Santa Shell Ornament


Living in a coastal city means that there is always the opportunity to go to the beach and collect shells. This year, I’m making several differently styled ornaments using shells collected at Folly Beach, SC.
Making this Santa Shell Ornament was an easy and fun DIY ornament. I started by sorting through a bunch of shells and selecting the ones that I wanted to us. These shells were dead, so cleaning them up was easy. I don’t like to use bleach, so I cleaned them by soaking them in Palmolive Liquid Dish Soap for about an hour. Using a lint free cloth, I dried them and left them to sit out to completely dry.
I gave the shells I wanted to use for my Santa Ornament two coats of white acrylic paint and let them dry.
Once it was dry, I used red acrylic paint for the hat and peach paint for the face.
I added eyes, a nose and lips using black, gold and red paint. The finishing touch was to attach a pearl bead using hot glue.
This was such a simple ornament and it’s one that anyone can make with some some paint!
EDIT: Several people have asked about how the ornament is hanging. In these pictures, it's just hanging on a tree branch. The shell is deep enough for that. I added a small ribbon loop using hot glue, but the shell was too heavy and it drooped. If I decide to add a ribbon, it will need to be thicker and more sturdy to avoid the drooping.
I'm using collected shells for several differently styled ornaments this year. I'll be sharing more soon. To see more of this Santa ornament, please click on the link below.
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Jeanene
    on Nov 15, 2016

    Did you just use a small paint brush to paint the white, peach and red paint ??

  • Mayra M. Delgado
    on Dec 15, 2018

    Does the acrylic paint stay on pretty well? I am wondering if it flakes off.

    • MIck
      on Dec 7, 2019

      If you put a layer of Mod Podge (matte or shiny) over the final paint job, it will be impervious to almost everything.

  • Valerie S Crider
    on Dec 7, 2019

    I just want to say, I was gifted a ton of shells from a friend. Good way to use them. What other things can I paint? On them please?

    • Karenkat
      on Dec 8, 2019

      In Florida, oyster shells are offend stacked to form a Christmas tree....these would work for that also.

Join the conversation

3 of 167 comments
  • Lisa
    on Dec 14, 2019

    So cute and so easy. Love, love 💕 love!!

  • Nancy Murphy
    on Dec 20, 2019

    I thought this was such a cute idea I made 3 for my Pilates class friends. I used a drill bit I purchased a long time ago -to drill a hole in a piece of tile, and I was able to do the same with the shells and insert a thin piece of ribbon. I also sprayed a thin coat of polyurethane on it. Looked great

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