How to set shells in resin art – This is what I will help you learn today. Trust me, its easy if you put your heart in it.

I have an obsession for beaches. And every time I spend my vacations near a beach I collect a box full of seashells to get back home. And so, I replicate this in my art work.

Order your pack of shells today and get going. You will fall in love with your own art.

How to Set Shells in Resin Art

How to Set Shells in Resin Art Beach to Make it Look Realistic?

Adding a few shells to your ocean beach resin art makes it look beautiful and realistic. It is your choice whether you would like to embed one, two or many shells on our epoxy ocean water project.

My suggestion is to start by adding a few shells. And then depending upon the design and space you can embed more shells as your epoxy beach design requires.

So let’s look at the list of materials we will need to get started.

Material Required to Set Shells in Resin Art

You will need the following materials to set shells in resin art.

Epoxy resin
Electronic Weighing Scale
Pigments – Ultramarine Blue, Ultra White
Resin Ocean Sand (You  can also use crushed white glass)
A Box Lid or A Wood Panel or Canvas (round or square)
Latex Gloves
A Surgical or Respirator Mask
Disposable Paper mixing cups
Ice-cream sticks to stir
A piece of plastic to work on
Hair Dryer
A Dust Cover – Cardboard or Plastic Box, Vegetable Net

Materials to set shells in resin art

Keep All Your Material Handy

Before you begin working on your resin art project, it is always advisable to gather all the materials you require to your work area.

Keep all materials handy

Epoxy resin gives you a limited time to work. You can’t be running around looking for things that you would need at any stage of your work time. So always be prepared!

Choose The Surface For The Project

You can choose the surface you want to create your epoxy resin project. Though canvas is a cheaper option but as a beginner start your project on a wood panel. It is sturdy and doesn’t sag by resin’s weight. Epoxy resin pour on wood self-levels. This becomes difficult on a stretched canvas.

Choose the surface for the project

For this project I am using the lid of an incense box. I bought this box sometime back and had been wanting to convert it into a jewelry box. But the lid had to be reworked. So I decided to use the lid as my project.

You can choose to work on a canvas, wood panel or acrylic sheet as a base.

Think of a Beach Theme You Wish to Create

To set shells in resin you need to have a theme in mind. So Google for lovely beach pictures or take an old picture from your beach vacations as a reference.

Choose a theme

Wear Mask and Latex Gloves

Wear mask and latex gloves before you start working on your resin epoxy project. Epoxy resin emits fumes that can be health hazardeous if necessary precautions are not taken. Resin can also cause skin rashes. So always work with the latex gloves on.

Wear mask and latex glove

How to Mix Epoxy Resin and Hardener?

Mix your epoxy resin and hardener, by weight, in the ratio mentioned by the manufacturer on the instructions label. Some brands of resin are mixed in the ratio of 1 part resin to 1 part hardener. Whlie other brands instruct 2 parts resin to 1 part hardener.

Correct way to mix resin and hardener

How To Stir The Mixture?

Stir the mixture slowly with an ice-cream stick for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the cup while stirring as to mix the resin and hardener properly. If the mixture is not mixed correctly it might lead to a tacky outcome that just might not cure. So always mix the resin and hardener carefully.

how to stir the mixture

Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. It will settle the bubbles and the pouring consistency of the mixture will be thicker than before. Make sure the resin’s viscosity is honey-like when you pour for it to flow freely and self-level.

A thin consistency can lead to mixing of colours and ruin your design completely. 

For creating epoxy ocean water I have used 2 colours and crushed glass for creating sand as mentioned:

Ultramarine Blue
Ultra White for creating water and sea foam
Sand (I have used crushed glass to make this project. It give an awesome shimmery sand effect)

Making Ocean Water

Use just a little bit of pigment as it is enough to get the desired colour. However, there is always room for experimentation.

Tip: Adding too much pigment can result in a non-cure resin art piece.

Making the Epoxy Resin Beach

Creating a perfect looking beach in a small area can be challenging. But that’s what makes resin art more fun and pushes the artist to become innovative.

