This simple and stunning July 4th craft is a fun way to finally put a dent in all those craft shells you and the kiddos collected at the beach. The finished shells will make amazing table scatter for your 4th of July table, providing bright pops of patriotic flare.
This art project, fun for both kids and adults, will make a great family-fun activity on a lazy summer day. Since it involves paint, you can take it outdoors to soak in some nature and save yourself a little bit of clean up.
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July 4th Craft Materials
- seashells in varying shapes and sizes
- kids’ craft paint and/or acrylic paint
- clear coat spray paint (optional)
- paint brushes in various sizes
Begin by making sure your shells are free of dust and debris. A light brushing with a dry cloth should be sufficient, but feel free to soak them first, if they are really caked with sand.
Next, paint a base coat on the shells. Acrylic paint covers best, but it will stain clothes. If you are working with kids, I recommend using washable paint, because it still looks pretty awesome and is more clothing-friendly. The blue paint in our photos is washable paint.
After the base coat dries it is time to add the embellishments, whether they be stripes, polka dots, or cute little sayings. At this stage washable white paint won’t be dark enough to cover the red or blue paint, and you will have to use acrylic if you want to see a brilliant white. Be sure to have a good smock on hand if you are working with kids.
Allow the shells to dry for 2-3 hours in the sun. Drying time will be longer indoors. When the shells are dry, you can spray them with a clear coat to make them last longer. If you are going to toss them after the holiday, this step isn’t necessary at all.
Learning Skills Addressed
- Because each shell is unique, this activity allows kids to express their individuality and stretch their creative minds.
- Kids will also explore basic art concepts like color mixing, texture, and more as they experiment with the best methods for painting various types of shells.
- While kids work on brush control, they will also be strengthening their fine motor skills and pre-writing/writing skills.
Books to Share
- Sun, Sun: The Joy of a Summer Day at the Beach – Kids can relive all their favorite beach adventures right here in this book.
- Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and Her Star-Spangled Creation – The story of the first American flag.
- Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great American Masters – Discover some of the most note worthy artists throughout history and create an art project in each of their styles.