Crafts Summer

A Coastal Inspired Shell Wreath

Coastal shell wreath made from mussel shells
Living by the sea, we are spoiled with delicious seafood year round, clam bakes, and the ability to go clamming and crabbing around town. It’s no wonder we always have a plethora of empty shells I like to hoard for rainy day projects. Today while my son was at summer camp, my daughter and I made this mussel shell wreath. The shells glistens in the sun and remind me of a school of fish swimming in the ocean. This wreath can be hung on the door or even used to surround a glass hurricane candle lamp on the picnic table.

 

Supply List:

  • A 12 inch diameter flat Styrofoam wreath
  • Burlap ribbon
  • Hot glue gun
  • Mussel shells (cleaned)
  • Garden Twine
  • Scissors

Begin by hot gluing the end of the burlap ribbon to the Styrofoam wreath and wrap it all the way around the wreath. Overlap the beginning of the burlap ribbon, cut the end, and glue it into place.

Cut an 8 inch length of garden twine and tie it around the wreath. Hot glue the twine to the front of the wreath to keep it from shifting.

 

Glue a line of four or so mussel shells across the wreath like so. Be sure to keep the fatter ends of the shell up. Tuck the next row of four shells under the fatter ends of the shells that have already been glued onto the  shell wreath.

 

Continue around the entire wreath fitting the shells together like a puzzle.
The wreath comes to gather in no time at all and can be used year round.  Mine tends to move around from the covered front door, the kitchen table or even on the patio when we entertain.
Thanks to Real Simple Magazine for sharing and including my wreath in their recent article. 
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest
  • This is a beautiful wreath! But goodness – that's a pile of mussel shells!! It would be neat also with oyster shells – just not as uniformed!!

  • Did you use any oil (eg. mineral or baby oil) or varnish to keep the shells shiny?

    • No, I just cleaned them really well prior to using them. The inside of the mussel shells are naturally very shiny inside.

  • I live on the beach but haven't came across any mussel shells. Is there a certain time of year they wash to shore?

    • These were from mussels that we purchased at our local seafood shop. Plan a meal of delicious mussels with your family and save the shells.

    • Thank you!

  • Helen

    Hi, this is beautiful. What did you use to clean the shells. I find it difficult to remove the piece where the muscles are attached to the shells.

    • Yes, the mussels’ muscles can be stubborn. We tend to eat a lot of shellfish living on Cape Cod so we always have plenty of shells to choose from for crafting. Plus, empty clean shells wash up on the shore too. (The ocean does a great job at cleaning things!) For the shells where the muscles does not release after cooking the mussels, I typically discard them. When cooking mussels, adding them to a very hot pot for steaming helps them to release from the shells better. A pot that’s temperature is not optimal, can cause the mussels to stick in the shells. I hope this helps. Share your craft to my Facebook page when you are done. I’d love to see it!