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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Tips To Decorate Your Home With Seashells

dining shell basket dmm

“What do you do with all of the seashells you collect?” Haven’t you been asked that question every time you tell someone you love to collect shells? I’ve been asked countless times and I’ve asked other shellers so I’m guilty as well. I think we all are interested in getting ideas of what to do with them from other people who love what we love… seashells.

Dick Mary Fatima seashells

Our friends Dick and Mary love shelling and love their seashells and beach bling surrounding them in their beautiful home. Join me as I show you their seashell arrangements… with the help from kitty Fatima.

Fatima kitty with seashells dmm

 This is a perfect example of what I love about Dick and Mary in the photo above…. there are no rules. They find so many beautiful shells on the beach but they also love to buy shells if they see one that strikes their fancy and they don’t mind mixing them. Most of those shells in the bowl (that Fatima is admiring) were found on the beach by either Dick or Mary but some, as Mary says with a laugh “I found that one too…. in a store”.

Alphabet cone display decor

 When it comes to ALPHABET CONES, they don’t have to buy a single one. They found all of the ones in the glass vessel on Sanibel and Captiva. Wow! Piling the same shell in any type of vessel is my favorite way to display my shells as well. They found all of these baby HORSE CONCHS too. Wouldn’t you love a bowl full of candy by your bedside table?

bedside candy dish dmm

 They framed their oddity treasures in a shadowbox.

Seashell wall art dmm

They framed some of their best shells to make a wall collage in the hallway.

Hallway framed seashells dmm

Framed seashell display dmm

framed starfish dmm

 This is the top of the very first shell mirror Mary made but the mirror is so big, I couldn’t get the whole thing in the photo. Again, she mixed bought shells with beach found shells.

Seashell mirror top dmm

Here’s the bottom of another shell mirror…

bottom shell mirror dmb

They displayed their “knobless wonder” HORSE CONCH (the spire doesn’t have those pronounced bumps normal horsies do) right at the front entrance with a striking vase of PAPER FIGS.

knobless wonder with figs

knobless wonder with figs

They call this little heart the WENTLETRAP trap…

Wentletrap heart trap

This wire bowl has a beach found key chain, pottery pieces, sea glass, driftwood and other beach bling along with a bought object d’ art. See? Mix and match, just do it.

beachcomb objects dmm

 Mary was a doll maker a number of years ago so on the shelves of her glass door cabinets she displays the things she loves mixed together.

sea urchin bowl display

 Of course there are OLIVE shells in the olive dish.

olive dish with seashells

 Remember I showed you the OYSTER shell mirror on my post Ordinary Oyster Turn Extraordinary? Mary made a plant stand out of them.

Oyster shell plant stand

I still have so much to show you! Like how they use their shells in the garden and by the pool and how they organize all of their shells. But, oh my. I’ve run out of time so I have to break this post into several so… hang on! You won’t believe your eyes at how many more shells they have and what they do with them. So for Part Two… CLICK HERE

sea life still under glass dmm




  1. A great post, Pam with great ideas! Mary and Dick have a wonderful shell sense of decorating. Thanks.

  2. Love to see all the creative ways people find to display their “finds”…gives me inspiration! But…I need a few more shells to do what they’ve done, LOL. Oh gee…that means I have to come back to Sanibel, darn! (chuckling to herself)

  3. Wow! They could charge for tours of their home. I just love it!!!!!

  4. Simply Beautiful ! This is our third day on your beautiful island, my dream come true. We have found whelks and conchs, olives, murex, a couple of turbans and lots of beautiful little calico scallops. I know those scallops are very common but I can’t get enough, they are so adorable. I really want to find a wentletrap, an alphabet cone and of course a junonia. I guess I may have to find that at a seashell shop. Thanks for sharing all of your info. It has made my trip so much better! Cindy

  5. Oh, my gosh. This is awesome. They collected all these shells?! The wall collage is beautiful…, so is everything else they did!

  6. Dick & Mary – LOOOOOVED your shells and your home is wonderful!!

    • Thanks Phyllis! It was a surprise to see your name!

  7. Loved the ideas!

  8. So beautiful! I wish I knew what glue is used to do these projects. We have been visiting Sanibel for about 8 years. Every time bringing home bags of very heavy shells. They are clean and stored in boxes. Some are displayed in glass containers but, I’d love to make some frames. Mary and Dick I just love your displays! Thanks for sharing.

    • I use E6000 and epoxy putty for really heavy shells. The only drawback to E6000 is that it dries slowly; however it is much stonger than things like hot glue.

    • Wow…that is simply beautiful. Can’t wait to see the other pictures. I too would LOVE to know the process they did to make the mirrors and what glue or grout they used. I want to make a large mirror and some frames also.

    • I decorated a wood mirror with shells – just used a hot glue gun!

    • Hot glue does work for projects that are not under glass or to be displayed in areas where they are unlikely to be bumped or even touched by curious fingers. For large projects or furnishings I prefer the E6000 and lots of patience. It took me a good part of a summer working on the oyster covered plant stand. I worked on it about 30-45 minutes a day because I wanted to make certain the glue was dry before adding the weight of too many more shells. We have had that stand for several years and one move now without losing any shells. I like to think of the extra time in completing some projects as being like the time and patience required in finding that beautiful Junonia shell on the beach.

  9. What enviable talent Mary has ! I have been lucky enough to be in their lovely home, but with your dispaly of photos, it is even more appreciated….Love, love, love it all !!! Great Ideas with beautiful shells.

