How to craft an Oyster Shell Garland

How to craft an Oyster Shell Garland

I first saw the idea for this craft project in a store and (being cheap) thought that I could easily make it.

Living on a beach on Vancouver Island, I have access to an abundance of oyster shells.  The seagulls are constantly dropping them to try to break them open on the rocks to get at the oyster inside and others just wash up with the tide.  So I have given it a go and am quite pleased with the results.

I’m not really sure if my shells are Olympia or Pacific Oysters.  Native to this area, the Olympia Oyster measures between six and eight centimetres.  They attach themselves to rocks and filter the ocean water, helping to keep the marine water clean. The Pacific Oyster was introduced from Japan in the early 1900’s and is now considered an invasive species.   We can go out at low tide, provided it isn’t a red tide, and harvest them for ourselves.  It’s no wonder that the local first nations have a saying that when the tide is out, the table is set. Fun fact: oysters can change from female to male and vice versa.

An empty oyster shell lying in the rocks at low tide – ready to be collected

Supplies:

To make the oyster shell garland/wind chime, I first bought some jute at the Dollar store.  It has to be able to carry a bit of weight so I went with a four ply, 100% natural jute cord.  It cost only $4.

I also required a drill to make the holes in the shells through which the jute would be threaded, which we already owned.

And of course, 18 oyster shells that I gathered on a sunny afternoon on the beach.  Ultimately, you’ll need a hook from which the garland will hang.

  • 4 ply jute
  • Drill
  • 18 oyster shells
  • Hook

Steps:

  1. Drill a hole through the shell – you’ll want to make sure that the hole you drill is larger than the piece of jute.  Sounds simple but you may have to experiment with different bits.

 

drilling hole in oyster shell
I do have fat fingers but those manly hands belong to my husband

2. Cut three pieces of jute1.5 metres in length

3. Thread one piece of jute through a shell and tie a knot to secure in place.  I hung my shells all with the inside of the shell facing up.

4.  Continue to tie knots every 2 centimetres as you add a shell. This gives a bit of space between the shells for when the three lines are gathered together and the shells rest in between each other somewhat. I added nine shells per line of jute

 

5.  Continue with the other two lines of jute and the remaining shells

6.  Gather all three lines together, form a loop and tie in a knot

 

Ensure that the loop is large enough to go around whatever it is that your garland will be hanging from.  To go with the whole nautical theme in my home, we have a dock cleat affixed to a window frame.  These can be purchased at a marine supply store or at Canadian Tire.  It’s quite wide so I had to make a rather large loop to fit it.

 

I’m really happy with my piece of nautical decor.  As I love collecting shells, it gave me an opportunity to display them in a window that was looking rather bare and fulfilled my driving need to create.

What kind of decor items have you made with shells?  Please let me know by commenting below.



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