5 Beach-Inspired Shadow Box DIYs for the Summer

Summer is here in full swing, and we can’t get enough all the fun and unique beach-themed DIYs floating around. It’s the perfect time to add some new homemade décor to your beach house, or at least to make your home feel like a beach house! Maybe what you need is some fresh art in your space, but trying to sit down and draw or paint something can be daunting.

You don’t have to be a master artist to put together any of these shadow boxes, but you’d never know it from the finished product.

We guarantee a million questions: “Where did you get this art?” “You made it yourself??” “How???” Well guess what! The only tools required for these crafts are glue, maybe a stencil or two, and a can-do attitude.

For other materials, such as shells, pebbles, and driftwood, this is a great way to use whatever you’ve picked up off the beach over the years and stowed away for later. If you don’t have any of these things just lying around, good news! Almost everything that we used for these projects can be found in the My Crafty Resource online store, and we’ll link them for you as we go. So let’s get started!


A Minimal Statement

What we used:

This is a very easy project that is perfect for using any of your favorite shells. We like it best with a portrait orientation, but it could also be done as a landscape. Our shadow boxes all include a sturdy, slightly off-white mat backing that you can create your project on, or you could use any heavy paper of your choice. We found Tacky glue to be the cleanest and easiest way to adhere the shells. For a scallop shell, you will need to outline the edge of the shell carefully. Leave your mat lying flat to dry for about thirty minutes to an hour. Voila! You have a very simple, beautiful statement piece. Display one on a shelf or counter, or hang three in a row to show off a larger collection.


Pebble Shapes

What we used:

One of our favorite ideas only requires one material: pebbles! And this still leaves lots of room for creativity. For this DIY, you will definitely want to use the included mounting board, or something of a similar weight. If you’re feeling artsy, you can lightly draw out your own shape in pencil. We opted for a custom paper stencil of a seahorse.

Pro Tip #1: A great way to make your own custom stencils is with a die-cutting machine! Our stencils for these projects were made using a Cricut Explore Air 2 with a heavy cardstock.

Spread out a handful of pebbles in your workspace before you get started. This will make it easier to see different sizes and shapes that will fit where you need them. Line the edges of your shape first, then fill in toward the center, leaving a bit of space between the pebbles. Once everything is positioned (and you’re sure that you aren’t going to come up short), pick the pebbles up one by one and secure them with small dots of glue. Tacky glue or hot glue will do the trick. Allow plenty of time to dry, as these rocks can get heavy!


Sand & Shells

What we used:

This idea really lets you get creative and improvise. Start with another shape outline. We made a stencil for a sea turtle, which was very well-suited to the size of shells and pebbles that we carry. If you have access to a good stencil made plastic, vinyl, or heavy cardstock, we really recommend it for this project.

Position the stencil as desired, and hold in place with tape. Use a brush to lightly coat the area with Mod Podge or a lightweight craft glue. As soon as the design is covered, pour sand over to coat it completely. Let dry, then dust away excess sand, and remove the stencil. Now you have your foundation to add other materials as desired!

We used Tacky glue again to fix the shells and pebbles in place over the sand, making the pattern for the turtle’s shell. For the reindeer moss, we drew a few lines of glue along the edges, then pressed the moss down on top, holding it firmly in place while the glue started to dry.

Pro Tip #2: When working with moss and glue, be sure to wear gloves. Most reindeer moss uses dyes to achieve their bright colors, and that dye can stain your hands when it gets wet.

Finish off your creation with a few thoughtfully placed larger shells along the edges, and then take a step back to admire your work!


Tree Branch Silhouette

What we used:

For a more subtle nod to a beach-y theme, try using driftwood and other natural materials to create a miniature family portrait. This one is nothing new, but uses heavier rocks than any of these other kits. We had good luck with the mounting board included with the frame, but you may want something sturdier depending on how many rocks you use.

Position your driftwood first. For the most realistic look, try to find a piece that has a clean cut on one end, so that you can mimic the look of a branch coming in from the side of the frame. Add your reindeer moss next (Spanish moss would look great too!). Create depth by tucking some moss under the edges of the driftwood and placing some on top. Lastly, add your stones. Black stones will give your piece the “silhouette” look, but you can use any colors you have available. You’re the artist!


Everything Under the Sea

What we used:

  • “Sea Breeze” DIY kit in baby blue
  • hot glue

We liked this craft so much that we decided to sell all the parts together as a DIY kit! The kit comes with everything but the glue, and is by far the easiest to assemble. It includes a lightweight sea fan and a handful of other accessories. First, you will want to attach the sea fan to the center of the mounting board with a few dabs of glue (we went with hot glue for this one). Then, with the backing removed, hold the front of the frame upright, leaning slightly forward. Add your handful of sea glass to the bottom inside, then position the shells and driftwood around them however you would like. Keep holding the frame in that position as you replace the backing, so that everything stays in place. And that’s it! Your masterpiece is ready to display.


If there's anything that we love more than coming up with a fun craft, it's hearing from someone who tried it out.

As always, stay crafty!

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