Seashell Craft Tealight Candleholder Front
Credit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos


  •  wood base
  • glass votive candle holder
  • crab
  • fish
  • seashells
  • seashell pieces
  • coral
  • sand
  • glue
  • polyurethane
  • sandpaper
  • hobby brushes


  • accessories:  small rocks, marbles, pearls, etc.
  • wood stain
  • wood varnish

 The wood base for this seashell craft has a scalloped edge and a flat top. It is round and the diameter is about 3 inches. It can be bought from a variety of stores. Craft supply stores, on line stores, wood stores, and even discount stores can carry them.

 The tea light cup is a glass votive candle holder. This is a simple design with a flaring opening and smooth lines. Normally used to hold votive candles, they can be bought from craft stores, candle stores, and glass stores both on and off line. The wide opening gives easy access to the tea light for lighting and disposal.

 Gel candle supply stores often carry embeds in the shape of fish and crabs. Take a look for small glass animals in their embed section, usually under sea life. You may need to look at a few of the stores to find something you like.

 If beachcombing for the small seashells, coral, and sand used in this project is out of the question, you may find these items in a seashell store. They often sell mixtures of seashells in various sizes ranging from small to large. Get a mixture of small ones. The variety will add interest to the seashell craft you are making.

If beach sand is not available, try using craft sand. The texture of craft sand is different than beach sand but it is more consistent and readily available from craft stores. They even have sand dyed in different colors.

 Standard white glue, which stays wet after application but then dries hard, is best for seashell craft projects. The wet glue allows for repositioning the various parts used and makes an excellent adhesive to sprinkle sand on.

 Polyurethane paint can be found in hardware stores. It is available as a clear liquid or in spray cans. Use clear high gloss, gloss, or semi-gloss paint. The sandpaper – medium grit and fine grit - can also be found in hardware stores.

Side View

Seashell Craft Tea Light Candleholder Project 2
Credit: Angelo Rodriguez

Step 1 - Prepare the Base for the Seashell Craft:

 Before using the wood base for this seashell project remove any stickers from the top. If you plan to cover the bottom with polyurethane or stain, remove any stickers from the bottom. Clean off any residue the stickers may have left behind.

 The medium grit sandpaper can be used to smooth rough spots. Pay special attention to the scalloped edge which is usually where the rough spots are found. Use the fine sandpaper to lightly sand the base on all surfaces that you plan to paint, stain, or glue.

 All that sanding creates wood dust. Wipe the base to remove this dust.

 To protect the wood paint it with the polyurethane, or use a stain and then use the polyurethane. This base was painted by a semi-gloss liquid polyurethane paint to preserve it in as natural color as possible. If you prefer to use stain on your wood try Oak, Cherry or Walnut.


Seashell Craft Tea Light Candleholder Project 2(46067)
Credit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos

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 on the cup uses pieces of seashells in different shapes, sizes, and colors. They are placed all over the glass wherever they fit. Leave a little room around each piece for the sand.  Since white glue is used, each seashell piece needs to be glued in place then the glue has to dry before the next seashell piece is placed. Prop the glass cup to keep it from rolling. You can try to place more than one piece of seashell at a time, just watch they don’t slide off the glass.

 To apply sand to the seashell candleholder, first 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. Keep applying glue until all the exposed glass is covered then sprinkle sand over the wet glue. If you used the right amount of glue, the sand will stick to it and not flow down. Let the glass cup sit on its bottom for a while so the glue has time to set and dry.

 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.

Side View

Seashell Craft Tea Light Candleholder Project 2(46068)
Credit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos

Step 3 - Putting Everything Together and Finishing:

 Place the wood base for the seashell craft in front of you. The edge away from you becomes the back edge. Position the votive candle holder centered on the base but toward the back edge. This should leave room in front for the seashells, crab, fish and coral. Apply glue to the bottom of the glass cup and set it on the base.

 Apply glue to the coral pieces and set them on the base. Let seashell project sit until the glue dries.

 Now 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 coral pieces. When done with the glue sprinkle sand over the glue and let dry.

 To remove the loose sand, tilt the seashell craft on its side. The loose sand will flow off the shell craft. Apply polyurethane to the sand and coral.

 Now apply glue to the bottom of the seashells and place them on the base around the coral pieces and the votive cup. Leave a space for the crab and the fish, then apply glue to the lower surfaces of each and put them in place.  Allow to dry.

 Once they are dry apply polyurethane to the seashells. You can also use the polyurethane on resin figures but not on glass, porcelain, or ceramic figures.

With Lit Tea Light

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.