Have you ever seen the shell stitch on an Afghan perhaps hanging on the back of your grandmother’s couch? Have you ever wondered how they did that? You’re in the right place if you’ve ever had that thought. In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll guide you through the process of creating the perfect shell stitch.

Even if you’re a beginning crocheter, the shell stitch will be your favorite stitch to create beautiful afghans for display, just like granny’s! So, grab your preferred mm hook and some yarn, and let’s get started!

Blue and orange swatch of crochet shell stitches.
Let’s learn about the beautiful shell stitch!

Shell stitches are a great way to turn out beautiful scarves, sweaters, and blankets. This stitch creates a gorgeous scalloped texture that looks more intricate when using different colors, thus making it perfect as a border of a baby blanket. If you’d like to try your hand at stitching other decorative gathered stitches, I’ll share some tutorials at the end of this post. 

Now, let’s get started with our photo tutorial for creating the beautiful shell stitch, starting with our foundation chain.

Blue colored yarn crochet in a shell stitch pattern.
The shell stitch will certainly test your crochet stitch knowledge!

How To Make a Shell Crochet Stitch: Step-By-Step

Materials Needed:

-Crochet hook (Here’s a guide to pick the right hook size or mm crochet hook here)

-Yarn (choose your favorite color and worsted weight yarn based on what you want to create)

-Scissors to snip your yarn when finished

-Darning needle to finish off your ends


Step 1: Foundation Chain

The shell stitch needs a multiple of 6 + 2 length foundation row. The number of stitches I used for this sample was 20 chain stitches. To begin, insert your hook into a slip stitch(sl st) to crochet a starting chain. If you need help understanding how to create a foundation chain start here.

Blue colored yarn crochet in a shell stitch pattern.
Learning how to make this easy shell stitch is easier than you think.

Step 2: Row 1 Shell Stitch

For your first sc, insert the hook into the second chain(2nd chain) from the hook and do a single crochet(will be further labeled as sc. Get the single crochet stitches instructions here.) *Skip the next 2 chs, then place 5 double crochet stitches in the next ch. Skipping the next 2 sts work a sc in the following stitch. Repeat this pattern from the * until you reach the end of the row. The pattern should conclude with a sc in the last stitch. Ch 3 and turn.

Blue colored yarn crochet in a shell stitch pattern.
Don’t you just love the shell crochet stitch?

Step 3: Row 2 Half Shell and Shell Stitches

After turning your work, continue your first half shell in the first stitch. The turning ch of 3 counts as the first dc in the 3 dc half shell and throughout the pattern. Skip two sts and sc in the next stitch, this sc should be worked in the center dc of the shell from the previous row.

Blue colored yarn crochet in a shell stitch pattern.
It feels great to learn a new stitch!

Step 4: Finishing Row 2 Half Shell and Shell Stitches

Skip 2 sts and place 5 dcs in the next sc, which should be located between the shells of the previous row. Continue this stitch pattern until you reach the last three sts. Skip two sts and crochet 3 dcs in the last sc creating another half shell. The half shells are worked to create straight clean edges. Ch 1 and turn (does not count as a stitch here nor in future rows).

Blue colored yarn crochet in a shell stitch pattern.
The shell stitch is a gorgeous crochet stitch!

Step 5: Row 3 Shell Stitch Continued

Row 3 is practically a duplicate of row 1 and starts with a sc in the first st. *Skip the next two stitches and place 5 dcs into the next stitch, continuing on by skipping the next two stitches and sc in the next dc(should be the center of the shell stitch from the previous row). Repeat from the * with the final stitch of the row ending with a sc into the top of the turning chain from row 2. Ch 3 and turn.

Blue colored yarn crochet in a shell stitch pattern.
Shell stitches not only have a nice texture, but they’re fun to create too!

Step 6: Row 4 and Onward

Repeat row 2 and row 3 sequentially until you reach the desired length for your project.

Blue colored yarn crochet in a shell stitch pattern.
Finishing the shell stitch provides such confidence in your crochet ability.

Knowing a crochet stitch like the shell stitch will make you look like you have completed an extremely advanced project. When you’re done with this project experiment with different techniques, colors, and stitch patterns, or even chunky yarn with a large hook to create your own unique finished products. 

Note: Keep in mind that while we’ve described the single crochet stitch in US terms, the equivalent in UK terms is half treble crochet stitch. Likewise a double crochet in US terms is a treble crochet in UK terms.

This post contains affiliate links.

My Favorite Crochet Tools

  • If you are like me and like to crochet on the go, this tote is a stylish way to keep everything you need at your fingertips!
  • My MOST FAVORITE tool is these portable scissors that always make it through security and fit perfectly in my hook case.
  • A️ yarn bowl is a beautiful way to wrangle yarn while crocheting
  • Keep organized with this crochet hooks kit with a case. This 85-piece kit has over 2,500  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ five-star reviews.
  • Crochet Stitch Dictionary: 200 Essential Stitches with Step-by-Step Photos is the most handy resource!

Easy Crochet Projects For You:

Tips and Basic Crochet Stitch Tutorials:

I would love to keep you fully stocked with creative ideas, yummy recipes, fun crafts, and loads of free printables. Subscribe to Skip to my Lou to get new ideas delivered to your inbox. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram for all my latest updates. Happy crocheting!

About Cindy Hopper

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