Things You'll Need
- Old toothbrush
- Liquid dishwashing soap
- Soft rags
- Mineral oil or WD-40
If you love trips to the beach and collecting sea shells, it's time to think about ways to display your little treasures. There are many beautiful crafts to be made out of seashells. First, make sure your shells are clean of algae and free of odors. Then grab a glue gun and start crafting. You can make beautiful candles, napkin holders, a seashell wreath, wind chimes, unique drawer pulls, bookends, frames for vacation photos, and all kinds of shell art. And there are lots of websites to walk you through the steps of making seashell necklaces and pendants. So don't just put your shells in a glass vase, get crafty and have fun.
Cleaning your shells
Make sure there are no live animals in or on the shells. Dead shells are much easier to clean.
Use a old soft toothbrush and some liquid dishwashing soap to scrub off as much tissue and debris as you can from each shell.
Mix half bleach and half water in large bucket and soak the shells to remove their leathery covering (periostracum). The length of time depends on number of shells, but be sure to leave them long enough to clean them thoroughly (at least a couple of hours).
Remove and dry with soft rags.
Shine the shells with mineral oil (not baby oil) or WD-40.
Sort shells into sizes: small, medium and large. This will help determine which crafts to chose for your shells.
Make a seashell wreath, a photo frame, bookends, or any number of household treasures. See the Reference section for ideas and instructions.
Use smaller shells to craft necklaces and flat shells for pendants.
If you want your shells to look wet, make sure they are completely dry then pain them with clear nail polish or shellac.
If you have shells with live animals, you need to use a different method of cleaning to ensure all debris is removed. Check the internet for information on how to clean live shells.
Larraine Stacey started her career as a reporter and editor in 1966, when she wrote daily columns, features and editorials for "Grand Prairie Daily News." A University of North Texas journalism major, Stacey writes for Let's Go Travel Guides and other websites. She is also the author of a bestselling young-adult fantasy series.