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{Best of 2011} Sand Dollars & Seashells for Your Seaside Decor

Happy, almost, New Year! Today we are sharing our fourth most popular article of the's a classic and all of us beach combers can relate! Have a lovely day. :O)

Sand Dollars...unique, beautiful, fragile and memorable. As beach dwellers we have collected a multitude of Sand Dollars which now grace our decks, jars, baskets, bowls and more. We literally have collected so many that we don't know what to do with them all!

Displaying them in baskets and old pots is delightful; however I'm yearning to find some home decor projects that are different than the "glue shells onto mirror or picture frame" kind of crafts. Before we can get started on crafting, let's begin with learning how to get your Sand Dollars or Seashells ready for use.

Get Your Collection Ready!

When we first started collecting Sand Dollars I had no idea that greenish brown ones were probably still alive. If you find one this color and it has a hairy covering then the specimen is still alive and should be place back into its sandy home. If the sand dollar appears white, tan or gray with no hairy spines then it is dead and ready for collection.

We have found that the best time to search is at low tide right along the water's edge. If you find one then most likely there are more in the immediate area as they live in colonies together.

If you keep some brown or very dirty Sand Dollars you can soak them in cool water until the water turns brown; discard the water and add fresh water. Continue until the water remains clear.

You then will want to soak your collection in a solution of 50% water and 50% household bleach for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the water and place in the sun to dry.

Once your sand dollars are completely dry you can harden them by mixing together Elmer's white glue with an equal part of water. Paint your sand dollars with the mixture and let them are now ready to display or use in a crafting project.

Let's Craft and Decorate!

Now that we have our items ready for crafting we have to decide what to do with them. There are many simple ways to use seashells in your home's decor...

Project 1 - Curtain Tie Back
For this project you will need a sand dollar, a hot glue gun, glue sticks, thick cord, and hook screws. You can also add paint to your sand dollar to make it match the color scheme of your home if you like.

Start this craft project by screwing the hook into the wall next to your curtain. Next figure out the length that you will need to cut the cord. Do this by measuring the cord against the curtain, the hook, and the wall. Now you are ready to make your tie back. Simply cut the cord slightly longer than it needs to be and tie the end in a knot leaving about 2 inches to fray for tassel. Now glue the sand dollar right above the knot. Thread the other end of the cord through the hook, and tie the end in a knot the same way you did the first knot. Fray the ends of the cord, and this home décor craft project is complete. Visit the blog of Heather Bullard to see the most beautiful and unique starfish tie backs!

Project 2 - Candle Centerpiece
Sand dollars are a wonderful addition to your home décor and this craft project utilizes sand dollars and candles to make a lovely centerpiece. You will need a large old jar, glitter, glue, ribbon, a few different sized candles that are taller than the jar, and some sand dollars.

Start by gluing the sand dollars to the outside of the jar in any pattern you like. Next glue the ribbon to the outer top edge of the jar and use the glitter to cover the rest of the jar. Allow this entire piece to dry. Now add the candles to the inside of the jar; it is fun to use several different size candles for this craft project.

More easy ideas...

Napkin Rings - Hot glue a small sand dollar, seashell or starfish onto any fabric or wood napkin ring for a customized beach table setting.

Fill A Glass Jar - Sometimes the most simple thing, is the most beautiful. Simply fill a clear glass jar, vase or bowl with sand dollars or a mixture of seashells.

Place atop your Guest Towels - Having overnight guests? Place a stack of clean bath towels on their bed with a starfish or large sand dollar on top.

Wall Art - Purchase frames or shadow boxes and glue sand dollars into the center. You can paint the backing a beachy color or paint each a different hue as shown below.

Trim a Lamp Shade - Take a plain lamp shade and hot glue your choice of seashells along the bottom trim of the shade for a custom lamp look.

Shell Flowerpots by Martha Stewart - >>Full instructions

Seashell Flower Pots -  Martha Stewart ©
Beach gift ideas...

Photo Album - Create a beach memory album by attaching shells to the front cover with glue. This would make a lovely gift too.

Night Lights - Using epoxy glue, attach a favorite shell to a nightlight for a unique gift.

Gift Packaging - Why be boring and use a pre-made bow? Tie or glue on sand dollars, starfish or seashells to make your gift extra special!

Created by Francoise from Chez Fifi
I'm inspired to work on some curtain tiebacks for the living room and make a photo album using pictures from our past vacations...what are you inspired to make?


  1. Wow I love them all. The napkin rings are so cute.

  2. I still have a lot of sand dollars that I collected in Washington...I gave away many of them. I have no idea what to do with the ones I haven't used, so they are in an acrylic ice bucket for display. Making the nightlight is a definite possibility! My grandkids will be here today, and I have epoxy! This would be a fun project to do with them, and something cool to take home! Thanks for the idea!!!

  3. Love what you did to the shells. Very unique and so creative. You have such a great talent and imagination. Thank you for sharing.


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