By Alan Reisch
Anyone that has ever been to the beach has spent a little time checking out all the different sea shells and treasures that have washed ashore. Most of us have even picked up a few "pretty ones" with the thought of doing something creative with them later. Of course, just like so many other things in our life, we put them away only to forget about our "treasures" until spring cleaning some year. Again we think of all the possibilities we could use the sea shells for, only to repeat the previous cycle. Fortunately, all it takes to break the cycle is a little excitement and motivation.
The potential of sea shells is limited only by your imagination. One common problem of working with shells is how fragile and brittle they can be. The easiest way to alleviate this problem is to attach the shells to a hard surface such as wood. Great examples of this method are frames, jewelry boxes, and mirrors. All it takes is glue that bonds well with wood and organic material, some unfinished wood products, your shells, and some creativity. To finish your design off, a non-yellowing clear gloss will keep the shells shiny and provide some protection and durability. Most of the products you need for these projects can be purchased at your local craft store.
Another use for your beautiful sea shells is handmade jewelry. I know beading has become a very popular hobby and business venture; sea shells can be used in the same way. You may have to take a jewelry making class or spend some time practicing techniques and designs, but the end results can be amazing and very satisfying. Again, what type of jewelry you make and how you use the sea shells is nearly limitless. So it's time to find that old shoe box of sea shells and start making you own works of art.
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