6 Fun Needlepoint Patterns for Seashells & Sea Creatures

6 simple seashore needlepoint designs to work for summer fun

206sand dollar seashell needlepoint pattern
Day 206-Sand Dollar Seashell Needlepoint Pattern. Althea DeBrule-Licensed to About.com

Stitch a collection of summer seashells and sea creatures with these six free needlepoint patterns. Work a sand dollar, clam shell, seahorse, jellyfish, starfish and conch seashell with easy-to-stitch designs and instructions. All six needlepoint projects are great ways to save money for other summertime fun by using up leftover yarns, canvas remnants, and embellishments.​

Get tips for using decorative and novelty threads and fibers, working with different mesh sizes of needlepoint canvas as well...MORE as selecting needlepoint stitches that complement each seashell design. The possibilities are endless for working each design in unique ways.

  • 01 of 06

    Needlepoint a Classic Conch Seashell

    Ever listen to the ocean by putting a conch seashell up to your ear? Although this simple seashell needlepoint design can’t be used to hear the sea, it is a fun way to remember the delights and sounds that can be enjoyed at the sandy seashore!

    When working this design, choose needlepoint stitches that will make the conch seashell come alive. For example, you may want to group stitches in certain areas of the design for more interesting texture like those in the Gobelin Stitch family, Mosaic...MORE StitchesBargello or Long Stitch patterns or other combinations.

    Add a simple needlepoint border around the entire design to really make it stand out.

    A Quick Color Tip

    For color selection, simply match the assortment of colors in the needlepoint chart with what you have on hand; or use the needlepoint project as a chance to purchase more vibrant summer colors.

    Don’t be afraid of using bold colors. Although you should always choose colors that you like, you will need to watch out for yellow or gold shades when working this project, as the wrong choices may cause your needlepoint to appear washed-out and uninteresting--depending on the lighting.

  • 02 of 06

    Stitch a Sea Urchin Needlepoint Seashell

    206sand dollar seashell needlepoint pattern
    Day 206-Sand Dollar Seashell Needlepoint Pattern. Althea DeBrule-Licensed to About.com

    Commonly known as the sand dollar, this fun project is a needlepoint rendition of the seashell that’s left behind once the living sea urchin is gone. It only takes a few hours to make the entire needlepoint project—from mounting the canvas to finishing the background.

    The completed needlepoint makes a great framed seashore-themed accent for your wall. You can make the frame yourself from pieces of driftwood or use a purchased frame that complements the finished needlepoint and matches your summer...MORE decor.

    The finished sand dollar would be just as appealing if you decided to make it into a mini needlepoint pillow, beverage coaster, or keepsake box top. For the box top, purchase an unstained wooden box with a place to insert a piece of needlework. These can usually be found in a typical craft store.

    A Quick Finishing Tip

    Stitch the sand dollar design only and work 2 to 3 extra tent stitch rows around the completed needlepoint. Cut away excess canvas and use the shaped needlepoint as a template to make a fabric backing.

    Sew the pieces with right sides together, leaving a few inches for turning inside out. Stuff with fiberfill. Place the stuffed sand dollar in a small box filled with real sand, marbles, and seashells for a fantastic beach display!


  • 03 of 06

    Work a Herd of Adorable Needlepoint Seahorses

    The seahorse is actually a tiny fish that has a face that resembles a horse. This small marine animal makes a fun needlepoint project because it works up quite quickly. You can complete at least a couple of seahorses in a spare evening with all those leftover needlepoint supplies from larger completed projects.

    You’ll want to experiment with some subtle thread blending when working the seahorse design. To do this well, you should use stranded threads in two or more colors that are dark, medium...MORE and light. Here's how it works:

    1. Begin working with two strands of the first color and one strand of the second color in the tapestry needle.
    2. Then work with two strands of the second color and one strand of the first color.
    3. Next, work with three strands of the second color, and continue to work in only one color until you are ready to start blending other colors. Repeat steps #1 and #2 to continue the blending process.

    A Quick Canvas Prep Tip

    As soon as you cut the blank canvas to prepare for mounting, make sure to bind or sew the edges to keep it from unraveling. Do this BEFORE transferring the seahorse design, or the canvas mesh can get distorted as the canvas is handled.

