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Easy Summer Vacation Souvenir Craft: Seashell Photo Ornaments

Souvenirs can be expensive, and the quality does not always compare favorably to the costs of many items. Many families seek creative ways to carry memories and mementos home without spending a lot of cash (or valuable vacation time) in pricey souvenir shops.

What simple vacation craft might you complete with your entire family, while you spend wonderful travel times at the seashore?

Why not bring a bit of the beach home with you, along with your favorite vacation photos, when you return from that seaside trip? Children of all ages enjoy creating seashell photo ornaments for the family Christmas tree or for home decorating all year round.

Preserved properly, seashell photo ornaments may become lasting family heirlooms for future generations to enjoy.


(I still have a decoupage seashell photo ornament that my own grandmother created during a childhood vacation in the early 1900s on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. Perhaps I will pass this seashell photo ornament along to a special grandchild of my own one day.)

Follow these simple directions to make your own seashell photo ornaments, an easy vacation souvenir craft. Seashell photo ornaments are fun to do while away on vacation or after returning home.

Seashell photo ornaments require very few supplies. You can purchase most of these items in small sizes at a craft or discount store and take them with you on vacation, or buy them at your destination.

To keep the craft supply costs down, you might ask the maintenance department at your vacation venue to loan you a bucket, hammer, nail, and scissors.

Seashell Photo Ornaments: Materials Needed

Seashell Photo Ornaments: Easy Instructions

Take a leisurely walk on the beach as a family, collecting large seashells as you go. Be on the lookout, in particular, for flat half-shells (such as clam shells or scallop shells). These will serve as ideal media for creating seashell photo ornaments.

Rinse the seashells well in fresh water (not salty or briny water). Lay the sea shells out on a clean beach towel in the sun to dry.

Carefully punch a hole in the top of each seashell, using the hammer and nail.

Select several small photographs. Crop each photo with a pair of scissors, sizing it to fit the flat center of a seashell. Round the edges of each photo, so it tucks neatly inside the shell.

Affix each photo into the inside of a seashell, using craft glue.

Neatly write the location and date when each photograph was taken on the inside of each shell.

Use the sponge paintbrush to apply several layers of acrylic sealer to the entire shell, coating the photograph as well. (Be extra gentle, so that this process does not damage the image.) Allow each layer to dry thoroughly before applying the next one.

Tie a 6” length of string or ribbon onto each seashell photo ornament, looping it through the opening at the top of the shell and tying the ends together in a secure knot.

Pack all of the seashell photo ornaments neatly, tucking them individually inside tissue paper, socks or other soft materials to protect them from breakage during the journey home.

Seashell ornaments may be suspended on suction cup window hooks, placed on wall hooks, or hung on a Christmas tree.

Adapted from public domain image

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