Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

DIY Oyster Shell Clusters

by , on
Aug 11, 2016

Hello friends, popping in today with a quick little project. These inexpensive and easy to make DIY Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls will bring natural coastal charm to your home decor. But first, the back story…

In June, Terry and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a road trip to New York’s Hudson River Valley. We love to travel and so I think Terry was a tad surprised when he asked me where I’d like to go to celebrate and I said, “Hudson River Valley”.

He was thinking “Caribbean, Europe, San Francisco” and I was thinking “keep it simple, road trip like the ‘olden days’, never been to Hudson River Valley”. Back in the day, before we had kiddos, we would take day trips and go antiquing, go to antique auctions and just explore. That’s what I had in mind for this trip.

So we left our NC home early one morning and traveled up the coast, with the Hudson River Valley being our final destination. Our travel plan took us up the Eastern Shore of Maryland, to the charming little town of St. Michaels for our first night.

Along the way, we stopped at several antique stores, like we used to do. It was in one of these little stores that I found a great wire oyster basket. Given the iconic status of the oyster on the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay, I felt it was that kismet thing and that the oyster basket needed to come along with us.

Terry, who still hasn’t fully drank of my ‘it’s kismet’ kool-aid, wasn’t quite sure of what I would do with this very rusty, very old wire basket. But I assured him I would come up with something and so he just smiled that ‘whatever dear’ smile and off we went.

However, I don’t know what you would call it but kismet when we checked into our hotel that night and what graced my nightstand but…an oyster shell cluster/oyster shell ball! I mean, clearly a sign…right?Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

When I got back home I looked into sourcing some oyster shells for this project, which would prove a little more difficult that I originally thought since I live by the ocean.  

I know that the summer months are the months that oysters are not harvested (oysters are only harvested in the months with an ‘r’ in their name), but since I know that our state, and particularly the area I live in, have a robust oyster shell recycling program I figured that there would be plenty of shells for my project in one of the recycling areas. WRONG!

Word to the wise: it is against the law to take shells from the oyster recycling areas.  And since we do have a robust program, most restaurants in my area take their shells to the recycling center.  

There was a brief moment in time when I thought “Are you kidding me, here I live on the coast of North Carolina and I may have to buy my oyster shells online?!” But, kismet intervened as it often does, and I found myself in back of a local fresh fish store digging through a pile of oyster shells on a recent day when the thermostat hit 100°! (Kismet took me to the fish store, it didn’t promise ideal conditions!)Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

I hosed my oyster shells off and went to work on my oyster shell clusters. In addition to the shells, I purchased some styrofoam balls (just slightly bigger than a tennis ball) and some glue sticks from my local Michaels.

I spray painted the styrofoam a dark gray so that the white wouldn’t show.  If I had a lighter color, more of an oyster shell color, I would’ve used it.  But the gray worked fine.

There is really no rocket science to this oyster shell cluster and can’t claim that I invented this process…there are several folks making and selling them on the internet.Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

The process of making these oyster shell clusters was really a very simple process of glue and stick. I began by putting a ring around the middle of sphere and then I worked up one side. Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.I did put the oysters in pairs of similar size, but may try doing them singly next time.Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.If the first ring was the middle of the sphere, I worked each successive band angled slightly to the top of each half.Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

I really jammed the oyster into the foam where I put the glue. As a result, when I finished one side and turned it over to do the other side, none of the oyster shells became loose or dislodged.

Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

Because I had an abundance of oyster shells, I made several oyster shell clusters / oyster shell balls to fill my oyster basket.Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

I can’t imagine anything looking so good in the oyster basket than the oyster shell clusters do…just meant to be. It was fun to play around with where to put the oyster shell clusters and right now I have them split between the basket and the mantle.

I ❤️ my Oyster Shell Clusters!Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

 Looking for more Oyster Shell Projects:

 

Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

This was really a quick project, I made them all in one day. Now I’m noodling more projects with oyster shells since I know where to get them (legally)!? And if you love it, pin it! I’ve made it easy for you↓↓↓ (Thanks a bunch! ?)

Inexpensive and easy to make DIY idea! Illustrated instructions to make an Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls for your coastal/natural home decor.

