Seashell Backsplash

by Barbrie
3 Materials
4 Hours

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.

Before of right side of kitchen

Progress: painter's tape and primer

Tape marking backsplash height on counter.

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.

Shells placed on countertops

Mapei Porcelain Tile Mortar

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.

Mortar and shells are in place.

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.

This is the Polyurethane we used.

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. icon

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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 10 questions
  • Michelle Herman Michelle Herman on Oct 10, 2019

    My mom says that there’s also a way to transform her old 80’s style countertops into a modern Granite look with just product..

    Do you happen to know how to do it and exactly what products I’m gonna need to get for me to be able to transform her kitchen countertops..??

    If anyone knows What is needed and step by step directions Please let me know ASAP she wants to get started by this weekend 🤔

  • Terre Tulsiak Terre Tulsiak on Jul 03, 2020

    Did you consider green board or cement board cut to size- whereby you could lay it all out on a flat surface- saving time, your back and neck etc? Then when set you just attach that board to wall.

  • Holly N Steve Holly N Steve on Jul 05, 2020

    What do you clean it with

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2 of 165 comments
  • Pam Pam on Mar 20, 2021

    This is truly beautiful. I did a similar thing with beach rocks. It was tedious work, but I love mine, too! Great job!

  • Sha25881906 Sha25881906 on Jun 30, 2022

    I have been wanting to do a backsplash behind my bathroom sink & this looks like the perfect solution. Thanks so much for sharing. It's wonderfully unique & beautiful.