I had been searching for a backsplash idea that I liked for my kitchen. All the tiles that my big box stores carried just didn't seem right. Because I live in Pensacola, FL, I have many shells that I have collected over the year. I've been striving to make my traditional cinder block house more beachy, so I decided to try my hand at a seashell backsplash.
This project was definitely a figure-it-out-as-you-go job, and I am a very poor videographer, but I hope that you can follow the process if you decide to do something similar. Enjoy!!
This is a start to finish video of the project.
I wanted to be able to lay out all of my seashells in advance of affixing them to the backsplash area. So I measured the height of the wall area and taped that off onto the countertop. Next you'll see where I have laid down the shells approximately where I hope they'll end up on the vertical wall space above them.
This is the mortar we chose to use. I liked that it is very white since the beaches in Pensacola are sugar-white.
We mixed it as directed with a mixer drill bit. I give the directions in the video.
It went much faster when my husband helped mix batches of mortar and applied it to the wall in small sections while I placed the shells. It was actually very easy and I was able to stick them up with both hands. I did back-butter the larger, concave shells to be sure they would stay in place.
We debated if we wanted any grout, but decided we loved the sandy look of the mortar. We did decide to add two coats of polyurethane.
I love how many of the shells are so glossy with the polyurethane on them.
Many shells were from my own collecting, although I did spend just over $100 at a seashell store for the larger signature pieces. The mortar was $22 and the poly $12. So this was a very economical project.
My seashell backsplash has been up in my kitchen now for 5 years. Not a shell has come loose, and it has been super easy to keep clean, even near the stove and sink. I love it and it is one of a kind.