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How To Make A Beautiful Decoupage Shell Dish

A Lovely Decoupage Gift Idea

Even though Picture Box Blue is all about beautiful vintage images and maps. Every so often I love to show some ideas of how you can craft with those images. This is my latest craft tutorial a beautiful decoupage shell dish.

One of my favourite collections on Picture Box Blue is the beautiful fish paintings of Louis Renard. I have already hacked an IKEA lamp in my lounge with these stunning pictures. This time when I was looking for an image to decoupage onto the scallop shells I knew those fantastical fish would be perfect.

For the outer of the shells, I wanted to use a pattern that you would find on fine porcelain. The traditional Chinese pattern collection was perfect for this.

I love how the little shell dishes have turned out and I think they would make a lovely gift. There is one on my bedside table, I use it to place my rings in at night.

Beautiful decoupage shell dish

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What You Need To Make A Decoupage Shell Dish

  • Scallop shells – My local supermarket sells a frozen Coquille St Jacques dish. Not only do I love the dish but it is served in large scallop shells. I keep the shells for crafting. If you don’t happen to eat scallops you can buy the shells online.
Scallop shells

How To Make A Decoupage Shell Dish

1. Wash the shells and make sure they are dust and grease-free.

2. Decide on what images you want to use for the shell dish. There are lots to choose from on Picture Box Blue. I used fish paintings but the octopus illustrations or the nature art of Ernst Haeckel would have looked good too.

3. Cut a sheet of tissue paper so that it is a bit smaller than A4 printer paper. Then tape the tissue paper to a sheet of printer paper. Place this paper in your printer and print out the images you want to use onto the tissue paper.

Taped tissue paper

Tissue paper is very thin and so great for decoupage. Unfortunately, it is too thin to print on directly, that is why it is taped to a piece of paper. This gives the tissue paper enough strength to pass through the printer.

Paper napkins are also great for decoupage. They too can be printed on using this method. However, make sure you only use the top ply sheet of a paper napkin when printing.

Images printed on to tissue paper

4. Next, carefully cut out the printed tissue paper fish. Apply Mod Podge or other decoupage glue to the inside of shell. Carefully lay the fish onto the glue and then use a clean brush to remove any air bubbles.

Cutting out the fish
Brushing out air bubbles on the shell dish decoupage

The tissue paper is so thin, you will be still be able to see the groves in the shell. The fish will actually look as though it has been printed onto the shell dish.

4. Next, turn over the shell and decoupage the outside of the shell dish, the same way. That is applying the glue to the shell and using a brush.

Decoupage the outside of the shell dish

To get rid of any overlapping tissue, just dampen the paper and carefully tear it away.

removing overlapping tissue paper

5. Finally, to finish off the beautiful shell dish apply another coat of Mod Podge over the decoupage. The glue will dry clear and will act as a protective varnish. Apply the glue to both sides of the shell.

applying mod podge varnish

The Finished Shell Dish

finished shell dish
decoupage shell dish

As well as using the decoupage shell dish as a trinket dish you could also make shell ornaments. Just use smaller shells and drill a small hole into the shell to hang it from some ribbon.

These fish designs would also look great on decoupage placemats.

If you liked this Picture Box Blue craft you should check out some of the others on the site.

Or if you are looking for more seaside themed images, then check out these.

Decoupage shell dishes

You can find more decoupage crafts here.

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Judy Guin

Thursday 7th of November 2019

Beautiful, would love to try.


Friday 8th of November 2019

Thank you, have fun making them.

Michele Presby

Wednesday 16th of October 2019


I was making one for a friends birthday but wanted to use a specific piece of art for the shell, however I can only print on reg paper do you have any suggestions?


Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Have you tried my method of printing on tissue paper? If you can only use regular paper if you dampen it before decoupage it is easier to bend around curves and is more flexible.


Monday 14th of October 2019

This is lovely, Claire. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!


Tuesday 15th of October 2019

Thank you, Cecilia.