I have always liked to collect seashells and a little bit of sand from every beach that I’ve been (and now my daughter brings home even more things from the beach than I ever did), and a few years ago I had the idea to make an ornament for the Christmas tree with some of the shells and sand we’ve collected. It came out really pretty, so I started offering it in my ornament shop (I call it “Serenity“)… I do still sell the ornament, but I wanted to share a DIY for it anyway, because if your kids are anything like mine and end up bringing home tons of shells, this is a super cute way to use them. Not to mention it is an awesome memento from a trip or vacation that the family can see every year. (You could even paint the year on the outside to personalize it even more.)
Oh, and by the way…if you DON’T have your own shells to use but want to make this ornament…I found a great website to buy miniature seashells (when I started selling my Serenity ornament, I quickly realized I had to find an additional source for shells). All of her shells are handpicked, and they are always gorgeous and in perfect condition when they arrive in the mail, even the tiniest sand dollars (she packages them really well).
So for the ornament, all you need is some tiny seashells, beach sand, a clear glass ornament (or plastic if you prefer), some white glitter (optional), clear craft glue (my favorite as always is Beacon’s 3-in-1 Craft Glue), and any other embellishments you’d like.
Make sure you start with a clean ornament…swish a little bit of rubbing alcohol around the inside, and then dump it out and let it dry completely. Add a little bit of sand…you don’t want to add too much though, or the ornament will be too heavy for the Christmas tree branch, and also the shells will constantly get buried in it. I imagine that a funnel would really make this adding the sand part easier, but I don’t happen to own one, and I never remember to grab one while I’m at the store..
I also like to add a little bit of glitter to the sand (I use Martha Stewart coarse crystal glitter …I love the added sparkle, and it makes it look a little more festive and holiday-ish. :)
Now just drop your shells in (the kiddos love this part):
Before you put the cap back on, put some of the clear craft glue around the inside of it…this will help ensure that the weight of the sand doesn’t pull the ornament right out of its top when it’s hanging. We don’t want a beach under the Christmas tree.
For my Serenity ornament, I add a Poinsettia to the top after the cap is on and has dried completely. I cut off the plastic center of the flower, sprinkle it with a little bit of glitter, and sew a freshwater pearl to the center.
I just glue it to the top of the ornament:
All done. Isn’t this a cute and simple idea for a great beach keepsake?