Seashell Craft of Candleholder & Palm Tree with Red CrabCredit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos, the shellcrafter artCredit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos, the shellcrafter art


  • wood base
  • glass votive candle holder
  • palm tree
  • crab
  • seashells
  • coral
  • sand
  • glue
  • polyurethane
  • sandpaper
  • hobby brushes


  •  Accessories such as small rocks, marbles, pearls, etc.
  • Wood stain or varnish.

 The wood base is a 3 x 5 inch oval base with a scalloped edge and a flat top. It can be found in many craft stores. It can also be found on line at craft supply stores or wood sellers. They are generally inexpensive.

 The glass candle holder for this seashell craft is in the form of a cup with a simple yet elegant design. Craft stores, candle stores, and glass stores sell them to be used for holding votive candles. They make perfect holders for tea lights – allowing easy access to be able to light the tea light and remove it when used up.

 The crab and the palm tree were found on line at a gel candle supply website. They have a tendency to change their offerings periodically, so you may have to look around a bit to find ones you like.

 Beachcombing provided the seashells, coral, and sand for this project. A stroll down the beach, looking at what the water had washed up on shore, resulted in many a useful seashell and small pieces of coral. Seashell stores often carry craft seashells. They sell mixtures in various sizes with the smaller ones being used here. They may also be able to help with the coral pieces. If beach sand is not available, try using craft sand. The texture is different but it is more consistent, and readily available a various craft stores.

 The glue used for this project is standard white glue. A major brand is Elmer’s Glue All. White glue can be found in many different stores. Just make sure it is standard white glue, not school glue.

 Hardware stores carry the polyurethane paint. Use a clear type in high gloss, gloss, or semi-gloss. The sandpaper can also be found in hardware stores. Use two types – medium grit and fine grit.

Step 1 - Prepare the Base for the Seashell Craft:

 The wood base used on this seashell craft needs some preparation before use. First remove any stickers from the top. If you plan to cover the bottom with polyurethane or stain, remove any stickers and clean the sticky residue left behind. Try paint thinner or a similar chemical.

 Use the medium grit sandpaper to smooth down any rough spots, especially on the scalloped edge. Now use the fine sandpaper to lightly sand the base on all surfaces you plan to paint, stain, or glue.

 Clean off the wood dust. A dry rag can be used to wipe the base.

 For a natural wood look, paint the scalloped edge with the polyurethane (you can actually wait until the design has been applied if you wish). To add color to the base, use a stain. A light oak stain was used to complement the sand but you can use any color you like. Try a walnut or cherry stain for an elegant look.

Step 2 - Prepare the Glass Candle Holder:

 The glass candle holder for this seashell project needs to be clean and dry. It should not be damaged. If it is chipped or cracked – do NOT use it. Wash the votive glass with soap and water, rinse then dry. Alternatively, run it in your dishwasher with a load of dishes.

 The seashell craft design shown here uses auger and clam seashells spaced evenly around the outside of the glass holder. Since white glue was used, each seashell had to be glued in place then the glue was allowed to dry before the next seashell was placed. To keep the glass cup from rolling, two heavier objects were placed to either side of it.

 Once all the seashells are placed and the glue has dried the sand can be applied. It can be done in sections or all at once. The trick is to make sure there is sufficient wet glue applied to hold the sand in place.

 Place newspaper, paper, or a flexible place mat under your work. Apply a drop or two of glue to the exposed glass and use a brush to spread it around the glass. If you are doing a section, sprinkle sand over the wet glue as soon as you are done spreading it out in the section. Then do another section.

 If you are doing the whole cup, then keep putting glue drops on exposed glass and spreading it until all the glass is covered. Check that all the spread glue is still wet and sprinkle sand over all the wet glue.

 DO NOT apply glue or sand to the bottom of the glass candle holder, nor the inside surface.

 Gather up spilled sand and return it to your container. If you wish, clean any excess sand from the seashells.

 Once this component of the seashell project is dry, apply a coat of polyurethane over the seashells and the sand. This will protect them, bring out some colors, and provide a nice sheen to the craft.

Step 3 - Putting Everything Together and Finishing:

With the base for the seashell craft in front of you, place the candle holder and the palm tree on the base. Check to see how they fit. The glass cup should be on one side of the oval and the palm tree on the other leaving a bit of space (as much as you can) in front of the palm tree for the crab, coral, and seashells.

 Apply glue to the bottom of the votive glass and set it on the base. Apply glue to the bottom of the palm tree and place it on the base. Adjust, if needed, to accommodate the rest of the design. Then allow the seashell project to dry.

 Spread glue on the any exposed wood on the top of the base. Spread it right up to the edges of the votive cup and the palm tree. Sprinkle sand over the glue and let dry.

 Remove the loose sand by tilting the seashell craft. The loose sand should flow off.

 Now apply glue to the bottom of the coral and place it on the base. Do the same for the crab (usually the tips of the legs and perhaps the bottom of the body) and the seashells.

 Once they are dry paint the coral, sand and seashells with polyurethane. You can also use the polyurethane of resin figures but not on glass, porcelain, or ceramic figures.

Using the Tea Light Candle Holder Seashell Craft

 Now that you have finished the seashell project, give it try. Place a tea light (these are small candles that come within a holder of metal or plastic) inside the glass. Light the candle and enjoy the gentle glow of light.


 To prevent fire, please be careful when using the seashell craft. Keep it away from anything that can catch fire (such as curtains, or blankets). Keep out of reach of children and pets. Do not leave candles burning un-attended.

 Children should be under adult supervision if attempting this craft. Small components, paints, and glue could be a hazard to them.