DIY Sailors Valentine Keepsake Boxes & Hearts

Use your Collection of Seashells to create a one of a kind DIY Sailors Valentine.

Antique Sailors Valentine Collectible 19th Century

Sailor's Valentines were late 19th century shell decorated keepsake boxes given by sailors to their loved ones when they returned from the sea. It is said that the shell boxes were sold to sailors who visited the West Indies such as the Caribbean island of Barbados. Today, antique sailors' valentines are collectibles, valued for their beauty and unusual qualities and sell in the thousands. 

Sailors Valentines can be intricate mosaics with elaborate compositions and patterns as you most often see, but they can be simple too, looking just as gorgeous. The design will depend on your taste and seashell collection.

diy sailors valentine box

traditional octagon box sailor valentine
Traditional Sailors Valentines call for an octagonal box (like those encasing a ship's compass), and the secret to a lovely design are repetition and symmetry, says Julie Finn who is sharing this project on Crafting a Green World.

shell heart valentine
Here a modern interpretation of a DIY Sailors Valentine, created with a wooden plaque by Twelve 22. Shells were collected from the beach on Sanibel Island, and glued on using model cement.

be my valentine shell heart
Another heart shaped plaque design, seen here.

Antique 19th Century Sailors Valentine Shell Mosaic Octagonal Box
Decorative shell work was at its height in the 1820's and sailors snapped up boxes from exotic islands for loved ones back home, hence the name. Antique Sailors Valentines date back to the 1850's. Originals are rare (and very expensive), and most are held in public and private collections. Via Country Living.

sailors valentines as wall art
Decorating ideas for Sailors Valentines. Eye-catching wall decor, featured here.

decorating with sailors valentines
Imagine, all your beach memories as decorative boxes. So make sure to collect all those tiny shells. Room by Phoebe Howard. Christie Brinkley has a few displayed in her kitchen, check them out here.