Thanks again for stopping by today as I really do appreciate your company more than you’ll ever know and I look forward to you stopping by again soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss future content, pop your email in the beige box up on the right.  I usually send out 2-3 emails a week, so I won’t inundate your inbox. 

Right now, subscribers to Nourish and Nestle will receive a free, downloadable Measuring Equivalents Chart overlaid on a watercolor lemon.  You can see it here. Sign up to our email list (on my right sidebar) and we’ll send it to your inbox within 24 hours!  However, if you are already a subscriber and would like a lemon measuring equivalents chart, send us an email with ‘lemon chart’ in the subject line and we’ll send you one too!

Hugs,

Lynn2

 
 
 
 

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29 Comments

  1. Carolyn

    August 11, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    I LOVE these. I’ve never seen an oyster cluster before and it’s beautiful. My mind is spinning on how I can get my hands on some oyster shells.

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 12, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Hi Carolyn! So good to hear from you this Friday morning. I know I’ve seen oyster shells online, but you may just want to call your local fresh fish store knowing that you’ll have better luck once September rolls around. It was such an easy project…one of those immediate gratification kind of things, which makes me a happy gal.
      Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  2. DJ

    August 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Hi Lynn,
    Living in the Midwest, I’ve never seen these before. Love the look! What a cool momento of your 30th anniversary trip.

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 12, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Hi DJ and thanks for coming by today. They really did turn out pretty cool if I must say so myself! If you wanted to make some, I would think you’d be able to get shells from your local fish market. They may be more than happy to ‘share’ the with you.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  3. Linda J

    August 12, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Wow. I am so homesick now!!!! I am a Marylander born and raised. However, Florida is now my home. You sure took me back to the *Olden Days*!!!! lol I love the oyster ball and you can bet I will have one as soon as I come up with the shells. Thanks so much for the new project and a trip down Memory Lane.

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 12, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Aw Linda…I hate to make you homesick but…have to say that we really did enjoy our brief stay in your home state. Are you familiar with St. Michaels and Easton? Such lovely little towns. I would imagine you’d have your fair share of oysters down there in Florida…just remember, don’t take them from the recycling facility!
      Thanks for coming by today and dropping a note, it is so appreciated.
      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  4. Kellie

    August 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Those clusters are amazing! I recently did a post about polishing the sells to make them sine, I would love to have you read it.

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Kellie! I’d love to see your post! I’ll go look for it. I’m planning a few more oyster shell crafts and can definitely see wanting to use some shiny ones!
      Thanks for swinging by.
      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  5. Mary-the boondocks blog

    August 12, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Lynn, I am seriously impressed with your glue gun skills. I would have shattered the poor oysters into a thousand bits. I l ook at them as if they are frail and brittle. haha. Your “kismet” antenna was spot on and y ou did an excellent j ob. Dare I say it looks even better than the original piece you saw at the hotel?

    Happy 30th anniversary and so glad to see you up in my neck of the woods. Btw, that Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel is the most impressive thing I have ever seen in my life. I went down to Virginia years ago and was blown away by it. From far away it looks like you are driving straight into the bay.

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 15, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Hi Mary, between the two of us we are celebrating all sort of anniversaries lately.

      As it relates to the oysters, they are much stronger than they appear. After I did one-half, I turned the ball over and pushed down on them while I pushed the others in and not one cracked or broke! I was really quite surprised that I did’t have to reglue any.

      Many hug!

      Lynn

      Reply
  6. Joan

    August 14, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I love your oyster shell bald. I have hundreds of sea shells after living in s. Florida forever. Now that I live in NC I dont know what to do with them. Now I will try sorting the shells into categories an try a few different balls. But no oysters from FL. Lots of scallops! I’ll take pictures if I succeed. You have such great ideas Lynn?

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 15, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Hi Joan, if you are in NC, you should be able to find some at your local fresh fish store! I love the ideas of of making the balls with different kinds of shells, do take pictures and send them! I’d love to see them.
      Thanks for visiting and wishing you a fantastic week.
      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  7. Carol ("Mimi")

    August 15, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Hi, Lynn. Your oyster shell clusters turned out beautifully! Great job. I love that you kept your shells and your oyster basket natural. I really like the natural, sculptural shapes that the clusters took on as you glued them to the center styrofoam balls. Very nice!

