How can I reuse or recycle unwanted seashells?

SeashellsWe’ve had an email from Melanie:

I’ve got a bag of sea shells, whole and broken, I collected from a vacation in Mexico. The shells were interesting at the time, but not any more. I’m looking to give them to somebody who would use them for crafts. I’m already reusing a large shell to hold small miscellaneous items on my desk and being crafty with shells doesn’t appeal to me at this point in time.

I’ve attached a photo of the extra shells I have and a photo of my large “dish” shell (below).

SeashellsIf you specifically want to give them away to be reused, Freecycle might be the best way to go – someone in your local area might love them. Any suggestions on what that crafty person might do with them?

As for other more practical reuses, I suspect we’ll have some overlap with the mussel shells post but anything else Melanie could do with them?

(Heh, I put this in the “packaging” category – because they were sea creature packaging once ;) )

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14 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle unwanted seashells?”

  1. Delusion says:

    They make nice garden features

  2. Fiona says:

    I use shells for healing, rather like crystals, but it all depends what you believe in. No good if you don’t subscribe to that kind of thing. Practically, the large shells don’t get used in crafts much as they are too large to attach to anything, plus they are quite sharp if you shatter them to use in mozaics. Smaller shells however are very good as decorations, mozaics, collage meaterial, etc. however, have you thought to approach your local Primary School? They might be interested for their class nature tables or for art work and science artefacts. Most schools are up for anything free like that anyway.

  3. Jesse says:

    With small shells I put a layer on the top of my potted plants. It helps keep moisture in and looks so much nicer than soil.

    Also, something I’ve done that has received a lot of great comments, is I incorporate shells into my ceiling light fixture. In my apartment, there are standard globe lights. I purchased a clear one (Also used frosted) and put some shells in the bottom, then put it back up on the ceiling. They light up and make beautiful colors and shadows. Very interesting.

    They won’t get too hot (but use fluorescent anyway, as you should!)

    Also, shells are organic material, they can be buried :)

  4. melanie hughes says:

    Hi where are you based ? im currently re designing my bathroom – funnily enough with a beach theme and if you are local i would love to take them off your hands.


  5. Arthur Eiss says:

    Seashells also make a good driveway/road/walkway material. You can just crush them up and throw them on a dirt path to cut down on erosion.

    Of course, generally it takes more than a handful.

  6. bella says:

    use old glass or plastic jugs plaster paris ( get at craft shops or toyworld)and stick them onto the glass. if you want the plaster colored add a lil paint/paint powder to it. you will have a sea themed jar to use for flower decor or pencils.
    or you can drill hole and give as a threding execise that can be worn by kids. small shells in good cond can be used as jewlery by threading with fishing line or fine wire used by jewlery can be also used as decrotive trime for lampshades,etc.

  7. nelly says:

    u could use stick a hole in it then put a safety pin thorough and wear as funky badge and maybe paint with nail polish.

    u could use as an ashtray(though it would have to be a big shell)

    and like the first suggestion if you had a lot of shells u could make a hole in them then attach to the top of a t-shirt of a bag. A bag would look REALLY kl!

  8. amanda says:

    I would use the shells for jewellery to wear like necklesses and small crushed ones as braclet charms, earrings, As for the large ones i would make animals out of them, As a centre piece for your home.
    Id do all sorts of wonderful creations with your shells, And so could you.

  9. Shorty says:

    I have a craft book that has a gorgeous seashell box and picture frame. For the crafter who’s handy with the glue gun. =)

  10. Shorty says:

    My aunt filled a vertical rectangular vase with them and used it as decoration.

  11. Evon says:

    the small shells seem to easily find their way into numerous craft projects such as decorating picture frames, necklaces, etc. However, it is quite common to find yourself with mid sized shells. Too big for small crafts, not large enough for a display.
    1You can always use them to decorate the edge of landscaping bed if it is marked off with bricks. Another idea to consider for those not tiny, but not big pieces is to use them along with your place settings at a table. Place some special treat in it or write their name one it for your guests to walk away with a favor/memory of your meal together.

  12. Evon says:

    Another idea is to place the shells together in a tray so they are against each other and will not move (Option: maybe paint them different colors). Use them on your desk to catch those stray paper clips, pins, erasers, etc.

  13. Elrod says:

    Incorporate them when making concrete stepping stones.

  14. Elrod says:

    Paint them shiny and hang as christmas ornaments.

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