What you needSea shells (depending on the design of your jewelry, you can use whole unbroken shells or pieces of shells)
Jewelry wire (22 to 24 gauge)
Pair of small round-tipped jewelry pliers
Clear nail polish
This jewelry making project shows you how to wire wrap a sentimental seashell for a beautiful seashell project.
If you have recently vacationed at the beach, chances are you brought home some sea shells. Instead of simply tossing them in a bowl or jar, why not use them to make some beautiful wire and sea shell jewelry? Although making jewelry pieces from shells and wire requires a bit of time and patience, the results can be beautiful. Plus, if you already have a supply of shells to use, the cost of making this beautiful jewelry will be negligible. After you make a few pieces for yourself, you might also want to make a few more to give as gifts.
Preparing the Sea Shells
Before making your shell jewelry, you’ll have to give some thought as to the look you’d like to create. Although whole unbroken shells certainly make beautiful jewelry pieces, flat slabs of broken shells can also work well. In fact, sometimes chunks of broken shells almost look like decorative stones. Wash your shells carefully, first in a water and detergent solution, and then in a mild bleach solution. Rinse thoroughly, then let dry completely.
Once the shells are dry, cover them completely with a coat of clear nail polish, working in a room with plenty of ventilation. Polish one side, let dry, then flip to polish the other side. Let the nail polish dry for at least 30 minutes.
Wiring the Shells
There are plenty of interesting and artistic ways to wrap shells in wire. However, if this is the first time you’ve tried making wire and sea shell jewelry, enclosing the shell in a wire cage is one of the simplest methods. Start by cutting five pieces of wire to a length of 6 to 9 inches. Lay four pieces of wire together then wrap them together in the middle with the fifth piece of wire. Cut the ends of the fifth piece of wire just long enough so that they can be tucked under the wrapped section.
Place your shell or shell piece in the center of the four bound wire strands. Bend the four wire strands upwards until they meet at the top of the shell. Twist the wire strands together at the top, then twist the wire ends into a loop so that you’ll be able to string the shell on a necklace chain. Cut the four wire pieces just long enough to allow you to tuck the cut ends into the twisted area of the wire, thus hiding the cut ends.
Bend the four wire strands of the shell cage into an attractive position. It often looks nice if you curve the wire cage so that it accentuates the shape of the shell or shell piece. Then, simply string the wired shell onto a necklace chain and add to your jewelry collection.
Jessica Ackerman, author and staff designer at WallDecorandHomeAccents.com, specializes in tropical wall sculptures.