DIY Series: Beach Watercolor Painting

Welcome back to another post in my DIY series. With Christmas coming up, I have been struggling with trying to come up with a Christmas gift for my nieces. They had recently moved across the country and have repeatedly told me they miss the ocean and the beach. So I sifted Pinterest in search of something I could make them that would remind them of their love for the beach.

I came across a pin that showed a painted beach on canvas. I am not a painter by any means, but this project is so simple and easy to do and you can definitely be as creative as you want with it. I happened to have shells they had left behind so I decided to use that to cover the beach part.

I also managed to do a twist on this by using watercolor paints. The fun aspect to watercolor is that it never turns out the same the second time around.

Life With Michele Renee - DIY Beach Water Color

What You Need:

  • Any size canvas

  • Acrylic, or watercolor paints (preferably blue, green, white, and a light brown)

  • Acrylic or watercolor paint brushes (you can find them cheap on Amazon)

  • A cup of water to wash out the paint after each use.

  • A paper towel

  • A paint palette

  • Seashells for the beach (can be found at a local beach, or Michael’s)

  • Hot glue gun, and glue sticks

What To Do:

I started out by gathering all the materials I needed. I had my picture next to me as a reference and poured my paints out. I never really practiced with watercolor before so I watched a tutorial before I started to get acquainted with the overall techniques.

Once I got the gist of where I was going with the painting process, I mapped out the light and dark areas on my canvas with a light pencil. This helped serve as my guideline in where I needed to use my blue, green and light brown paint.


Figuring out the right colors to work with was probably the hardest part of the process. I had light blue and dark blue to work with, and two shades of green. I had to create a blend with all four in order to get the exact shade of ocean I wanted.

Then I moved up towards the sky area. I started with the lightest blue at the top and then blended in the darker blue and finally added a little bit of green once I hit the ocean area.

In order to add clouds and the points where the light hits the ocean, I added white before my paint dried. Adding the white was extremely difficult because if the paint was too wet, it blended in and washed out the white foam/cloud effect.

If the paint was already dried then the white looked like a massive out of place glob.


For the beach I mixed my light brown paint and white. I painted it in the bottom area of my canvas. To create the sand effect, I used an extra paper towel piece to blot the canvas and pick up a little of the paint.

I had found this technique in the tutorial I viewed earlier, but I am sure you could use another technique to achieve the same results.

It took me about 3-4 hours to get the painting to the point where I was satisfied with it. I let it dry for about 45 minutes to an hour before I plugged in my hot glue gun. Since my seashells had been gathered by my nieces at a local beach, I washed them using hot water and dish soap while the paint was drying on the canvas.

After they were dry, I picked out various shapes and types of seashells to give it a unique look for the beach portion of the canvas. They did not lay completely flat, so I had to pick edges that had the most surface area to put the glue on.

This part of the process took about 20 minutes. I let the canvas sit for another hour so it could completely dry.


I loved this easy DIY project because there are so many different ways to create a beach effect, and I could have used different shades to create a lighter or darker looking ocean. There are endless possibilities! If I didn’t create this as a Christmas gift for my nieces, then I would have used this to hang on my own wall as unique decor.

Be sure to try this DIY out to create a nautical theme to your walls! 


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