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Making Seashell Jewelry

Updated on October 22, 2011

Seashells, are wonderful ornaments that we all know we get easily from beaches. Some people like collecting seashells, other like making useful crafts out of it like jewelry.

For making jewelry, this raw material is freely available on every beach side. You can modify your existing jewelry with seashells or make something out of just seashells.

All that is needed is creativity to make beautiful and attractive jewelry from seashells. For using seashells for decoration or any other purpose, it is important to remove the animal inside the shell.

Here are few tips for all those who want to make attractive jewelry with seashells.

Cleaning Seashells

Before painting or making jewelry from seashells, it is must to clean them properly. You can clean seashell in many ways.

Some of the ways are as follows:

  • The quickest method cleaning seashells is heating. To heat you can use oven or microwave, as long you or your mother do not mind about the bed smell. If you or your mom does mind anything like a bad smell then it is better avoid this one and switch to another method. Remove the animal inside the shell by means of towel or gloves.
  • Another method of cleaning shells is freezing them. Use zip lock bags for this purpose. Put the shells in zip lock bag and put it in the freezer. To clean the animal inside, let it defrost at the room temperature.

Seashell brooch
Seashell brooch
  • One more way to clean the animal in the shell is boiling them. Boil it for few minutes and then clean the shells.
  • The easiest way to clean shells is bury them in your backyard. Bury it deep so animal could not dig it out. Bury the shells and leave there as long as possible.

It is must to remove the dead animal inside the shell. Adopt any of these ways to clean the shell.

Seashell pendant
Seashell pendant

Bleaching Seashells

After cleaning seashell properly, keep in mind to remove all tissues clearly. The next step comes after cleaning is bleaching. Make 1:1 solution of bleach and water. Time of bleaching is depending upon type and quantity of shells.

Drilling Seashells

Now, to use seashells in jewelry you have to drill it. Drilling seashells is next difficult thing to do.  We all know that seashells are delicate and fragile. It can break easily even if little pressure applied. There are some precautions that you must keep: 

  • Use high speed drills instead of common drills. Use drills that are specially design for delicate things.
  • Hold the drill firmly; shells are hard and drill may slip and cause marks and scratches on the shell.
  • Use of diamond pointed drills is also suggestible.
  • When hole started then you have to be very firm with it.

  • When using diamond drills, use water to cold down the point. In case you do not do so it will fail.
  • You’re not supposed to dip the whole drill in water; you just have to cool down the tip of the drill.
  • Drills you’re using have to sharp, very sharp.
  • You must use high speed drills, using slow ones may harm and destroy your shells.
  • Select the finest and smallest bit for drilling the seashell.
  • Fix a shell firmly in vise or something of the similar type so that it would not move during drilling.

  • To prevent shell from cracking use of tape can be a good option. Use tape on the spot where you want to make a hole and then drill it. It is more preferable when dealing with more delicate and fragile shells.
  • Practice first. If you have not used drill before on shells then it is advisable to use drill on already cracked or rough shells before using it on the ones you intend to make jewelry with.
  • In case you have done all these drillings before, even in that case we suggest you to practice it on one or two shells first.

Safety Measures In Seashell Crafts

Remember always, self safety is first thing. Keep your eyes and nose safe from the dust coming from the seashells. When you drill the seashells you noticed a fine dust will smoke out of it. This dust will cause serious injuries to your lungs.

These particles are very fine that even you do not feel when you inhale it and it will stick on your lungs and stay there forever. It is toxic. Use of fine air masks and safety glasses is a must when dealing with seashells.

How To Make A Seashell Necklace


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    • profile image

      Sue Moreira 5 years ago

      Great Article!!!! (Regarding the above comment) Most people would not plan to make jewelry out of LIVE seashells! The shell jewelry I make is out of those shells I either picked up on the beach or bought already dead.

    • profile image

      Caroline 6 years ago

      Beautiful Jewelry but...

      This site has upset me a little because you never use seashells that still have an animal inside... You basically talking about killing it and then use it to make art! How about if someone burns you out of your home to make art??? I don't think you would like that!

    • profile image

      Coolioshell 6 years ago

      Cool jewelry!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      This jewelry looks really cool.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      These are the beauty of Sea-Beach.

    • truster profile image

      truster 7 years ago from A Bed of Roses

      Nice jewelery. Even if we think they're like dead bodies' leftovers.