What to do with the Shells You’ve Shelled

DATE: July 11, 2013

If you’ve ever been to Sanibel Island you learned very quickly that it is known as the number one shelling location in the world. The technical definition of shelling, according to freedictionary.com, is: To look for or collect shells, as on a seashore. Being the number one shelling locale means that many, many visitors make a conscious effort to collect shells during their stay. But what do you really do with the shells once you’ve found them, put them in your bucket, gone through the trouble of cleaning them off and finally brought them home with you?

Here are a few ideas to help you make use of all the beautiful and varied shells you discover here and elsewhere:

  • Cover a Frame: Using the shells you collect on Sanibel to frame a mirror (or piece of art, photograph, etc) is a great use for them and also becomes a daily reminder of your trip!

Shell Mirror

  • Make a Wreath- This Clamshell Wreath from MarthaStewart.com is a great idea! Clamshells are a very common shell, both here and al up the East Coast, so finding enough of the shells to do a project like this wouldn’t take very long. (If you want to go for a different look, you can try a Mussel Wreath. The bonus with both of these crafts is that is you come up shorts on shells all you have to do is go out to dinner at a seafood restaurant and order the right dish!)
Shell Wreaths
  • Shell Flower Pots – These Flower Pots are a great look for a beach house or vacation house. You don’t need many shells and they don’t even have to match!
  • Shell Planters- If you’re lucky enough to snag a large shell, you can pull off these all natural planters!

Shell Pots and Planters

  • Sailor Valentine- This is, in my opinion, the mother of all shell crafts. According to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the craft originated in the 19th century in Barbados and around other parts of the Caribbean. The woman of the islands would create what were essentially shell collages in octagonal boxes for the visiting sailors to take home to their loved ones. These two were made over 150 years apart but the idea is still the same.

(Left) Antique Sailors’ Valentine, Circa 1850s, Barbados, Bailey-Matthews Shell. (Right) People’s Choice Award Winner, 2013 50th Annual Sarasota Shell Show, Suzanne Dietch

For more ideas, check out the Shells board on the Sundial Pinterest Page here: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa Pinterest

Happy Shelling!

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