DIY Seashell Craft: Beach Themed Photo Stands

Posted by Stephanie Chan
Capture memories from this summer's beach vacation with these DIY seashell photo stands.

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My girls look so forward to going to the beach each summer – we all do! And they have so much fun while they’re there. I knew I had to capture those blissful moments, plus exhibit some of the seashells we have found along the way. I also added some vintage sea-inspired paper printouts to add to the nostalgic mood! Here’s how I made my Beach Themed Sea Shell Photo Stands.

Here's What You'll Need

7 Gypsies Standing Clip

DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish Paint (New Life, Treasure, and Everlasting)

DecoArt Americana Creme Wax

Paint brushes, lint-free cloth, and fine grit sand paper

Scrap wood pieces

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Cork scrapbook paper (non-adhesive)


Natural colored moss

Small to medium-sized sea shells

Photos from your vacation

Beach-themed paper ephemera

Let's Get Crafty!

I raided my handy husband’s scrap wood stash and found two perfect pieces. One was from a 2x2 pieces (from the leg of our picnic table) and another was a piece of 2x4. I painted them with beachy colors, first with a mix of New Leaf (green) with Everlasting (white) to lighten it. I painted that color all over the wood piece, then I painted the white paint again all over it with a dry-brush technique, blotting most of the white paint off of my brush, lightly brushing it over the green paint, and then wiping it off with a lint-free cloth.

For the other wood piece, I mixed mostly Everlasting with Treasure (teal) to get an aqua color. Then instead of the dry brush technique, I sanded it a little bit to allow the wood to peek through. After both wood pieces dried, I applied Creme Wax to seal it, and buffed off the excess with a lint free cloth, and allowed them to dry completely. Painting trick: when painting something flat, stick in some pushpins to keep it elevated off your work surface so paint doesn’t stick to it.

To make the little nests for the seashells, I needed to make some sort of shallow cup to hold the floral moss. I made the cups out of thin cork scrapbook paper. First I cut a small circle (I traced the inside of my painter’s tape roll), then I folded it in so it formed a shallow cone. Finally, I simply stapled it so it would keep its shape. I chose the corkboard scrapbook paper because it looks natural, it would blend in with the moss, and it was pliable but sturdy.

Grab a handfull of moss and squish it together. Try to choose some that’s stuck together rather than loose bits. Apply hot glue to the inside of your cork cup, and press in the moss, making sure to cover all of the cork cup. Add more moss as needed. You can trim the cork cup if you like, if there’s just a little bit of the edge peeking through. Turn it upside down and shake it to make sure everything’s sticking, and to shake off any loose moss.

Now for the seashells. You can do one medium-sized one, or two small ones. Make sure the colors don’t blend in too much with the moss, and don’t pick one that’s too big or heavy. The ones I used are store bought and not actual ones we found during our travels; I couldn’t bring myself to apply glue to those! Anyways, apply hot glue to the shell and press it onto the moss. Allow a minute for the glue to dry and once again turn it upside down to see if it is sticking.

Now apply hot glue to the clip, applying most of it on the pointed part and not too much on the rectangular end because that’s where you will squeeze it to open and close the clip.

Press the seashell nest, cork side down, onto the clip. Hold it for a few moments until it is stuck on.

Time for another upside down test!

Finally, apply hot glue to the underside of the stand, holding it directly upside down so the glue doesn’t drip off. You need to apply a lot of glue, as the underside of the stand is concave (remove the paper that was inserted in there). Then, press it down on the wood piece (for the green piece, the stand is in the center, and for the longer blue piece, I put one stand in two corners, across from each other so that one is in the front and one in back). Alternatively, you could squirt a quarter-sized amount of glue onto the wood piece and sort of make a hot glue hill and place the stand directly over the glue. Either way, wait til it dries, and then do the upside down test one more time.

You can add paper ephemera to go alongside your photos. I used the Crystal Sea Old Sheet Music graphic from The Graphics Fairy...

…plus the Natural History Antique Seashell graphic and the Old Fashioned Children at the Beach image. They were perfect! I just printed them out on cream-colored cardstock. I also put a cream-colored backing onto my photos, which I cropped square and printed on cardstock (I cut them to look like little polaroids).

Here I’m displaying them with some of the actual seashells we collected, not glued on. The wood pieces give them a little stage. But that big shell was too big so I put it in the front. That one is our favorite.

These photos are from our trip to San Diego last year. We spent the whole day at the beach. I think we could have spent the whole week there and had fun. If you ask the girls about this beach, they will say it’s where the seagull stole Dada’s sandwich, and where a huge clump of sand got stuck in Mama’s swim top when she wiped out in the waves and it fell out in the hotel room and got squished in the carpet. Oops!

Wishing you lots of happy summer memories! Happy Crafting!