This project leans a little bit more crafty than construction, but it's one that brings me so much joy.
I was originally inspired by a stunning chandelier that my husband and I saw in a Portland, Maine shop. It was huge and raw and organic and captured my heart. Alas, I don't really have the space or budget ($9,000!) to be able to house that particular light, but I knew that I somehow wanted to incorporate oyster shells into my decor.
Fast forward a couple of months and I was visiting with two of my dearest friends at one of their river cottages in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Now these friends go all the way back to middle school, through high school, college, weddings and kids. They are those kind of girlfriends. Although we all live a few hours apart, we try to gather together every couple of months to recharge and reconnect and just be.
As we were sitting on the beach during that visit, I noticed that the shoreline was almost completely covered in shells. Oyster shells. Jackpot! My friend graciously allowed me to collect as many as I wanted and I set to work brainstorming.
While I knew I wanted to make a light of some sort, I wasn't sure what design I wanted to execute. So in the meantime, as I was perusing Pinterest, I found a lovely sphere made of oyster shells. It was a great, quick project to tackle while I continued to figure out the light design. Details on my chandelier to come in a later post!
I washed the shells thoroughly in a mild detergent. I also added a splash of bleach to help kill any tiny sea bugs. After they were dry, I loved the luminescent, almost metallic look that was found on the inside of the shells and I wanted to play that up. So I decided to paint them to make that finish more pronounced.
I mixed together these two craft store acrylic paints from Michael's and tested on one of the shells. Martha Stewart Pearl and DecoArt Champagne Gold did the trick. Initially, I was worried they would be too opaque and hide all the gorgeous shade variations in the shells, but the finish actually went on perfectly. Just sheer enough to add some glam while highlighting the natural beauty.
The next part was easy peasy. Using a hot glue gun, I added glue to the narrow end of each shell and inserted them one at a time into a white styrofoam ball. I tried to keep the pattern somewhat random, while placing them as close together as possible.
The result...a lovely addition to my tablescape and a beautiful reminder of friendships that last, no matter how many decades and miles pass between.
I hope you are inspired to make something to bring a personal touch to your space and remind you of cherished memories with the special people in your life.
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