How to Dye Seashells

Cameron Holmes

Seashells come in a variety of shapes, sizes and hues. They can brighten up a home or work space as works of art.

Dye seashells with food coloring or metallic dye.

Whether you use them to line a picture frame or place them inside a glass container as a tabletop ornament, you can dye them to give them a more vivid hue by using basic color food coloring or cover them with metallic dyes for a more dramatic appearance.

  1. Wash seashells in a basin filled with lukewarm water and two to three drops of mild soap. Allow the shells to soak for up to 15 minutes. Remove the shells and place them on a towel to air dry for 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Line a table or workstation with newspaper. Gather various hues of food coloring on the table, along with small basins or bowls that are safe for dye.

  3. Fill each bowl with one cup of hot water. Add two to four drops of food coloring to each bowl. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the coloring mix. Mix well with a wooden stick.

  4. Soak the seashells in the dye mix for five to 10 minutes. For a deeper hue, soak them for 20 minutes. Add two to three more drops of food coloring for brighter colors.

  5. Soak the seashells in three to five drops of dye and one cup of hot water for 20 to 30 minutes if you are using metallic dye, so that the metallic hue will take.

  6. Remove the seashells with tongs to avoid staining your fingers. Place the shells on newspaper and allow them to dry for 20 minutes.