrise coloring?