Guess what we did last summer? My little campers made the most magical shell collages ever! I beach comb wherever I go, collecting shells and rocks and all sorts of treasures. Most of these shells are from different beaches around the world. (Ok, that makes me sound so much more like a world traveler than I actually am. But over the course of ten years, I have been lucky to visit quite a few beaches.) I was so excited to finally have enough shells to share with the kids.
Actually, I used to collect shells when I was little. I was such a little collector. I collected everything from Nancy Drew mysteries to shells to everything gnome. I remember my shells distinctly because I had these cards that I could glue the shell onto, which already had the name of the shell pre-printed and the the shape on the back. I remember scallop, cockle, and whelk. And the little think shiny pink ones. It was really fun to share my stories with my little artists. They all had stories of their own, too. It’s what I love most about art class, the socialization and sharing of our lives.
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Supplies needed to make shell collages
~ Shells (if you don’t have any collected, or any access to beaches, you can buy shells at craft stores or here on Amazon)
~ Pieces of wood approx 8″ x 9″ (I got mine cut at Home Depot and then sanded the edges)
~ Tacky glue (I researched glue that would dry faster and this is what I found. You can certainly use regular Elmer’s, too)
~ Liquid watercolor and brushes
This is how the kids made their shell collages
1. First, they glued their shells on in whatever way they wanted.
2. After they were finished, I cleared the table of all the shells, then I set out the liquid watercolors in ocean colors. I also set out a little gold for sparkle (or sand, as someone pointed out). The glue was not fully dry but it didn’t matter. The shells didn’t move around while they painted them. The tacky glue worked really well.
3. Some kids painted the shells, and some didn’t. I did try and encourage them to paint the sides of the wood.
4. The next day, after they were fully dried, I added some eye screws and wire so these beautiful shell collages could be hung on the wall.
We are going to do these again in art camp tomorrow! I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and saw these shell collages painted with rainbow colors from art teacher Elizabeth Lyle. I love them! I will have to decide last minute if I put out all the colors or stick with ocean tones. Hmmm… so hard to decide.