diy shell mosaic ornaments

arlo collects rocks and shells and little sticks and whatever the f he finds, and we just have little boxes and boxes of these things — so i thought it would be really sweet to make mosaic ornaments of some of them and they would be like all our vacations and memories all in one ornament!

would also be so cute to do this with a collection from one trip, and mark where on the back so you remember each one.

anyway, i’m calling these treasure ornaments 🙂 they make me so happy!

you could totally do these with salt dough or air dry clay but i chose oven bake polymer clay because time is limited and i wanted it done quickly.


a bunch of little shells/rock/crystals
wire or paper clip for loop
string or ribbon for hanging


01. condition and roll your clay into a ball. smoosh it with your hand and then roll it flat. finesse edges if needed but i like it looking a little handmade.

02. carefully start pressing your little shells into the clay. if you want to follow a plan, you can arrange them on a different surface first, i just winged it. press them in pretty firmly so they’ll stay put. 

03. make a U out of a paper clip or wire and carefully insert into the top of your clay.

04. bake according to package directions.

05. once cool, add string or ribbon to your ornament and hang!

a few little notes :

they seem pretty sturdy right now, but if any piece were to fall out i don’t see why i couldn’t superglue and stick back on.

someone asked if they were too heavy to hang, they aren’t really any heavier than some of our other ornaments! probably because the shells themselves are tiny.

if you need more tiny pieces, you can hit a crystal or shell with a hammer and create them! 

here’s a video of how i made these!

and if you’re looking for more diy ornament ideas, i also wrote about how to make these!

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  1. Hi Molly! Your clay crafts are beautiful! I’ve never worked with clay but would love to start with my toddler. Can you explain how you “condition” your clay? Thank you!

    1. Molly Madfis says:

      it depends on the clay type but with polymer i just rub it around in my hands and knead it to warm it up!

  2. Hi Molly! These are adorable <3 I was wondering though if you could use air dry clay, instead of baking clay? Thanks sm! 🙂 I think i'm gonna make some of these with my toddler and give them to grandparents!!

    1. Molly Madfis says:

      yes for sure! i almost did but my air dry clay was old and crumbly!

  3. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Molly! These are so great. My little ones are nature treasure collectors, too, and I want to make some of these with them!! Great idea! Sculpey makes a bake-able glue that hardens and helps cement creations when you pop them in the oven. I think it could be helpful here, so the pieces don’t fall out! We use polymer clay a lot, and I often add a dab of their glue for this purpose for tiny pieces that I don’t want to fall off after they’ve baked (like a tiny cherry on top of a clay ice cream scoop! – real life example hehe). Thanks for all the inspiration and for being awesome!! Happy almost new year!

  4. definitely making these to commemorate a recent vacation and my daughter’s first shell collection 🙂

    can you tell us about the adorable crab ornament hanging behind the shell mosaic? i love him!

    1. Molly Madfis says:

      i do too! i got it last year though (from kohls randomly) and it never restocked!! :/

  5. Oh wow! Just came across this. Definitely adding this of things to do with my kiddos. We made hand prints in clay when they were toddlers but would love to try these out. Thank you for the idea!

  6. Do you know how many days this can sit before being baked? I’m thinking if I go camping for a few days and make some but have to wait until I return home to bake, will it work or get dried out? Thanks!

    Also, I am pushing 60 but have been collecting rocks, shells, sticks since I was a wee lass and found it was hard to dust all those things (as I prefer to have them around than in boxes stored away) so I put them in glass jars with glass lids (or whatever) and have them on display here, there, and everywhere. 😀