Santa Shell Ornament

3 Materials
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.
Resources for this project:
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Beverly Roderick at Across the Blvd
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 7 questions
  • Jeanene Jeanene on Nov 15, 2016
    Did you just use a small paint brush to paint the white, peach and red paint ??
  • Mayra M. Delgado Mayra M. Delgado on Dec 14, 2018

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

  • Valerie S Crider Valerie S Crider on Dec 07, 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?

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2 of 176 comments
  • Heather Fredeking Heather Fredeking on Dec 11, 2020

    Cute idea, I love in TO on the coast so I have used shells for many crafts. In order to hang the ornament prior to painting you could put the shell on a very wet shell (the inside of the shell up) then pour water in the shell then use a titanium not and your trusty drill to make a whole. The concept is a little like that of a set saw, the water helps meet the dust from the shell from going everyday and keeps the drill bit from getting too hot.

  • Kristy Kristy on Apr 30, 2023

    I'm going to do this project with my granddaughter I think she will enjoy it!