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Shell Treasure Box How-To

Embellish some boxes with a mosaic of iridescent abalone chips. For others, attach single shells as knobs.

shell boxes

Photography: Gentl & Hyers

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2011


Resources: Pink sea urchin, 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches, and abalone chips, FolkArt acrylic paint, in Glazed Carrots and Steel Gray, Golden Fluid acrylic paint, in Titanium White, Round Mini Cheese box, 3 inches, and Round Chipwood boxes, 5 inches to 5 1⁄2 inches, Keepsake box,


  • Bristle brush

  • Acrylic paint in orange, gray, and white

  • Wooden box

  • Thin paintbrush

  • Clear-drying glue

  • Shells (for the knobs)

  • Abalone chips (for the mosaic boxes)


  1. Using bristle brush, apply colored paint to box, inside and out. Let dry.

  2. Paint over with 1 coat white paint for a chalky effect. Let dry.

  3. For a lid knob, use thin paintbrush to apply glue to a shell; press onto lid, and let dry.

  4. For the abalone mosaic, sort through chips to decide on a color palette. Working in small sections, apply glue with thin paintbrush, and press chips into place, mosaic-style.

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