Fun With Shells

I've spent so much time(five minutes already, golly gee whiz) trying to write something interesting to open this post, but I'm at a loss. It's a post I've been cultivating for a while and finally got around to writing up.

One of the biggest reasons I post DIYs is because of Pinterest. Frequently I find a gorgeous and creative idea on Pinterest, try it, and give a new name to "hot mess"- not really hot in the way of looks, more hot in the way of help my foot is stuck to my head with hot glue.

When I post a DIY, it's something I was able to do myself, without massive amounts of pain and frustration. I'm not really artistic in the means of crafting, so if I can do it, I have confidence that you can too.

With summer in full swing, I've collected a good amount of seashells such. There's so much you can do with shells, and I thought I would share a few of the crafts I've done because I'm really digging the whole tropical style thing. Just remember to make sure there's nobody living in the shells before you take them home, and wash them off before using them(I just rinse them in pool water, but if you feel the need to use soap, go right ahead).

Shell Necklace
Some shells will wash up on the beach with a hole in the top. How does this happen? In the words of Megurine Luka, "go Google it". Anyways, all you need to do now is get some thread or chain(you can find necklace chain in most craft stores) and thread it through.
I can't say I'm an authority. I honestly stole the idea from my sister, who can do amazing things with jewelry. It's not that hard, I'm certain we're not the first.

I love these photos, because it's like...
"Before the tan..."

"...After the tan."

Decorated Shell
You can do this with any size of seashell. Turn the shell over to its smooth inside(you can draw on the outside too, but it's harder on a rough surface). It's probably a good idea to sketch your design in pencil first, then go over it ink/colored pencil.

As far as I know, Sharpie, pen, and colored pencil all work, but if you use pen, remember to wait a few minutes to let your design before handling the shell. For a protective covering, make sure it's completely dry and then paint over it with clear nail polish. Alternatively, spray with hairspray before it's entirely dry for a blurred, tie-dye style.
Shell Containers
If you find some really large seashells, wash them off really well and turn them so that their inside is up. They work really well as little bowls to store things in. Right now, I have a drawer full of big shells that hold all my hairclips. It's easy to keep everything organized, plus they look so cute!

Message in a Bottle
I love bottles so, so much. I don't know exactly why, but I love them. For this, you can use any size of bottle. The one I used is a little travel shampoo bottle. If you don't obsessively horde empty bottles like I do, I'm pretty sure you can find them at Target or a similar store.

Once you've got your bottle, cut some paper that's just small enough to fit bottle when it's rolled up. Write your message or draw your map(hint: black ink is great for this), then if you want to get the aged effect, crumple it up and rinse it in warm water. I've learned soaking it in tea or coffee is also effective, but the water seemed to work well enough. Flatten it out, only to roll it up lengthwise. I'll let you in on a little secret... I used an orthodontic band to tie it. You know, those rubber bands we young hooligans stick in our teeth over the braces? It seems to do the trick.

I dropped some small shells into the bottle, then inserted the message, and finally added a cork. I had to shave some of the cork off to fit in the bottle, but that will obviously differ for you based on the size of the bottle. Then I tied some nautical rope around the neck of the bottle.

But... it was missing something. It need color, it needed something to fill up the blank space.

I've had a beautiful orange and silver earring sitting around for at least four years now. My friend came up to me at her birthday party, said "here", and hung it on my shirt. I didn't have my ears pierced then, and it was just one earring anyways, but I've had a sentimental attachment to it since I got it. I pierced it through the bottom of the cork then put the cork back in the bottle, and that did the trick.

I'm not saying you have to put an earring in your bottle, but a splash of color will work wonders.

I lalalove how this turned out!

Shell Hang
For this, you'll need some thread, twine, or rope(as many or as few colors as you like). You might also want some craft wire. And a few shells- I used five for each of mine. Sea glass and other beach-y memorabilia works for this as well.
Cut one big piece of your rope/twine/thread/whatever to about two feet, and tie a shell to the end or secure it with the wire. Do the same for the rest of your shells, then tie each of the strands to the first strand. Length variation of the strands is a good idea, but remember it's better to cut longer and trim later.

Happy crafting! Just remember to be environmentally conscious when working with seashells. :)

Friendly reminders for beach tourists... if you see a plastic bag with pretty blue stuff inside it, don't pick it up; don't touch sea turtles; lights off at night; don't release balloons; and finally, dolphins and manatees don't eat people.

What have y'all done this summer? Let me know in the comments! With that, I bid you adieu and hope that when you are the beach, you see Tyler the Surfer. Farewell!



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