Animal Crossing: New Horizons Summer Shell guide — How to find shells and craft recipes

Animal Crossing shell door
Animal Crossing shell door (Image credit: iMore)

It's summertime! Or, it can be, depending on where you are in the world, and if you're playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons with or without time traveling. Any day can be a hot summer's day if you calibrate your clock just right, and summertime in Animal Crossing means Summer Shells — a rare seasonal crafting item you'll need to get a handful of special summertime recipes.

Summer Shells and the recipes you make with them can be a pain to get your hands on, though, especially if you're not actively looking for them. So if you're halfway through the summer months in-game and have never heard of these shells, or just want to be more efficient about finding them, here's how to find Summer Shells and all the recipes you can make with them in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Animal Crossing Summer Shells

Animal Crossing Summer Shells (Image credit: iMore)

What are Summer Shells?

Summer Shells are a special crafting item in Animal Crossing: New Horizons that are exclusive to the summer months -- June, July, and August in the Northern Hemisphere, and December, January, and February in the Southern Hemisphere. You cannot find them outside of these months unless you travel to another person's island that is within that time, or time travel your own game to that period.

Summer Shells are a bit rare, but they're also necessary to craft a handful of summer-exclusive crafting recipes you can only find while Summer Shells are available. If you like beach-themed wallpaper and floors or just want to collect everything available, you'll want to grab as many Summer Shells as you can.

How do you find Summer Shells?

Summer Shells are dark blue shells that will wash up on your island's beaches from time to time. They look similar to the lavender-colored conch shells you usually see but are distinctly blue. If you're unsure, standing next to a shell will cause its name to appear in a box above the item. It should say Summer Shell if it's what you're after.

Summer Shells are fairly rare, and you're not guaranteed them. The best way to find them is to walk all along your island's beaches at least once per day to see if any have spawned. If you want to farm them, you can collect all the shells from the shoreline and sell them or store them, then do more laps around the beach to try and get more shells to spawn.

You can also find them occasionally on Island Tours, just like other shells, right on the shoreline. If you're doing Island Tours, make sure you check all the beaches for Summer Shells before you leave.

If you're struggling to find these shells, don't worry too much. You'll need a total of 30 shells to make every Summer Shell DIY one time, and these DIYs can also be incredibly hard to come by if you're not aggressively farming for them.

Animal Crossing shell recipes

Animal Crossing shell recipes (Image credit: iMore)

What can you make with Summer Shells?

The following recipes use Summer Shells:

  • Underwater Flooring (3 Summer Shells, 3 Coral)
  • Underwater Wall (3 Summer Shells, 5 Coral)
  • Starry-Sands Flooring (3 Summer Shells, 1 Sandy-Beach Flooring)
  • Tropical Vista (5 Summer Shells)
  • Water Flooring (6 Summer Shells)
  • Shell Wreath (1 Summer Shell, 1 Sea Snail, 1 Sand Dollar, 1 Coral, 1 Giant Clam, 1 Cowrie)
  • Shellfish Pochette (6 Summer Shells, 2 Giant Clams)
  • Shell Wand (3 Summer Shells, 3 Star Fragments)

Summer Shells are not used in the Mermaid furniture you get in Pascal or any other non-seasonal recipes. However, if you're decorating, they look great if you combine them with the Mermaid furniture or with the normal shell recipes you can get any time of the year, so keep that in mind if you're looking for furniture pairings to go with the walls and floors listed above.

Also note that one of the recipes, the Starry-Sands Flooring, requires a Sandy-Beach Flooring -- another craftable flooring that you can get year-round. It's made of regular shells, no Summer Shells needed.

How do you get more Summer Shell recipes?

The recipes listed above that use Summer Shells can be tough to come by. For one, you can only find them in the same months you can find Summer Shells — the summer months — so if you're outside that time frame, you're out of luck. And then, you're going to have to rely on a lot more luck to get them all.

At least once during the summer, Isabelle can come on during the daily announcements and give you one free Summer Shell recipe. This isn't guaranteed — and it took me until July to finally get her to give one, despite playing almost every day. But if you play regularly, this may eventually happen.

Other than that, you can obtain Summer Shell recipes very rarely from bottles washed up on the shore, and from shooting down balloons. Be aware that you can get duplicates this way, and these recipes will also be mixed in with regular recipes, so you're not guaranteed Summer Shell recipes just because it's summer.

You can get one bottle recipe washed up on your shore per day, plus a chance for if you travel to Island Tours. Balloons will spawn regularly, and while there's a chance to find a recipe in every color, red balloons are more likely to have recipes than others, so make sure you're shooting those down if you want recipes.

Finally, if you get duplicates, you can always trade with friends who might have the recipes you're missing.

Either way, you'll need a lot of luck and patience to collect them all!

Reb Valentine