HomeDIY CraftDIY Decorative Shell Trinket Trays

DIY Decorative Shell Trinket Trays


A few months ago I ordered decoupage shell trinket trays from a wholesaler and quickly sold a dozen at my local store. People are attracted to them for their organic shape with golden edges and beautiful patterns inside.

They take weeks to replace through a wholesaler because they are handmade so I thought I would make them myself from now on.

Whenever I sell them at my local store, I package them in little white boxes because they make a great gift.

Three shell shapes work well for this project: oyster, clam, and scallop. The scallop shape is the flattest so I started making my own (these below) to get the hang of it. Next I would move on to the more curvaceous clam and oyster shells that I sold in my store.

Here are the supplies you’ll need to recreate this project: 1) 4-6 inch shells (see sources below); 2) Decoupage medium such as Mod Podge; 3) patterned paper napkins; 4) Gilding paint, I used this is In the shade of brass; 5) medium and thin tip paintbrush; 6) Scissors.

I had some leftover patterned paper napkins from this vase project, so I ordered two more packages of napkins for this round.

The napkins I used:

Casperi Cocktail / Flowers and butterflies

pink flower/ ditsy flowers

More suggested napkin patterns that would look great inside shells:

pink flower / Herbs / Garden conference

blue flower / Sea fan / rifle flower

Here are three shell sizes for reference if you want to make your own and order supplies:

I used the shell on the left for this project, but a large lion’s paw would work just as well.

4-5 inch white scallops / 5-6 inch lion’s paw scallops

The steps are simple, first round up your supplies then get started!

First step: Clean the shells and allow them to dry completely. Paint a layer of decoupage medium like Mod Podge on the inside to completely cover the shell with a medium sized craft paintbrush. Carefully separate a paper napkin (they are either 2 or 3 ply) and using only the patterned piece, gently layer it over the decoupage medium.

Step Two: Pressing lightly in the center with your fingers, gently press the napkin around the edge of the shell moving from the center to the outer edge. Take your time so you are careful not to tear the paper napkin.

Step Three: Once the inside of the shell is completely covered, use scissors to trim the outer edges of the shell to remove excess napkins. Trim as close to the edge of the shell as possible.

Step four: Add a thin layer of decoupage medium to the top of the shell on the patterned napkin with a medium-sized craft paintbrush. Allow the layer to dry for two hours, then add a second thin layer of decoupage medium and allow to dry for an additional two hours.

Step Five: With a thin tip paintbrush, paint the edges of the shell with a gold or silver edge. Be careful that the edge is not too thick or the gilding drips into the shell. Apply two thin coats, being careful to let the gilding paint dry slightly as you go around the shell, this avoids dripping. Allow the gilding to dry and the shells are done!

I will upload a reel to Instagram showing the start to finish steps.

Note that Mod Podge is not classified as food safe so I would never serve any food that is liquid, cold or warm in these pods, but a little loose sea salt makes a nice presentation.

They are also perfect for holding earrings and rings.

Let me know if you recreate your own versions, I’d love to see what patterns you choose



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