Ocean Art: 5 Beach-Inspired Crafts

These wonderful seaside ideas are from guest author Michelle Rise.

Over the years, I’ve found that some of my craftiest ideas come from Mother Nature herself — and more specifically — the beach. After one particular family trip to Southern California and a tide pool exploration adventure at The Inn at Laguna Beach, my brain was reeling with ideas. By the time we got back home, I had already lined my kids up with 5 new beach-inspired projects to take on:

Sea Life Wall Art with Ribbon for Hanging

Sea Life Wall Art with Ribbon for Hanging


Most parents are probably familiar with those little hand and foot prints made from Plaster of Paris, and as most parents do, they probably treasure them. Well, here’s a way to use that same idea to capture memories and other vacation treasures found along the beach.

Using a ratio of 1 part water to 1.5 parts Plaster of Paris, gather some nice, damp sand to make impressions of seashells, starfish, seaweed or other cool discoveries from the beach or tide pool (just be careful to not harm any living things!). Pour the water and plaster mix into the sand, and let it dry. In fear of hurting living creatures, I admit to cheating by purchasing a few starfish and shells at the local souvenir shop. It still had the same effect, because I let the younger kids ‘find’ them for their impressions. They make no difference in the print, and they’re plenty authentic!


So your kids have collected an impressive amount of seashells, but what do you do with it? Burlap and muslin fabric make great canvases for wall art, so let the kids put together an ocean art mural complete with seashells, seaweed, shark teeth, and anything else they can find. Mix in elements with different colors for a true piece of art, and your kids will stay busy gluing and arranging for hours.


A favorite seaside pastime for many kids involves hunting for the perfect shells to make necklaces. However, SoCal’s beaches and tide pools don’t have an abundance of the type of shells we often think of for such necklaces. In this case, broken doesn’t necessarily mean bad—in fact, you can create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry by stringing together already broken pieces of shell and coral of various textures and colors. For something a little bit different, you can also add a single small piece of abalone, shell or coral to a charm bracelet for a colorful and meaningful memory.


This is one of my absolute favorite ideas, and such a fun way to teach kids about the kinds of organisms that can be found in tide pools. With a sturdy white paper plate, let your kids use water colors, markers or crayons and draw what they find in a tide pool. Have sand, shells and other beachy items on hand for them to glue around the edges, if they want. After they’re done, wrap clear or blue cellophane paper around the plate to give it an aquarium look and voila—instant tide pool!



Our family loves photos. Well, we don’t all necessarily like to be photographed, but we sure love to take them. SoCal’s tide pools are a professional photographer’s dream, but even amateurs can capture the magnificence of such beautiful ocean life. Let your kids try their hand at beach photography by having each one take photos, and then enter them into a “family contest.” Gather and vote for the top two or three photos from each family member, and print them out in black and white for a beach vacation collage. Use Mod Podge to seal the photos to an inexpensive canvas, and you’ll have yourself a family keepsake from the perspective of every family member.

When it comes to creating crafts using beach elements, the sky is truly the limit. These are some of the tried and true ideas that my kids have adored, and they’re ones that I’ve adored as well. What kind of beach memories will you create?

Guest author Michelle Rise is a writer, crafter, and Mom of 5.  Visit her on Google+.

Text and Images Copyright 2014 Michelle Rise

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