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seashell and sand ornament

beach ornament

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).

mini seashells

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.

clear glass ornaments

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..

fill glass ornament with beach sand

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. :)

add glitter to ornament

Now just drop your shells in (the kiddos love this part):

add shells to clear glass ornament

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.

glue on ornament cap

 

put cap on clear ornament

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.

freshwater pearl and poinsettia

I just glue it to the top of the ornament:

glue poinsettia to ornament

All done. Isn’t this a cute and simple idea for a great beach keepsake?

sand and shell christmas ornament

 

beach ornament

{ 32 comments… add one }

  • Peggy July 19, 2012, 9:25 am

    Very pretty, very ‘Florida’

  • April July 24, 2012, 4:49 am

    I have probably a stupid question but I’m going to ask it anyway. If this is supposed to hang off of the tree then where is the hook supposed 2 go? I don’t see room 4 it bc of the flower….

    • ornamentgirl August 1, 2012, 9:13 pm

      Hey April…the hook is attached to the cap of the ornament. The flower is off to the side of the cap just a little bit. (In the picture above where I’m gluing on the cap, I had taken the little wire hook out first, but then put it back in after the cap was dry, and I forgot to show that…sorry about that!) :)

  • Dan Ornaments July 27, 2012, 2:31 am

    Very nice ornaments. We take pride in our ornaments as well.

    Dan Ornaments
    http://www.ornamentsandmore.com/familiesandlargegroups.aspx

  • Sue October 16, 2012, 8:10 am

    I love your seashell ornament. I have one a friend made for me years ago with sand from Hawaii! I was looking at the picture, and I’m curious, how did you get the sand dollar a starfish in the ball? They look too big to fit.

    • ornamentgirl October 18, 2012, 12:47 am

      Sue, it was very close, but it did fit!

      This made me think of something though…for any shells that ARE too big, they do have plastic ornaments that open up. Those would work for anything that is just too big, and also for stones and things that could possibly break these fragile glass ornaments. :)

  • lily December 1, 2012, 12:49 am

    If the ornament is shaken, will the shells be buried under the sand?
    Otherwise, love it!

    • ornamentgirl December 1, 2012, 2:42 am

      Hi Lily,
      Yes, they will definitely get buried if you shake it…but if they do, you can shake it side to side gently, and they will come back up to the top. The trick is shaking it side to side. :)

  • Jessica December 5, 2012, 9:01 pm

    I love love love this idea! I wanted to make something special with the itty bitty seashells that I found for Christmas presents and this is the perfect one. Thank you for sharing!

  • Tonja December 8, 2012, 9:11 pm

    Do u know how to get sand to stick together to mold into a sand ornament. ?

  • Marya December 11, 2012, 3:28 am

    Thanks so much for sharing – I LOVE it! We’ve linked up to you in our post “Clear Ornament Inspiration.”
    http://youpinspireme.blogspot.ca/2012/12/clear-ornament-inspiration.html

  • Kindra December 21, 2012, 6:15 am

    Hi there. Love these ornaments and really appreciate you sharing the idea and suppliers. I am having a problem with the sand dust sticking to the sides. Do you have any suggestions?

  • jane May 2, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Please tell me where I can buy the glass globes this time of year. The HobbyLobby link was disabled. These are all so pretty. A perfect gift!
    Jane

    • ornamentgirl May 6, 2013, 9:46 pm

      Hi Jane,
      Sorry about that! I just emailed you a new link. If that one doesn’t work, try going to hobbylobby.com, and then click on the “online shopping” box. When you get there, there is a search box, and search for “clear glass ornaments” and you should see a few different options. I hope this helps! :)

  • Jamie May 29, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Hi! I would love to also know how much your ornaments are &’if you have a website could you please email me the link? Thank You!

    Jamie M

  • Teresa Harper September 13, 2013, 1:00 am

    where can I find the Beacon glue? I looked at JoAnn’s but didn’t find it. I really love your ornaments!!

    • ornamentgirl September 13, 2013, 8:41 pm

      Hi Teresa,
      They carry it at Hobby Lobby, and I believe they also have it at Michael’s. Here’s a link where you could get it online at Hobby Lobby: http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/3-in-1-advanced-craft-glue-221366/. It’s a little bit pricey there… I think I paid a little less than that at JoAnn’s… but it is REALLY awesome for some of these projects I’ve got on the site because of how it grabs instantly. That really helps, especially when gluing onto glass or the smooth styrofoam. Also, it dries perfectly clear, which I love for gluing things onto the clear glass ornaments… that way it doesn’t look ugly when you’re looking through the ornament from the opposite side that you glued on. :)

      Hope that helps!

  • Leigha November 22, 2013, 4:19 pm

    Thank you for this adorable DIY project ????

  • Sarah November 22, 2013, 8:12 pm

    As a born and raised Floridian now living in New Hampshire, I so appreciate your ideas to bring a little of the “beach” back home. Years ago, I paid big bucks for similar ornaments. Can’t wait to tackle this project on my own. Good luck with your business and, again, thank you for sharing your talent!

  • Wendy November 28, 2013, 12:40 am

    LOVE this. I saw this on Pinterest before and have been wanting to make it. I love the beach. I have some tiny pieces of sea glass I wanted to put in the sand, but I was wondering where in the world I could find tiny shells! The ones I found on the beach were all large. Thank you so much.

    • ornamentgirl December 1, 2013, 9:06 pm

      You are very welcome; I’m glad this helped! She always ships those seashells out super fast, too. :)

  • Anonymous December 10, 2013, 12:43 am

    can I do this with just shells and sea glass without the bulb

  • Mel the Crafty Scientist December 10, 2013, 11:43 am

    Just wanted to let you know I featured this project in my roundup of glass ornament crafts here too. : )
    -Mel the Crafty Scientist

  • jeanine December 21, 2013, 5:39 am

    beauuuuutiful thank you for the sweet teeny tutorial! great supplies you used as well ;D

  • Jamie December 25, 2013, 5:40 pm

    I love the simplicity and the beauty of this ornament. My daughter is 9 and loves snorkeling for small shark teeth and shells here in Pensacola. I’m doing these for our white tree next year. Your instructions are very precise and helpful. Thank you.

  • mari February 9, 2014, 2:17 am

    Hi Do you know how to anti static the ornaments because the sand sticks to glass Thanks

  • sue west February 19, 2014, 8:56 am

    what size glass ornament do you use

  • sue west February 19, 2014, 9:10 am

    what size shells tiny or small kit

  • Anonymous March 19, 2014, 8:11 am

    Hi. I am making 150 of these as wedding favors for a beach themed wedding and have a couple of questions. What size shells do you get, and do you have any ideas for making them stand on a table. I saw one person who glued pennies to the bottom, but I don’t really like that idea.
    Thanks. They are gorgeous!

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