Seashell & Sand 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 (sorry, guys, not any longer….. too many of them were breaking in shipping), 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

73 Responses
  • Peggy
    July 19, 2012

    Very pretty, very ‘Florida’

    • ornamentgirl
      July 20, 2012

      Thanks, Peggy :)

      • Anonymous
        July 28, 2015

        Love the touch of the glitter in the sand. What do you think about using various colors of glitter, lightly?

  • April
    July 24, 2012

    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

      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

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

    Dan Ornaments

  • Sue
    October 16, 2012

    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

      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

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

    • ornamentgirl
      December 1, 2012

      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

    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

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

  • Marya
    December 11, 2012

    Thanks so much for sharing – I LOVE it! We’ve linked up to you in our post “Clear Ornament Inspiration.”

  • Kindra
    December 21, 2012

    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?

    • Phyllis
      June 14, 2017

      Hello, i noticed you asked about the sand sticking to the sides and im having that problem too. Did you ever find a solution? I want to make these for family members this Christmas when they visit us in Florida.
      Thanks if you have any info you can offer. ( :

      • Anonymous
        September 5, 2017

        Same problem here too!

  • jane
    May 2, 2013

    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!

    • ornamentgirl
      May 6, 2013

      Hi Jane,
      Sorry about that! I just emailed you a new link. If that one doesn’t work, try going to, 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

    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

    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

      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: 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

    Thank you for this adorable DIY project ????

  • Sarah
    November 22, 2013

    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!

    • Cheryl
      October 13, 2014

      I moved from Concord NH to North Port Florida last Dec. So throughout me getting used to the beaches, I started picking up tiny shells. But, the best part is Siesta Key Beach sand……….I will be making ornaments for my family and friends in New Hampshire. P.S. I love it here.

      • Staci Ann Lowry
        October 23, 2014

        Cheryl, I will be moving so close to North Port very soon, and I just can’t wait to start hunting for tiny seashells, too! :D

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      October 23, 2014

      Thanks so much, Sarah, and I hope you enjoyed making them! :)

  • Wendy
    November 28, 2013

    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

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

  • Anonymous
    December 10, 2013

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

  • Mel the Crafty Scientist
    December 10, 2013

    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

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

  • Jamie
    December 25, 2013

    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

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

    • Anonymous
      January 16, 2015

      I’m trying to rinse my bulbs in deionized water…theoretically it should work!

    • Ingrid
      December 4, 2015

      I just did this and I used a small piece of a dryer sheet wrapped around a q-tip and swabbed the inside of the ball. Worked! You could also spread the sand out and LIGHTLY spray it with Static Guard. Also I am using plastic ornaments, so think the static might be worse?

      • Staci Ann Lowry
        December 13, 2015

        That sounds like a great idea for reducing static, Ingrid… thanks so much for sharing. :)

  • sue west
    February 19, 2014

    what size glass ornament do you use

  • sue west
    February 19, 2014

    what size shells tiny or small kit

  • Anonymous
    March 19, 2014

    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!

  • Julie Oliver
    October 30, 2014

    How does the sand and seashells stay in place? This a really great idea and I would love to do it.
    I am

  • Sara
    November 11, 2014

    Does the rubbing alcohol keep the sand dusty-ness from sticking to the ornament? Thanks!

  • Keltie
    November 28, 2014

    I see a few other people have asked about static and they have a problem with sand sticking to the ornament(I’m glad I’m not the only one) can you help? I first saw these in Ft. Pierce, FLA and fell in love with them, could they have been yours?, you have so many unique and pretty ideas.

  • mamietete
    July 28, 2015

    génial très bonne idée c’est superbe BRAVO

  • Marilyn Vincent
    July 28, 2015

    I made several of these last year for Christmas presents. I saw one for sale in a shop in Shipshewana, IN. I was able to buy small shells there. I also like to put a little bit of glitter in my sand. I will probably be ordering from the person you recommended. I have not seen any of the tiny star fish until I checked out her site. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      July 30, 2015

      I’m glad it’s helpful! Her little star fish and sand dollars are my favorites. :)

      • Terrie Frailey
        August 12, 2015

        How do you keep the sand from sticking to the glass?

        • Staci Ann Lowry
          August 19, 2015

          Hi Terrie…. I have not had any issues with the sand sticking. I do clean my glass ornaments with rubbing alcohol before I use them. Not sure if that has anything to do with it or not, but the sand has not stuck for me.

  • April
    November 22, 2016

    I tried this and my ornaments look like they have dust in them. I bought beach sand. Did this ever happen to you?

  • Sandra Brandes
    December 4, 2016

    How can i seal the top so the sand doesn’t leak out when these are stored away after Christmas? Great way to preserve memories!

  • Toni Reed
    December 10, 2016

    The inside of the ornament gets cloudy from the sand. How can I avoid that?

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    May 29, 2017

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  • Lisa Ringsby
    July 22, 2017

    I love this idea. We did something similar with Kosher salt, 2 black peppercorns, a small thin cone made of orange scrapbook paper. It becomes a Melted Snowman ornament. IT was the take away gift at our cookie exchange, so much fun.

  • Jensen
    November 10, 2017

    Hi! I was wondering what the exact shells are in that picture. I wish she sold kits like that because I love all the ones you have in yours! I’m gonna put them in my ocean jar!

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