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Sea Shell Crafts - Sand Casting with Plaster

Looking for a very different type of beach craft?  Plaster casting into sand is an easy, family-friendly activity.  Doing it on the beach is loads of fun but you can also do it at home as long as you have sand on hand. Be creative with shapes!  Hearts, footprints, and theuse of cookie cutters makes very unique ornaments, wallhangings, wreaths and keepsakes.  

Sand and Shells

Plaster of Paris 

Water or Seawater


First, make your shape in wet sand.  you can do this freehand or with a cookie cutter or even someone's footprint.  The sand must be moist but not sopping wet.  Make your edges as clean and sharp as possible.  If sand keeps falling out of the edges and back into the shape, your sand is not wet enough. 

Scatter random shells and other beach finds in a pattern that suits you.  press them lightly down into the sand about a 1/2 an inch deep.

Mix the plaster according to directions.  I have used seawater when at the beach and it worked just fine.  Carefully pour into your sand mold and smooth over.  I add paper clips for ornaments or for hanging.  Make sure your edges are filled in on the side.

Do not remove your sand cast until you are absolutley sure it is dry enough (check the plaster instructions) or it will break.

Brush the excess sand away.  Sometimes I find that I haven't added enough shells initially so I will glue on a few small ones to fill in after the plaster is cured.

This is a close up of how the sand casting looks after it;'s dry and the excess sand has been brushed off.

If you want to do a footprint sandcast, which is a super fun activity with the kids on the beach, just have your child press his foot into the appropriately wet sand so that you have a clear print and fill with plaster.

When you first remove the print, you may have to do a bit of trimming of plaster to make it look "clean".  I put my kids prints on pieces of old pallets that looked like driftwood and I wrote their names on seashells and put it all together for a great momento to hang on the wall of their room.

These fun, sandy beach crafts cost very little to make.  They go great with shore decor  and make great ornaments for the Christmas tree!

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