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The Art of Shelling

Updated on September 10, 2014

Shelling in Florida


One of my favorite vacation spots are located in Ft. Meyers Florida, namely Sanibel Island, and Captiva Island. Call me a "Fin" but I love the beaches. I absolutely adore shelling. Shells come in many varieties, shapes and colors. They are used in art and conversation pieces, candle holders and they make for beautiful pieces of jewelry. The many uses are endless. Every species of sea creatures hold its own message, and some perhaps a few.

Authentic uses

Seashells are used in many cultures. They were used by many Indian tribes according to location. The Calusa Indians were located at the southern end of the Florida Peninsula. They used seashells as their way of trading. Trading was used as a need to gain necessities, but also as important rituals especially in "Social relationships." Marriages also required some sort of gift exchange.

The Iroquois much like the Calusa, both placed great importance on trading and rituals. Trades were used as sealing Alliances, but one of the biggest sources were the wampum. These little shells were created into belts, bands or strings of them fastened together. The prehistoric inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley were evidently acquainted with manufacturing, as remains of these tiny shell beads, were found among their burial mounds, which survive as their memorial among this group of people.

One of our Beautiful shells. By the way the table it is sitting on, was made by my husband-great job!

Beauty and Shine

Shell Diversity

Sea life is diverse and amazing. Shells come in many sizes and are determined by hereditary, and by the species. The outside of the shell has a fleshly mantle, that either completely or partially forms the outer shell. It deposits calcium which causes the shell to grow larger, and it turn it creates the ridges and patterns. The mantle, forms a luster to whatever it comes in contact with, and this creates the shine to the outside of the shell.

Depending on where the animal lives, and what it's food source is, will determine the shape and type of shell it becomes. Say for instance the shell is long, it can easily burrow in the sand. If it has spines, it is useful in scaring off predators.

Listing of some of the seashells we have found on our beaches.

Shelling after the storm

Lovely Sanibel

Seashells in a Vase

Shell craft

I love to place seashells in a glass vase, It can add decour to any room.

Crafty shell ideas

Clean your seashells and carefully glue them to the outer edges of your favorite picture frame or mirror. Pour wax inside a shell, make floral shells, or candle stick holders.

Shell picture Frame

Imagine a design, and stick with your pattern in specific formation. Glue shells to your frame.

This makes a beautiful gift.

Mirrored Shell Art

Collect a variety of shells to create this mirror. You can also place a shelf below the mirror, and decorate it with shells as well.


Clean your favorite medium to large size shell. Melt your favorite wax, and pour away!

Glass shell Candles

Collect your favorite glass containers. You can melt any color wax and pour inside. When set, decorate the outside of your container as shown here.

Floral Shell Art

Wash and dry your favorite shells. You can stay with one theme or add a variety of colors. Glue your shells together to create a floral arrangement. You can add glitter, or spray paint to make it colorful.

Let your Imagination be as wide as the Ocean

As you can see, the many uses of shells are Endless. Let your imagination carry you. Christmas will be upon us soon, so be creative and get shelling!


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    • Susan Guinn profile image

      Susan Guinn 3 years ago from Florida

      Peachpurple, thanks. They are plentiful here in FL, but you have to go very early in the morning and to select locations to get the best shells. My son is also a certified diver. I love the ocean it is so peaceful, & love shelling. Can you send a photo of your bottle crafts? Would love to see your crafts.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i am going to the seaside and get more shells for my bottle crafts

    • Susan Guinn profile image

      Susan Guinn 3 years ago from Florida

      Thank you Shirley, and thanks for following my posts. Keep reading!

    • profile image

      Shirley 3 years ago

      Great article, Susan. I love Sanibel and Captiva!

    • Susan Guinn profile image

      Susan Guinn 3 years ago from Florida

      Thank you Thelma C.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Good article about shelling. I have visited Sannibel and it is a beautiful part of the state.