How to Glue Seashell Art on a Canvas

Written by louise harding
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How to Glue Seashell Art on a Canvas
Glue shells to canvas in a shape or letter design. (seashell image by Leonid Nyshko from

Trips to any beach inevitably end up with sandy seashells saved as treasured mementos. Once home, the question arises -- what to do with these mountains of pink and frosty shells? Glue seashell art on an art canvas to create a sturdy, self-standing work of art. Shells on canvas can create a work of art to remind you of pleasant memories of your vacation. With a little planning beforehand, you can make a seashell art on canvas project in about 30 minutes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Newspapers
  • Canvas
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Seashells
  • Sandpaper, fine grit
  • Pencil
  • Computer (optional)
  • Computer printer (optional)
  • Printer paper (optional)
  • Shape pattern (optional)
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks

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  1. 1

    Cover your work area with newspapers. Place the canvas on top the newspaper. Paint the canvas with white paint. Allow the canvas to dry.

  2. 2

    Sand the side of the shells you want to glue onto the canvas with fine grit sandpaper to create texture for a better glue bond. Choose the unattractive side of each shell to glue to the canvas.

  3. 3

    Choose a design or word you want to form on the canvas with the shells. One Pretty Thing recommends using initials, single words such as "beach" or "dream," hearts or other shapes.

  4. 4

    Draw or write the initial, word or shape on the canvas with a pencil. One Pretty Thing suggests printing a letter or word in a bold font on your computer printer to make a stencil for use on the canvas. Cut out the letters and use the remaining paper as a stencil, or trace around the cut out letter or word. For shapes, you can draw the shape on paper, cut it out and trace it onto the canvas.

  5. 5

    Squirt a small dot of glue onto the prepared, sanded side of a shell. Push the shell gently against the canvas onto your letter/shape wherever you prefer to begin on the design. Be careful not to use too much glue so it won't ooze from beneath your shells.

  6. 6

    Continue gluing shells with the glue gun until the design is covered or outlined with shells as you like. Pull away any glue strings left behind by the dried glue. Allow the glue to thoroughly dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Canvas can be framed. If you used canvas board and not stretched canvas over a wood frame, you can mount the canvas with mats and encase the seashell art in a deep shadow box frame available at craft stores. Sturdy stretched canvas or thick canvas board can be propped on art easels or against a wall for display.
  • Use caution when operating a glue gun to avoid burns.

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