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Make Your Own Shell Place Card Holders for Beautiful Table Decor


Get the look for less with these gorgeous Joss & Main-inspired DIY sea shell place card holders. It only takes two steps to create!

Today’s craft was inspired by seashell place card holders I saw on Joss & Main months ago.   They were a pretty penny, so I decided to DIY them, and I’m just thrilled with how they turned out.

If you have seashells and a Dremel tool lying around, you can make these now! 

 A white place setting with a beautiful DIY shell place card holder and feather.
DIY Shell Place Card Holder

The beach-themed place card holders are super easy and only take about five minutes. 

The Power of Seashells – Why They Are So Special? 

I find learning about different cultural traditions fascinating so here are some facts about seashells.

Just like in some religious practices where conch and cowrie shells are revered, seashells, too, have a profound significance in Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese art and science of balancing energies. 

In the Middle Ages, pilgrims used scallop shells as symbols of their journey to Santiago de Compostela.

They are not just pretty decorations but symbols of connection, given their origins in the vast sea that links various parts of the world. So, they naturally boost travel luck and foster long-distance relationships. Additionally, they’re like mini stress relievers and protective talismans. 

If you’re looking to enhance communication, build healthy relationships, or welcome prosperity, seashells can be your go-to.

Supplies for coastal place card holders:

For these DIY seashell place card holders, you’ll need:

  • Seashells
  • Dremel with a saw blade attachment
  • Gold Sharpie or pen
  • Safety gear (It’s best to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and a mask to avoid breathing in the fine dust.
  • Woodblock
  • Towel 
A collection of seashells.
My Collection of Shells

Step-by-Step Instructions for DIY Seashell Holders:

I chose 8 seashells out of my ridiculous collection of dead sea critters (happy to use them in a utilitarian way) and sweetly asked my husband to drill a slit in the top of each one. Here’s how you, too, can do it like a pro.

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area

Lay down a towel on your table or work surface to keep it safe from any debris and dust.

Next, place a block of wood on the work surface.

Before drilling, decide where you want the hole in your shell or sea glass. Mark that spot so you have a clear target.

Step 2: Start Drilling with the Dremel

Alright, first things first. You’ll want to position your shell resting on the wood block. This block will stop the saw blade from cutting too deep and harming the surface below.

A man using a Dremel cutting  a slit into a shell to create a place card holder.
Drilling into the Seashell

Now, grab your Dremel and set it to a low setting to begin. Gently start your cut at the marked spot, guiding the blade along the path you’ve planned for the slit. Easy does it!

Here’s where you need a bit of patience. Apply steady, gentle pressure as you cut.

Done cutting? Great! Now take a moment to check the slit. Is it the right size? Is it smooth enough for your card? If not, no worries. Just make those little tweaks or smooth out the rough edges with a sanding attachment.

A close up of making your own seashell place card holder with a beautiful speckled shell and slit on top.
A Beautiful-Coastal Placecard Holder

And that’s it! You’ve now successfully drilled your seashells without breaking them.

Step 3: Finishing Up

After the slit is made, clean the seashell place card holder. Once dried, it’s ready to hold your card securely.

You can use these beach place card holders for various occasions, from festive dinners to coastal-themed parties.

Pro Tip! To add a little detail similar to the Joss and Main ones, I traced the openings with my gold Sharpie.

Adding Gold Accent with a Marker

They are perfect for our Coastal Thanksgiving table setting that I will be sharing tomorrow!  The texture is amazing and I added pheasant feathers for an extra layer. Gorgeous!

They would also be beautiful displaying pictures and postcards too!

A seashell place card holder holding a place card.
Seashell Placecard or Picture Holder

Have you thought about your holiday table setting yet?  Do you enjoy coastal decor?

Decorating with Seashells May Have Double Benefits!

While these seashell place card holders are beautiful, where you place them can also harness the energy of the shells. For instance:

Strengthening Bonds: Want to feel closer to your partner? Try putting seashells in the south-west corner of your bedroom.

Safeguard Your Space: For good vibes, simply place some seashells on your window ledge.

Attracting Luck: A basket of seashells can be your lucky charm!

Boosting Your Career: A decorated tabletop with shell place card holders might just be the career boost you need.

Enhancing Learning: For kids, placing seashells in the northeast part of the living room can amplify their educational energies.

Increasing Wealth: Add seashells to a water fountain. As the water flows, imagine it as prosperity flowing into your life.

Harmonizing Family Relationships: A display of seashells in your kitchen can weave harmony within the family.

Deepening Relationships: Try popping your loved one’s photo in a beachy place card holder. It’s a simple, sweet way to keep them close to your heart.

A beautiful coastal place setting with white dishes and a seashell place card holder with a pheasant feather.
Coastal Place Setting

Quick Cleaning Hack for Shells:

Unless your seashells have been bleached outside in the sun for a long time, you may need to clean freshly collected ones. Here are some options for cleaning your sea shells.

1. Using hydrogen peroxide and water:

  • Brush off the sand from your shells.
  • Rinse them in water.
  • Fill a bucket or container with a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water (10:1 ratio).
  • Immerse the shells completely.
  • Let them soak overnight and the beachy odor should dissipate.

2. Eco-friendly method using vinegar:

  • Pour vinegar into a bowl.
  • Dip a soft toothbrush into the vinegar and scrub the shell gently.
  • Wash with soap and water.

Note: Avoid soaking shells in vinegar; it can dissolve them.

3. Use a bleach solution for a stronger cleaning method and a bleached appearance:

  • Immerse shells in a 50/50 bleach-water solution.
  • Remove once the outer covering is gone.

Caution: Prolonged soaking can affect shell color.

Or, muriatic acid method:

  • Use glass jars and plastic tongs.
  • In a jar, mix water and muriatic acid (3:1).
  • Dip each shell for 3-4 seconds, then rinse in plain water.

Safety First: Ensure no acid splashes onto your skin. Wear gloves and eye protection.

4. Other Tricks:

From boiling to even dishwashing, there are countless methods out there. If you’ve stumbled upon a unique cleaning hack, share it in the comments below!

Final Thoughts!

Imagine, every time you’ve vacationed at the beach, you might’ve collected some seashells. Little did you know that these simple sea treasures could bring about a world of positivity in your life! Using them as beach place card holders not only adds aesthetic appeal but also brings good vibes.

Using shells, coral, and other beach finds in your room decor and design is a sure way to add neutral tones and beautiful textures that are versatile for any style. Also, smooth seashells are believed to have their own unique charm in Feng Shui!

Even though I used my shell place card holders for a coastal Thanksgiving table they are great for summer decor and year-round! Check out these other summer decorating ideas.

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