Summer fun! Make seashell jewellery without making holes in the shells! No drill needed. Less chance for breakages. This method is great if the shells are old and dry = more brittle. It’s also pretty quick and easy (particularly if the shells are clean and ready to be hot glue gun filled!)
If you’ve ever crafted, then you probably have a hot glue gun; and that’s the most expensive thing you need for this project. If you don’t have a hot glue gun yet, find a friend who does; or top reasons to get a hot glue gun:
- Use it on wood, plastic, fabric, metal, artificial flowers, ribbon, paper… (ie: lots of projects!)
- Easily and quickly stick stuff together! Ie: googly eyes on a sock puppet.
- Make an airtight or watertight seal for DIY projects
- Use the glue to make 3D effects on DIY projects such as patterns or words on a jar.
- Hot glue instead of sew
- Hot glue has a long shelf life. It can sit there waiting for a projects for years and still be useable.
- Search Google for more ideas
Hot glue guns can retail for $10-$20+: Officeworks, Spotlight, Lincraft (in store, not listed on website); hardware stores such as Bunnings; and other art and craft stores such as Riot, Craft Online, etc.
Do not let young children use a hot glue gun: it is hot! The metal elements of the gun can get very hot. The glue is hot and will stick to your skin, and burn and blister it way before you can get it under running water. Trust me when I say: it hurts and will be a week of sads while the skin heals under the blister!
- Seashells: particularly curled ones with small openings so the glue is held in better as it’s twisted or encased within the shell
- Wire: either pre-made heads or make your own
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Sealer (optional): I used ModPodge hard coat
For the material conscious: using smaller shells will use less glue! 😉
- Select shells and prepare them: clean and leave to dry. When collecting make sure it’s not an animals home and you are allowed to collect from that location.
- Prepare wire head: Insert into shell where you want it to sit to gauge length to cut the wire so that the loop with just outside the shell. I used wire, so cut it about a centimetre (or a bit less) out of the shell to make the loop (and then inserted again to check). If using a pre-made head, use the length that fits best.
- Turn on hot glue gun. Once it’s ready, pump glue into shell. Be careful as the shell will get hot (particularly the thinner it is). Don’t overfill and get glue where you don’t want to see it. Pull any stingy bits off later.
- Once filled, insert the wire. If needed, pump more glue to fill in. Don’t rush and burn yourself! You do have time to play before it becomes cold and sets: even if it’s a low temp hot glue gun. Then either hold it for a few minutes or place it carefully so glue and wire don’t move while it cools. Once cold, it will return to the colour it was (my glue is straw coloured). Don’t forget to turn off the hot glue gun once finished with it.
- Once completely cold, I made and added jump rings to attach to necklaces. They could also be added to earring findings if you have found 2 matching shells.
- I then sealed them with a couple of layers of ModPodge hard coat to add strength to the shell and a light shine. Coat and hang (if why you add findings before coating with sealer!), come back an hour later and do it again. I brushed it on with my fingers, or you could use a brush.
* The most common hot glue is made from Ethylene-vinyl acetate.