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 15, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Mimi…thanks for stopping by today! I’m pretty tickled with how those clusters turned out and now I’m brainstorming other ways to use the oyster shells since I have found a source. Don’t you just love that basket!? I’m so glad I brought it home.
      Many hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  8. Liz

    August 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Lynn, these look great! It’s interesting it was so hard for you to find oyster shells originally (sorry to hear that! I feel your pain), but on the other hand it’s great to hear the shell recycling is so well adhered to! 🙂 Beautiful decor though (and yay for the John Steinbeck short stories book in your one picture!) 😀

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 22, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Liz…thanks for stopping by today. I know…who’d a thunk I’d have to really scrounge for the oyster shells!? But it all worked out…that kismet angel on my shoulder! And as the daughter of a reading teacher…think I’d be disowned if I didn’t have a well-stocked library and love the the stories of John Steinbeck. What is your favorite?

      Wishing you a lovely week.

      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  9. RoseMarie

    August 19, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Lynn, your creativity is over-the-top! And your alignment with “kismet” events is so much fun. I can just hear that awesome wire basket in the antique shop whispering “take me home…I belong to you.” And, voila, once in your hotel room you knew exactly why. There’s a little kismet angel always riding on your shoulder! This post leaves me with a big smile, and admiration, as always, for following your intuition!

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 22, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Aw, thanks Rosie! Your kind words always lift me up. And I am a firm believer in Kismet…aren’t you? “it’s meant to be” is one of my most used phrases.Thanks so much for coming by today.
      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  10. Mindy

    August 22, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Lynn!
    I never would have thought of making oyster shell clusters. They are too cute and so summery! Great photos to show the step-by-step instructions.

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 22, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Hi Mindy, Thanks for swinging by today! These were so easy to make…one of those immediate gratification kind of projects. And I love how they look…now I’m noodling other projects using oyster shells…stay tuned!
      Have a great day…Lynn

      Reply
  11. Julianne

    August 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Wow, these look amazing! I have never seen an oyster cluster before. Such a cool project. I have been trying to pick a place for my 10-year anniversary and I’m starting to lean towards traveling close to home as well.

    Reply
    • lynn

      August 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Julianne…you know, I LOVE to travel inside and outside of the country, but there are times when easier is just really better…and more relaxing…which is what we are often aiming for anyway. Happy 10th! And thanks for coming by to visit today.

      Many Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  12. Kat

    September 4, 2016 at 12:21 am

    These are awesome! You said that you rinsed them off — did you use bleach? Or soap? Is there a residual smell? Great job:)

    Reply
    • lynn

      September 4, 2016 at 7:15 am

      Good Morning Kat…I did not use bleach, but I might have used just a little soap. There was just a wee bit of dirt on them
      They had been sitting outside in the elements for months, so there was nothing in them that would cause them to smell anymore. However, if you used ‘fresher’ oyster shells, I think you might need to use bleach or soap.

      Thanks for swinging by today! Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day!

      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
      • Kat

        September 4, 2016 at 2:58 pm

        Thank you!!

        Reply
  13. Lynn

    June 17, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I LOVE this! My friend has an oyster pit, and I got 5 gallons of shells. I just finished an oyster ball, and an oyster “bloomin’ onion” following the lines of a concreted cluster. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
    • lynn

      June 18, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Yeah!!!! You probably have enough to make a mirror and you are a girl after my own heart…I’ve been channeling all things ‘oyster’ for a while too. Once they are cleaned they are really so pretty…one of natures unsung beauties.

      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  14. Katje

    September 27, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    These are great! I love that basket, too! I have a bunch of oyster shells. (Your supposed to return them to the beach, but they’re so gorgeous and I may get around to that later). I’ve seen lots of these and I like yours nest of all. Thank you for sharing!
    Btw, oyster shells make very pretty sounding wind chimes, too!

    Reply
    • lynn

      September 29, 2017 at 6:54 am

      Oh Katje, Thanks so much for your kind comment. And I do love that basket too! It was a fun find. I know that oyster shells are recycled in my area too, but didn’t have a problem getting a few.
      Hope you have fun making your clusters!
      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply

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