seashell shadow box diy

Looking for a fun coastal craft to enhance your home decor this summer? Bring a little of the beach–and a reminder of God’s goodness–into your home with this lovely seashell shadowbox DIY project. 

Does the summer find you by the shore like it does me?

When my kids are splashing and jumping in the foamy saltwater, I walk the wet sand slowly, scanning for shells to collect when the water ebbs. Dotted in the smooth, glossy sand are the impossibly beautiful treasures sent from the sea—the mighty sea that God created. And as I collect, there is something meditative about hearing the waves surge, crash, spread, and then drift away.

It feels like a metaphor for our trials. Troubles build, they crescendo, and they slowly retreat from our lives until the next trial arrives.



The most difficult trials of my life (moving across the country from my loved ones for college, natural childbirth, debilitating anxiety, to name a few) took me to a place beyond what I could handle by myself.

Through those trials, I was carried by the Lord. 

And so, when I’m rolling that sea-worn shell over and over in my palm, let me collect not a trinket to place in a jar—let me collect a marker of His faithfulness. God’s faithfulness is worth remembering, and this shadow box project makes for a nice reminder. 



If the God-crafted shells stand for hard trials in my life, let me pair them with the words that sustained me in the midst. 

— Alone in a new city as a college freshman, missing my parents: “even there, your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139.10).

— Enduring natural childbirth: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isaiah 43.2).

— Falling into a dark season of anxiety: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry […] Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6.27).

Though your trials are different than mine, you likely have verses that provide you with comfort, guidance, and insight during such difficult seasons. Collect those beautiful, sustaining verses, and with your shells, gather the rest of the supplies needed for this special DIY project.


  • 1 shadow box from a craft store (worry less about the colors of the box, and look for one with dimensions you like)
  • Fabric or scrapbook paper to change the background color of the box (cut down to the size of the opening)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sandpaper or a small buffer block for distressing the paint (optional)
  • Hot glue gun with sticks
  • White glue or ModPodge with a brush to apply
  • White cardstock or paper
  • Optional embellishment: nautical rope





Before you start tailoring the box to your tastes, remove the glass to avoid breaking.

COLOR: If you are changing the color of the shadowbox frame, paint it in your chosen color with acrylic paint.

WEATHERING: If you like the distressed paint look, sand off the paint in random patches to give it some weathering.

TEXTURE: To add interest and texture, attach a fabric scrap to the main plane of the shadowbox by brushing a thin layer of ModPodge or white glue and pressing the fabric in place.

EMBELLISHMENTS: If you need to mask the seams where the fabric scrap ends, hot-glueing a rustic cord lends a nautical touch.



Either print or hand-write your chosen verses onto white cardstock, and cut or tear it into strips (the strips in these images were about 3” long x 1/2” thick).

These images have the verse reference, but if you have room, including snippets from the verse can make a big impact: “He leads me beside still waters.”

It looks nice to select the color of your text according to the hues of the shells.



First, play around with the placement of the shells and verse tags until you achieve your desired arrangement. Once everything is placed, secure each shell and tag with a little hot glue.

Add the glass back in if you choose and place your reminder box somewhere that your glance will fall during your daily routine.



Let us remember what Jesus said about what we choose to collect:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven […] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6-19-21, NIV).

Store up in your heart all the triumphs over trials that He has helped you garner, and let this shadowbox be the collection that you turn to in future struggle.


seashell shadow box diy

Want to try out this fun DIY?

Our team has put together this FREE printable for our readers to help you easily create this beautiful seashell shadow box.  Enter your name and email below and we’ll send this fun printable right over!

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