Make a Self-Portrait with Seashells and Model Magic in this creative Seashell Self-Portrait Art Project for kids.
A day at the beach can ignite our imagination and spark curiosity about the world around us! Whether it’s building enchanted castles in the sand, riding the tallest waves we’ve ever seen or gazing at the horizon and imagining the world on the other side. The beach is the ideal setting for our imaginations to run wild!
Today we’ll incorporate the magic of the beach with a unique creative play portrait craft using seashells and other beach finds along with Model Magic. We’ll begin by collecting an array of natural items found on the beach such as shells, driftwood, pebbles, sand and even seaweed. These items, when combined with the Model Magic, will form fantastic and fanciful faces! The portrait possibilities are endless and each one will be unique and one of a kind! So let’s gather up the kids, take a walk on the beach and see what we find!
Seashell Self-Portrait Art Project
Get a full week of summer learning! Try our beach theme, shell theme, or ocean theme lesson plans.
Supplies for Shell Portraits:
- Other natural found objects on the beach
- Crayola Model Magic or Air Dry Clay
- Mirror (optional)
Found Objects in Artwork:
Using non-traditional art materials can be a creative and freeing process, especially when making portraits.
The notion of what a face should look like or must look like is erased. Seashells become eyes, a small piece of driftwood turns into a nose, and seaweed transforms into flowing hair. The rules are pushed aside and your imagination can take over!
It’s a process that builds problem solving skills and self-esteem while promoting artistic freedom.
Step By Step Directions for Seashell Portrait Art Project:
Step 1: Search & Find
Begin by collecting natural objects from the beach. Keep in mind that broken shells can also be used for this craft. The gathering process can be as short or as long as desired and aids in fine motor skill development. It’s a wonderful way to explore the world around us, get some exercise, and use non-traditional items as art materials. This saves you a trip to the craft store and also creates a sense of wonder and discovery.
Step 2: Clay Building
Form a ball with a small amount of Model Magic and then flatten it to form an oval. This will be the face of your portrait.
Step 3: Let’s Get Sandy
Dip the clay disc into the sand so that the entire surface is covered.
Step 4: Build a Face
Begin by searching and sorting through your bucket of found items from the beach. It may be helpful to sort items by shape and/or color. Find two pieces to represent the eyes and gently push them into the clay. A longer shell or piece of wood may work nicely for the nose. Add the remaining portrait details such as ears, eyebrows, a mouth, and hair. Over the next few days the clay will dry and the items will be secured into place.
Have your child create a self-portrait. As an elementary art teacher I’ve found that my students often love to create self-portraits, but may feel apprehensive or nervous when realism is the focus.
Using found objects to create an abstract self-portrait can help remove common fears and self-doubt. It gives your child total freedom to create him or herself as they wish to be seen. The process is playful, relaxed, and oftentimes quite comical. Using some green seaweed to represent hair is perfectly fine! If your child wants to reproduce their hair or eye color simply use a small handheld mirror for a quick comparison.
Talk About Art:
What found objects did you enjoy using the most? The least? Why?
Give your portrait a name. Who is he or she?
If we used found objects from the house, rather than the beach, how would your portrait look different?
What different textures did you feel while creating the portrait? What specific items were hard, soft, smooth, bumpy, or rough?
I hope you enjoy these playful and quirky portraits! They are certain to evoke laughter and unexpected conversations while also promoting creativity and originality.
CONNECT WITH VIN GIANNETTO
Learn more about Vin here on his author bio page. Follow along with him on Facebook at Young School Art with Mr. Giannetto and on Instagram @youngschoolartwithmr.g for art project ideas.
Fun Summer Art Projects for Kids
Click on the images below to see the full tutorial for each art project.
Get a Full Week of Beach Theme Learning and Play
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
1) Beach 5 Senses Recording Sheet
2) Initial Sound Clip Cards
3) Seashell and Bucket Rhyming Game (-en, -at, -et, and -ug word families)
4) Seashore Counting Mats for Numbers 1-15
5) At the Beach Emergent Reader (2 Versions)
6) 1-35 Beach Theme Calendar and Number Cards
7) Beach Pattern and Counting Seashell Cards
8) Sand Castle Shape Matching Game
9) Uppercase and Lowercase Alphabet Matching Flip Flop Cards
Get Your Lesson Plans
Home Preschool Beach Theme Lesson Plans
Preschool Classroom Beach Theme Lesson Plans
Find more inspiration in our ocean theme.
Shaunna… I just want to express my gratitude for your wonderful ideas. Thank You.
You are so welcome! I am so glad I am able to share useful ideas that kids love.