Tips for Cleaning & Creating With Your Vacation Seashells

We love the beach! I have great memories of vacationing at the beach as a child, and my husband actually grew up on the beautiful beaches of Venezuela (where his parents were missionaries). Our first six years of marriage we lived in Southern California within miles of the beach. Now, we are a little further from the beach living in Texas, however, nothing an hour and a half can’t solve. 

While I don’t typically love knick-knacky stuff, I could spend hours in beachside craft stores collecting ideas for projects. Our livingroom is lightly decorated with a sandy tan, and ocean water turquoise complimenting special vacation souveniours that we have created with seashells from around the world. Today, I am going to share great cleaning tips for cleaning your seashells and coral, along with two of my favorite ways we have up-cycled our vacation seashells in ways that don’t just clutter shelves and collect dust! 

Cleaning Seashells & Coral

All Seashells & Coral: Place them in a large bucket/tub of warm soapy warm. Use a sponge or brush to clean off any sand or unwanted particles. Let sit in the warm soapy water for about one hour. Rinse off individually and rubbing one final time with your hands.

For White Shells & Coral: After cleaning them with warm soapy water (as directed above), place them in bucket/tub of warm water again and this time add one cup of bleach. Place in the sun for a few hours (not too long or they can become brittle) in the bright afternoon sun to further bleach them.  When you are happy with their results, dump the shells into your sink and rinse with warm soapy water one last time. Allow to air dry.

Ideas for Up-Cycling Vacation Seashells & Coral

Create a Seashell Shadow Box (with an old window-pane) for display your Absolute Favorite Shells!

Use in a large tumbler vase for a summer centerpiece

Coral Candle Holder

Seashell Stand

Check out Sarah’s Seashell Crafts (@ Repeat Crafter Me)! She has some great ideas to make with you children also!

Coming Soon:

I’m also sharing a great ‘Beach Vacation Seashell Craft’ for kids over at! It’s the perfect after vacation activity for all ages! So, if you are going on a beach vacation soon, collect a few small seashells so you can join us in this fun memory craft. Be sure to watch Cheerios and for details!



  1. Such great ideas! I love them all!

    We had a beach vacation recently, too! Here’s what I did with my little one’s collection:

  2. great ideas, thanks so much for sharing!!!

  3. This turned out really Pretty!!! And Loved all the tips!

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  5. These are fantastic ideas! I would love for you to share this on my new blog hop Frugal “I Did It!” Tuesday.

  6. Oh I love that shadow box! What a fabulous idea!

  7. I Love the window one. What a clever way to use your found treasures.

  8. That shadow box is amazing! I love it! I’m pinning that one :)

  9. liendelou says:

    I would like to know how to make the shadow box window. I would like to see the details for building it and lightinging it.
    Where would I find those details?

    • We have actually had several requests for the directions for this; this is on my list of things to blog in 2013! Be sure to follow Cheerios and Lattes as we will post the details as soon as we can (or as soon as I can bribe my husband into sitting down to share the details)! :)

  10. Cute ideas, Mackenzie! Do you have a “how-to” on the sea shell on the stand?

  11. Did you ever post the directions for the shadow box window? It’s just what I’ve been looking for – love it! Thanks

  12. Would love the directions to shadowbox!!!

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