One of my aim with my preschooler is to work on colour knowledge, both the recognition of colours as well as colour theory/science. After the success of my eggshell dyeing before Easter I decided to combine some colour science and some dyeing again but this time with some seashells.
Working on naming the primary colours as well as colour mixing we used the dyeing of the seashells to investigate this at home with some simple science and crafty fun.
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Materials needed for How to dye seashells
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Food Colouring in Primary colours and black
Shells collected from beach trip recently
Small Glass Bowls
How to dye Seashells with colour theory
A search for how to dye sea shells brought up this post about it from The Educators’ Spin On It using Easter Egg Dyeing Kits, which we don’t have in the UK but with knowledge of seashells being made from calcium and chemical reactions with acids I put together some vinegar and water mix which would react slightly with the shells but not erode them completely and allow the food colouring to be absorbed into the shells.
With 7 small glass bowls we mixed in some water and vinegar (around a 1:4 mix is what worked the best) and added black food dye to one bowl then in 3 other bowls added the 3 primary colours – a red, a blue and a yellow. They were easiest to stir with a toothpick.
The 3 primary colours were quickly identified and then we moved onto colour mixing to discover new colours – pouring in a tiny amount of each colour T mixed them together – as they blended we took time to discuss the 3 colours (with slow stirring with the toothpick we were able to see all 3 colours at once).
With all of the colours made – black, red, blue, yellow, orange, green and purple we then added 6 shells to each pot and T stirred them in the mixes with a tooth pick.
Leaving the shells in the bowls for 10 minutes whilst we went off and cleaned up a bit (dyeing shells gets quite messy especially when using food colourings). We then removed them and laid them out on a paper towel to dry.
The shells have produced a really pretty pastel effect on them – we also tried dyeing with the same method we used for the egg shells and the red produced a deep colour but all of the other colours we still pastel coloured.
Looking for Ways to Use These Pretty Dyed Seashells
Decorate your home with Shells inspired by ideas within Shell Chic: The Ultimate Guide to Decorating your Home with Sea Shells.
Be inspired by the crafts for you and your children to do together in Best of Seashells Projects for Adults and Kids.
Inspired by the seashells and love the coastal look check out the ideas within Coastal Crafts.
Seashells Decor for your Home
Fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas this shell and Driftwood fairy lights would be perfect for summer evenings when you entertain outside.
Add some coastal scents to your home with this Mermaid Lagoon Soy Candle.
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