Disclaimer – this is definitely a kid friendly craft but if you want it to be relaxing or therapeutic, do it alone, with a glass of lemonade.
You will need :
– shells (we used various kinds of clam shells) If you don’t live on a beach, you can buy some here.
– watercolor paints & a paint brush! I forgot to get a paintbrush and used an old crusty one we had in the cupboard. Don’t be like me! lol
– a white paint marker
I also bought a set of regular paint markers for the girls to use because watercolors are expensive and I figured they’d probably mix all the colors and make a mess of them. The markers are a little more kid-friendly, but I did let Paisley use the paints a bit under close supervision.
If your shells are fresh from the beach, make sure you clean them well and leave them out to dry before painting. I soaked ours in bleach water & scrubbed with a toothbrush to get all the weird stains off of them, but they never turned totally white and that’s okay. It didn’t affect the painting process. Once your shells are dry, you can start making artwork!
The best advice I can give is – don’t try to make them perfect. The first few I painted have a really perfect rainbow on them but they don’t look nearly as cool as the ones where I just let the watercolors follow the curves of the shells. The messier, the better!
If you purchase the watercolor set I linked above, you will see that a tiny bit of paint goes a long way with this set. Just wet your brush, dip it in the color you want and paint away. If you’re a control freak, this craft might make you a little crazy, but letting the paint run in the grooves of the seashells really makes a beautiful pattern. So that’s what I ended up doing in the end!
Once the paint is dry on your shell (it only takes about 30 minutes), you can use the white paint marker to change up the pattern a bit. Follow the grooves on the shell, make little spots, whatever you want. You could totally skip this step, but I love the uniqueness it gives each shell.
And voila! That’s it! So freaking simple and no huge mess to clean up! I’ve gotten my paints back out three different times in the past week because it’s just so calming to sit and create for a few minutes. The paints dry so quickly you can just close them up and throw them in the drawer as soon as your done and you really only need one brush.
Now go get yourself some paints and some shells and paint your heart out! But don’t forget the lemonade.
*This project was inspired by Rebekah Steen. If you don’t already follow her & want to see her watercolor seashells, find her at Goldfish Kiss!