Seashell Jewelry with an Underwater Finish

by Dale Armstrong

Hi Dale! While at the Wire-Sculpture 2010 Florida Wired Retreat, I took some time to collect some seashells. Many of them already have a hole in them, perfect for making jewelry. Is there a way to protect the surfaces of the shells from flaking? Also, is there a way to brighten the colors of the shells so as to make them look like they're underwater? Thanks so much for all you've taught me!

-Meredith in Springfield, Missouri

Hi Meredith - oh yes, the Florida Retreat was fun! I'm glad you took some time for a walk on the beach.

The best product I have found for preserving sea shells and giving them a permanent "wet" appearance is Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray. Not a paint, this spray is a safe and easy way to preserve many organic items, even dried flowers! Of course, always read the product label first, work in a well-ventilated area, and to avoid fingerprints, don't touch your shells until they are dry. (When I lived on the beach, I would string my shells on a piece of fishing line, then hang it from the clothesline while spraying, and then just let them dry for about a half hour.)

Krylon's "Spraying Safe" article has great tips on working with sprays. For further information about the safety of the product, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is available on the Krylon product page. Once dry, the coating is completely safe.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong


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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Design