    Use masking tape or turn the canvas under about one-quarter inch and machine-sew with a zigzag setting.

  • 04 of 06

    Stitch Upon a Sea Star With This Starfish Needlepoint Chart

    If you are new to needlepoint, you will find this pattern quite easy to transfer and stitch. The small starfish has only one motif with a simple outline and few details. It should be stitched first.

    If desired, the background area around the starfish can be expanded to enlarge the needlepoint project. Start working the background from the outer edges in toward the previously stitched starfish.

    The canvas you select, the stitches you plan to use, as well as what you plan to do with the finished...MORE needlework, will determine the kind of thread needed for this simple sea creature. If you want the needlepoint starfish to look realistic, you can use any specialty or novelty thread that will achieve this desired effect.

    Let the needlepoint stitches themselves create texture and impact you need. For example, consider working the entire starfish design motif first in Continental or Basketweave tent stitches; and then accent these stitches with surface embroidery or tiny bead embellishments for unusual effects.

    A Tip for Experienced Stitchers

    Be creative and work an abstract starfish needlepoint design by using leather or fabric appliques cut in the shape of the starfish in combination with basic or decorative needlepoint stitches.

    A variety of threads may be needed to achieve different effects in the starfish design, but the ultimate choice of which type to use on any specific area of the design is a personal one.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Let Your Creativity Shine While Working This Needlepoint Jellyfish

    A frame or stretcher bars can be very useful when working this needlepoint project as you’ll want both hands free to make specialty needlepoint stitches, and the canvas to remain as taut as possible to create stunning effects with threads and stitch techniques.

    A do-it-yourself needle pointer who is comfortable working with a chart can easily complete this project in one evening or less. The easy needlepoint design can be worked in the colors shown on the chart, or it can be stitched quite...MORE differently from the way it is shown in the full-color pattern.

    If you want to make up a new color scheme of your own or try different stitches, test them in the margins of the canvas BEFORE you start stitching the final needlepoint project.

    A Creative Tip

    Stitch the body of the jellyfish in your favorite needlepoint stitches; and then stitch the entire background, working over the tentacles. You may wish to trace the design or draw it freehand first onto the canvas, and then interpret the design as you desire.

    Next, randomly couch an assortment of different textured novelty threads like ribbon, metallic, and even a few strands of odd-looking fine weight knitting yarns on top of the worked background for the tentacles. This will add texture and interest.

  • 06 of 06

    Make a Needlepoint Clam Seashell in Spare Moments

    Too busy to stitch a large project? Work this quick basic clam shell needlepoint pattern in your spare time. The finished needlepoint is ideal for decorating a beach house, houseboat or yacht.

    The single clam shell pattern can be expanded for a large needlepoint throw pillow by working four small clam shells--each in a different color as well as with a combination of different stitch techniques.

    The needlepoint design looks fantastic when worked in pale shades of gray, yellow, cream and white Persi...MOREan Yarn or wool-silk blend fibers. You can also use metallic threads for the ridges in the shell and for a backstitch outline around the completed needlepoint clam shell.

    Try cotton embroidery floss for the background. This thread is readily available in most department, craft, and specialty stores.To make sure the stranded cotton covers the canvas, always test it by working a few sample stitches. Depending on the mesh size of the canvas and stitch technique you use, you'll need to work with six or more strands in the needle. Make sure to use a laying tool to stroke and place the strands side-by-side. 

    You can either stitch the design entirely with Half Cross or Continental tent stitches; or work a scallop Bargello needlepoint pattern following the outline and contour of the shell. The background can be done in any number of decorative stitches or in simple Basketweave Tent.

    A Few Needlepoint Project Ideas

    • Work a one-inch needlepoint border around the whole design for a natural frame and to draw attention to the clam shell motif.
    • If you are an experienced needle pointer,  try designing a more elaborate border with smaller clam shells or other sea creatures. Use Penelope canvas to work petit point strips of smaller versions of the clam shell in the corners or alternate them through the entire border. Attach the finished border to the main canvas.
    • Stitch the clam shell directly onto a beach towel or tote bag with waste canvas.
    • Use your own ideas and combine them with the ones suggested here.