I started by mixing the crushed glass, ultramarine blue and white pigments in the epoxy resin mixture (2 parts resin and 1 part hardener). And let the mixtures sit for 15 minutes till it was of honey-like consistency.

Making epoxy resin beach

Whatever shape you choose to work on – round, rectangular or square, pour the sand and epoxy resin mix on the edge closer to you. Usually resin will flow and take a shape. If it doesn’t, give the desired shape by hand or by an ice-cream stick. As it takes shape we will now create the epoxy ocean water.

Pour the Ocean Water

Check on your ultramarine blue pigment and resin mixture. If it had a chance to sit for some time, it thickened enough for a freely-moving pour.  Now pour the ultramarine blue epoxy resin from the other end. The pour will flow towards the beach.

making epoxy ocean water

I did not want a rush of more than two colours in this project. But you can also use a lighter shade of blue (I prefer metallic turquoise) to give depth and create more waves to your ocean water.

Create the Waves 

You will enjoy working this part. It’s always fun to make waves crash and see the lace and sea-foam effect forming. When I see the waves taking shape, I am always transported to a day from one of my beach vacations. It’s always comforting.

Drop a thin line of clear resin between the beach and the ocean.

drop thin line of clear resin

Next drop a thin lines of clear resin anywhere on the ocean water. Then pour ultra white resin mix on the clear resin.

pour clear white resin

Spread the Waves to Form Sea Foam

So this is where the fun of creating epoxy ocean water begins. And this is what makes the ocean water look so real.

Set your hair dryer to a low setting. Begin by slowly moving the hair dryer back and forth on the first thin white layer – the one between the beach and the ocean. As you gently blow the white resin it spreads out and makes the waves crash. You might also see some white resin flow towards the beach. Let it flow as it will give a natural beach effect.

spread the waves

Now move the hair dryer to the second white line. And repeat the same process as you did to create the first wave. You can always change the settings from low to high for a wider spread. When you spread the waves by blowing it gives the lacy effect similar to sea foam

If you find the white line disappear, you can add another thin white line and create waves. 

Tip: Don’t overdo the blowing. You may lose the desired effect if you don’t know when to stop.

Embedding Shells in Resin Art

Now that your epoxy ocean beach is ready, it’s time to set shells in resin art.

There are 2 ways you can set shells in your epoxy ocean water project.

First one is to dip your shells one by one in the clear resin and place it on the beach or near the epoxy ocean water you have created. This gives a layer of gloss and shine to shells.

first step to embed shells

The second one is to directly place the shells on your epoxy ocean beach. Let the art piece sit for 4 to 5 hours. And then put a layer of clear resin over the entire epoxy ocean beach scene. Personally I prefer the latter.

second step to embed shells

Voila! The cured epoxy ocean water embedded with shells looks beautiful..

fully cured project

Tip: Remember that when your art piece is fully cured you might sometimes find it a little different from when you left it to cure. It’s nothing to worry.

I enjoyed giving the old lid a new makeover as I set shells on the epoxy ocean beach.

Set Shells in Resin Art Petri Dish

In another DIY epoxy resin project I transformed a transparent plastic lid into an epoxy ocean beach petri dish. And now I use it to keep my small without losing them every now and then.

set shells in petri dish

The procedure to set shells in rsein art petri dish is the same as I mentioned earlier. You only have to select the size of shells according to the size of your canvas, wood panel, box, lid or whatever surface you choose to work on.

Bigger shells on a smaller area will cover most of the space. So it will not beautify your epoxy ocean beach resin art.

Tip: Always choose shell size according to the size of your project.

Such DIY’s can be a great gifting idea for your loved ones. And because it is handmade, the gift becomes special too. 

Want to know about more gift ideas with epoxy resin and shells. Click here.

If you have any questions in mind regarding the usage, mixing or curing of epoxy resin for making various projects, you can check my blog ‘Top Resin Art Questions’ that will answer all your queries.

For more information on gift ideas for teenagers, read my blog ‘Resin Art Ideas For Teens’.

I hope I was able to give you the apt information you were looking for on ‘How to Set Shells in Resin Art?’ 

If yes, I will be eager to see your wonderful epoxy ocean water embedded with shells pictures. Do share the picture in comments.