  10. Oh my gosh…I LOVE IT ALL!!! Hoping to add to my decor in three weeks!! I covet that table centerpiece…tehee.

  11. Super ideas! Keep them coming!!

  12. Wow! Seeing all the creative ways they used to display their treasures has given me new inspiration to get to work on my boxes of Sanibel shells (currently displayed in my garage)…

  13. WOW !!!

  14. Wonderful shells and great ideas to decorate the home with all of these little treasures!! I’m really inspired… thanks for sharing!!

  15. Perfection!

  16. What magnificent displays! Thanks for sharing.

  17. I love to see how other people display their shells! These ideas are all beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thanks, Pam! What a motivator to get some shell work while it is dreary outside!!!
    We bought a few old printers drawers. We will glue the shells in place with a hot glue gun. First, tho, we will have a glass door made so I don’t have to dust the shells so often!!

    • *shell work done*

  19. Have u ever found or heard of an albino tulip? Anyone?

  20. Great Style and Great Attitude! I love Mary’s line about finding a shell in a store!
    There’s so many fantastic shells I’d never find on a beach but I’ve felt guilty buying shells– not as “real” as collecting them on vacation, I guess. But I first fell in love with seashells as a kid at Sea Shell City. I’d save my money for months and beg my father to stop each year. I remember agonizing over which beauty to buy– one big fantastic one or several small wonders! Such a hard choice.

  21. Thanks for all of the great ideas. Can’t wait to see the rest.

  22. Would you kindly tell me what kind of glue you are using for your shell projects?
    thank you
    sandi hill

  23. Wow…I am in awe & speechless…amazing collections & awesome decorator!

  24. Wow! Thanks so much! I loved their ideas! Keep them coming! Love this site, it is awesome, and I’m sooo addicted! :) Sherri from MN

  25. I LOVE the displays! Can’t even come close to deciding which is my favorite!

  26. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I used to try to keep my found and purchased shells separate, but now I just can’t remember which ones are which (okay, sometimes it’s obvious, but not always). Oh, well….it’s not like we’re running museums – the idea is to enjoy living amongst the beautiful things you love, right?

    Thank you, Pam, Dick and Mary, for sharing. More, please!

  27. WOW! Dick and Mary have some beautiful displays! That container of cone shells is just awesome…as is everything else! So cool!

  28. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I especially love your framed shells! Would like to know where you get the frames and how you mount the shells (what is the backing they’re on?). Just beautiful…thank you for sharing!

    • The frames are from Michaels and the backing is linen. I bought a linen drapery panel at Target because it was the most fabric for the money and also the texture I was looking for. I used spray mount to apply the fabric; and E6000 to apply the shells.

  29. Never underestimate the power of a shell lover with a glue gun!

    • :D

  30. How fabulous!

  31. Hi Mary & Dick!! I was thinking about you guys this weekend, and here you are! I know we have talked shells many times, but I had no idea what you did with them. And I thought I had good ideas?? The way you display your shells is great! Loved everything I saw and can’t wait to see the rest.
    Hope all is well and maybe we will see you soon. I am only in on the weekends right now. Take care~~

  32. Just beautiful!! Can’t wait to see the next post!
    I have my best shells in a map chest as the drawers are shallow and wide, but one has to open them to see. I am now going to go with the framed collage on the wall!
    Did you ever try “Perfect glue” made by Liquid Nails? I did the shell board at Cayo Costa last year and researched a lot to find a glue that would hold up to the Florida heat. Perfect glue was recommended for both inside and outside projects. So far the shell board is holding up, but was wondering if E6000 works on outside projects as well?

    • I haven’t tried “Perfect glue” but I have used Liquid Nails and it also works. E6000 says that it is Industrial Strength – Flexible – Paintable – Waterproof.

    • What is the cayo Costa shell board? Just wondering.. I wish I was at Cayo Costa right now!! :)

      • There is a display board on the camping side of Cayo Costa. We try to put as many shells that are found at Cayo Costa up on the board and identify them. The old board had shells falling off, so last year, as a volunteer, I redid the old board (with help from husband Bill and Ranger Mary) so that those unfamiliar with shell names would know what treasures they have!! We hope to put a board up on the arrival/departure side of the island too. Cayo Costa is my favorite place in the world!!!!

  33. Love love love

  34. I love their shadowbox wall!! It has been hard for me to find shadowboxes. Would they mind letting me know where they bought them?

  35. Wow, that’s amazing.

    A sea shell collection to rival my own obession.

    Nice to meet another shellaholic!

    Gorgeous collection, that’s for sharing.

  36. Love the neat ideas! My family and I are planning our 2nd vacation to Sanibel this summer and I just can’t wait to search for the perfect seashells again! Which beach is usually the best?

  37. Wow!!! My dream is to live on Sanibel Island (I’m 16)! I love all of these shells. The way they organize them is so creative! I really like the idea of putting them in frames onto the wall… I’d really like to have a nice collection of sea fans, sea whips, sponges and coral, too! xD

  38. omg omg omg YOUR KITTIE!!!!! Dick and Mary, yall are just soooo lucky to have such an awesomely fluffly kittie!!!!! And seashells that are equally awesome??? I’m officially shellous. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous home with us! :D

  39. Hi,
    I love your site, very interesting and of great help for me, that just collect shells without knowing names etc.!!!
    Looking at the many ideas of shell decorating of Dick and Mary I am interested to the glass heart for “Wentletrap”.
    Would they mind letting me know where I can buy it?
    (I live in Italy!)
    Thank you so much and many compliments again!

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