How To Make Beach Pail Bookends

How to make beach pail bookends

I was so lucky when my daughter came back from being in Europe with the military I got to have she and my granddaughters stay with me for a marvelous nine weeks! I couldn’t wait, to have them stay with us. I really wanted everything to be perfect for their lengthy visit. Those sweet little girls needed to have a room that was welcoming and decorated to the nines.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Beach pail bookends

Our new home is a low country coastal style home and I wanted to keep some of that style carrying through on the interior. Of course I didn’t want it to look like a seafood restaurant! One of the things I love about decorating children’s rooms is that they can be a little more themed and a little more fun. I found this great bookshelf online and wanted to add a little library for bedtime stories for the girls. Bookends were needed!

I love these adorable little pails that looks like they were just carried home from the beach, full of sand and seashells.  The best part is that I only had to spend $5 to make both of them.  Truth be told, I did have the sand and the shells, but it probably wouldn’t cost too much more than that if you needed to buy those items.  If you are headed to the beach this summer, this is a great craft to do with those shells you bring home!

Cute Coastal Bookend DIY

You can see a little more detail in the photo above.  Not to worry, that sand and those shells aren’t going anywhere, even if they get knocked over.  So, how did I do it?

Red and Blue Pails from the Target Dollar Stop

I began with a pair of those cute little pails that you can almost always find in the dollar spot at Target or your local Dollar Tree.  I am decorating the nursery with a nautical theme, so red and blue were perfect.  

Supplies for making sand pail bookends

Materials List:

Two small pails
Art Plaster
Styrofoam Eggs (balls could be used)
Craft Glue

Mixing Plaster of Paris

I mixed up the Art Plaster per the instructions on the box.   I didn’t use more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the box.  It is a great product that you can also shape and use with molds should you choose.  

Setting up plaster in sand pails

I filled each pail about 2/3 full with the plaster.  For the product I used, it was 2 cups of dry plaster to 1 cup of water for each pail.

Cutting styrofoam eggs

I took a pail to JoAnn’s with me and found that all of the styrofoam balls were too large or too small for what I wanted, so a pair of styrofoam eggs did the trick.  I cut them in half and used the more rounded end to top each of my pails.

Coat each styrofoam piece with craft glue

Each piece of styrofoam was coated with a thick layer of craft glue, and quite a bit got on my fingers, too.

Coating the styrofoam with sand

I rolled the glue-coated styrofoam in the sand.  My sand was a little gravel-like, which may have helped it to adhere better than really fine sand would.  I didn’t coat the bottom (flat) side of the styrofoam as I want it to stick securely to the plaster.

Sandy snowballs

Here are my little sandy “snowballs”.  They turned out perfect the first time!  

Making beach pail bookends

I added a generous amount of craft glue to the hardened plaster and set my sand firmly on top.  

Beach pail sandy bookends

Now time for the fun part!  I sorted through my shells and began to glue them with hot glue to the little sand “snowballs”.  

Beachy Sand Pail DIY Bookends

I wanted the buckets to look like a pail of sand with some shells on it, so I didn’t put the shells so thick that you couldn’t still see the sand.

Seashell Pail bookends for a Coastal home

Here is a closeup showing the ratio of shells to sand a little better (along with some of the glue strings I hadn’t cleaned off yet).

DIY Beach Pail Bookend Craft

Here are the pails up on the shelf holding those books.  These pails are heavy enough to hold these children’s books upright with no trouble.  

Make these beach pail seashell bucket bookends

I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out. The entire nursery came together exactly as I had imagined. Isn’t it great when a room in your mind becomes a room in real life? Times have changed, these little babies aren’t little babies any longer, but I will always be proud of how this sweet little nursery turned out. You can see the rest of the details at Decorating a Nautical Nursery.

Shop My Coastal Home Favorites

Click on any photo to shop that item

Similar Posts


  1. I love these! What a fun idea. I’m sure your granddaughters will love them. I may have to copy your idea whenever I have a home on the beach 🙂 Great idea to glue the shells that way you don’t have to worry about your granddaughters playing in the sand and shells. I noticed you have some of the Sandra Boynton books. My kids loved her books!

    1. Thanks Tim! I can’t wait to share the whole room with you. You can go a little over the top with a theme in a kid’s room, and this one was so much fun to put together!

  2. This is so cute Chloe and I love the step by step photos. My wheels are turning now for all kinds of beach theme crafts. Thanks for sharing!

  3. how adorable Chloe, love these! You are going to be busy busy! I’m sorry I’ve missed your party lately, the new time is throwing me off, I’ll try to remember tonight!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Jenna! I sent you a direct email about the party! I hope you join us again soon! You are right about the busy, busy part, those two little girls are very busy!

  4. Wow Chloe is beautiful I have a show box full shell I collect them I go beach lol I put some as a pic frame inside to bathroom and around candle hehe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *