Painted Snails

This idea was inspired by the work of London street artist Slinkachu. Slinkachu finds snails roaming the streets of London, adds a little non-toxic paint to their shells, and returns them to their urban habitats unharmed and fully decorated. It’s all part of his rather humorous Inner City Snail Project where he pokes fun at the idea of “society’s relentless desire to appropriate every available inch of the cityscape for advertising, signage and even illegal graffiti.”

I’m not fond of snails because, well, they’re so slimy. And while I did eat them as a child, I’m working hard on trying to repress that memory. That means painting on a real, live snail is never going to happen. Children, however, are a fearless, inquisitive bunch. So if you happen to have some non-toxic paint and a few available snails in your backyard, it would be the coolest thing to paint them and watch them go about their business. I’ll just stick to the vacant shells.

Have a look at these links to see some impressive painted snails:

Snail portraits by Jim Edwards

Inner City Snails by Slinkachu

International Tree of Snails

Despite their name, these “Painted Snails” from Cuba haven’t been painted on at all. They’re just naturally beautiful.


  • snail shells
  • acrylic or non-toxic paint
  • brushes
  • Crayola Model Magic or plasticine


1. Empty snail shells can be found at dollars stores, or outdoors. In Toronto, Dollerama had them. I would recommend acrylic paint in case you decide to display them outside. Other paints will wash away in the rain.

If you’re going to be painting on shells with live snails inside, make sure to use non-toxic paint, work quickly, and preferably close to where you found them so you don’t disturb them too much. And take plenty of photos before they disappear!

2. When applying the paint, you may want to start with some base colours using paint brushes and/or sponges. Once dry, you can add all sorts of details using finer brushes, or even some splattering with a toothbrush.

3. To make the slug that lives inside the shell, use plasticine or something like Crayola Model Magic. Have a look at images of snails in books or on the internet, so you know how to shape the body. Position them under the painted shells so they look like real snails. Of course, if you painted on the real deal you can skip this step.



Filed under animals/creatures, Art and Nature, painting

27 responses to “Painted Snails

  1. These are beautiful 🙂

  2. These are great,thanks for linking up to Creative Mondays 🙂

  3. This looks like the perfect project for my kids to do this summer. Thanks for sharing at Terrific Tuesdays.

  4. saynotsweetanne

    Ha! These are so cute! I could see them as a summer camp project- imagine all of the kids going home and telling their parents that they brought home a snail! You painted them beautifully too! I’d love it if you would link up to Sweet Sharing Monday:

  5. This is the cutest idea ever! My boys would probably not hesitate painting on a real snail, but I’m with you, I’ll stick to pretend ones 🙂 I’m definitely going to be doing this with my kiddos this summer!
    I’d like to invite you to my Get Creative party, and come link up this project and your others I’ve seen here on your blog!
    I’m pinning this one now to remember it for later 🙂

  6. These are absolutely beautiful. So much fun.

  7. Adorable…I might have to try this one out. Thanks for sharing this with us:)

  8. Gorgeous! I love how they turned out! I’d love for you to add it on my link party at: Thanks!

  9. Thank you for participating in Show Your Stuff Blog Hop, You are invited to come back:

  10. How beautiful!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday! I hope you are having a great week!

  11. These are adorable 🙂 I love this idea… I’m thinking pretty florally snails! I think this would stop a few people in their tracks!!!

  12. Love these – I would never paint on a live snail so this is a wonderful alternative. We have been studying snails and have done a few crafts with them that you may be interested in seeing.
    Thanks for this beautiful idea.

  13. These are lovely, what a fantastic Idea! Thanks for sharing.

  14. what an awesome idea – I think I will have a go at making the models – I don’t like real snails! You have however blown my mind with the fact that you can buy empty snail shells in dollar stores – that is just crazy! Do you think they are good sellers? lol xxx

  15. Pingback: Painted snails. So cute! |

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