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AUTHENTIC HANDMADE GIFTS
Seashells are fun to collect and pretty to look at, so it is no wonder that they are the basis for many crafty projects. Even if you don’t have the time, energy or inclination to head to the seashore and gather your own, you can buy shells and put your creative talents to good use.
The problem with some craft projects, however, is that you spend a long time making something, only for it to end up in a drawer or closet where no one gets to see its aesthetic appeal - or your talents. This is not the case with a seashell necklace, however, as not only can you show one off with a multitude of different outfits, but they are also surprisingly quick and easy to make. While you might want to buy a seashell box or shell ball ornament, seashell necklaces need very few materials and limited technique to create. You could even make a whole collection of necklaces, either for yourself or to give away as thoughtful gifts for friends and family.
So, where do you start if you want to make a seashell necklace to sit in your jewelry box alongside your sea glass dangle earrings and moonstone necklace? The answer is, of course, at the shore - or at the store.
The easiest option is to buy some shells. There are a plethora of stores offering shells online or even in your local craft store or tourist trap. Why spend the money when you don’t have to, however? If you live close to the shore or are planning a trip, you can quite easily collect your own. Not only can you look for exactly the size, shape, and color of shells you want, you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you completed the whole process of shell necklace making without taking any shortcuts. You might even be surprised by what types of shells you find on the beach and how your imagination takes you on a crafty journey with stupendous results.
It is best to try to pick similar-sized shells for one necklace, although some variations can look good. Just think about the weight of the shells and how they will work as a row. Symmetrical patterns generally work best if you do decide to use different sizes. Perhaps you might like to use one large shell hanging down in the center with two medium shells to either side and the rest of the necklace made of similarly-sized smaller shells, for example.
You also need to think about how the shells will work with each other on your string, band or wire, and how they will lie against your body. You don’t want shells that will butt against each other or refuse to lie close enough to cover the string. You also don’t want shells that won’t sit well against your skin or will be uncomfortable to wear.
Once your shells are collected, it is time to wash them well and allow them to dry. Use warm, soapy water and a toothbrush to remove any dirt and debris and to get rid of any seaweed odor that could linger otherwise. Once the shells are washed and dried, sort them into sizes and create the pattern you want before using a small drill bit to make holes for the string or wire.
If you don’t have a small drill, you can use a nail and hammer to make the holes. Don’t be too heavy-handed, however, or the shell will shatter. You also need to consider how big you need the holes to be, and this will depend on what type of material you will be using to form the basis of your necklace.
Then, it is time to string your shells. You could use thread or string, but make sure that it is strong enough. A single shell may not feel very heavy, but you want to make sure that your necklace won’t break under the combined weight of the number you choose. Alternatively, you could use aluminum or copper wire or steel string, although you will need to think about how you can fasten these safely and securely. You could invest in a fastening, tie them, or bind them, however, and the metal can provide a really nice contrast with the shells. This is especially true if you choose a metal to complement the coloring of your choice of shells.