Painting seashells is a great activity for children, so when it rains at the beach, head inside with a bucket of shells. Gather up painting supplies and spend hours decorating the shells with a variety of delightful techniques. Painted sea shells are fun to design, and they make great homemade gifs.
Rinse the shells in clean water and lay them in the sun to dry and bleach. Shake any additional sand from the dry shells and keep newspaper on the table to catch the continuing stream of remnants.
Select shells that are slightly porous like sand dollars. Watercolors soak into the shell's surface easily and quickly. Vary the strength of the color to achieve a layered look. These paints produce wonderful tie-dye designs and work well with water imagery.
For more plasticine shells, apply acrylics to the surface, designing both abstract and representative images. Favorites include covering the interior of the shell with a deep, bold color like gold, navy blue or bright yellow. If the shell has ridges, paint a pattern along the grooves.
These softer pigments work well on shells because they smudge and merge—kind of like the tides. Natural scenes like flowers and fields benefit from this blending technique. A base of pastel for the background and an acrylic surface design offers a contrast in texture. For example, try a golden field with sharp, black birds buzzing around.
For more control, resort to markers, especially Sharpie's. These instruments allow the artist to outline shell features and divide the space with a firm, clear line. The ink often sinks in and spreads, giving the shell a "fuzzy" appearance that's great for peace signs, sky scenes and hearts.
To take this activity to the next level, introduce the glue gun. When kids stack shells on each other or attach them to beach items like buffered glass, weathered wood and eroded rocks, the innovations and creativity soar.