Shells: 6 decorating ideas to make yourself

Did you inherit a collection of shells, did you spot beautiful specimens on the beach, did you buy a box full of these precious sea jewels? Here are some decorating ideas to invite the spirit of the ocean into your home. Candles, pendant lights, trinkets… Be inspired by our selection of DIY activities.

Before embarking on a sea treasure hunt, keep in mind that collecting shells remains a legal requirement. As the public administration site reminds us, “There are rules protecting the fragile ecosystem of the coasts, with fines for encroaching on the public domain that can be very high”.

It is forbidden to collect empty shells on the beaches, but as the French government website states again, the authorities “can tolerate collection if done in small quantities” for personal use. “Unreasonable collection, sometimes for commercial purposes, is punishable by a fine of up to €1,500.”

Good news, you don’t have to roam the beaches to find empty shells. Do some hunting around flea markets or the attics of your loved ones, you’ll probably find some dust and wait for one thing: to get a second life.


Are you planning to taste scallops or oysters? Save the shells to make beautiful candles. To do this, simply melt vegetable wax in a bain-marie, add essential oils if desired and pour everything into the shells. Don’t forget to put a wick (or string) in the center of each shell to light your little lanterns straight from the sea.

Photo: Shutterstock

For more information on how to make a candle at home, check out this article: DIY: How to Make Your Citronella Candle to Keep Mosquitoes and Wasps Away.

cactus pots

There is nothing easier to offer your cacti in a pot that is as aesthetic as it is original: get shells with a cavity deep enough for some potting soil and roots. And voila!

Photo: Shutterstock

A garland of shells

To make this garland you need a rope and shells. Some shells naturally have holes, so all you need to do is run your string through your shells and tie a knot where you want to hold them in place. Watch this tutorial to learn how to make a hole in a seashell.

Photo: Shutterstock

A decorative ball

Take an old tennis ball or a small beach ball at the end of its life, a little glue and arrange the shells as you like. Fast, efficient and aesthetically pleasing!

Photo: Shutterstock

A decorative lamp

Here’s a slightly more advanced tutorial, but the result is worth it: a lamp decorated with shells. To make this DIY you will need:

  • a ball
  • shells
  • A glue gun and glue sticks
  • A pointed object
  • Extra strong liquid glue
  • A light pendulum

For the rest, we leave you in the hands of the YouTube channel Déco&Création DIY:

A bag

Nothing is easier than turning a scallop shell into a simple storage compartment or soap dish. If you want to “pimp” your shells a bit, you can follow this tutorial from Alexandrine – Artlex:

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