Seashell "Fortune Cookie" Beach Craft

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While at the beach, is there anything more fun than scouring the sandy landscape for the perfect shells? I think not!  After a visit to see their cousins, our girls came home with a jar full of beautiful shells. 

To me, they looked like a fortune cookie, with a perfect nook to hold a piece of paper.  So away we went, transforming ordinary ocean seashells into a treasured gift with a pop of color.  And what did we put inside?  A bit of inspiration--words spoken from artists and literary giants alike.

First of all, scrub your shell well with soap and water.  Then pat dry.  We let ours dry in the sun.

Then, take some acrylic paint and cover the entire top of the shell. When dry, turn over and paint the underside.  Make sure to get a small brush to paint the inside of the shell,as far as the eye can see.  Bright colors look wonderful, and give the shell a whimsical look.  You could also paint them a softer, more watery color and let the color of the natural shell bleed through. 

Then, type or write up a saying or message on a strip of paper, fold in half, and tuck into shell opening.

These make a great gift idea.  What a wonderful gesture to give to your child's teacher, by your child, on the first or last day of classes.  The shell can carry a message gratitude.  Or maybe a poem written by your child.  It could also carry one of the following quotes, meant to inspire and say "thanks".

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well” 
                --Alexander the Great

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
                --Benjamin Franklin

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
                 --Ray Bradbury

Our girls sold these quirky little shells at a local shop up the street.  If you are ever in the Boise area you must (MUST!) go visit the Soda Works and Beewise shops.  Both owned and operated by the same local family of artists--and whose arms are open to help young artists stretch their entrepreneurial wings. 

You can read about the history of the fortune cookie, here.  (and here's a hint...it does not originate from China as we have been led to believe!) Hmmm...do I detect an idea for a research topic?