Seashell Mobile

Make a seashell mobile from shells and driftwood collected from the beach.

Age: Adult

Difficulty: Medium

Time Scale: 4 out of 5

The time this takes will vary. It will depend on how large you want this to be. I made one that has quite a few pieces, so it was quite time consuming. If you choose to, you can do one that is smaller and it will take a lot less time.

seashell-mobile

Supplies:

  • Drill
  • 7/64th's drill bit
  • String
  • Shells... lots of shells
  • Clear Tacky glue
  • Beads with center hole big enough for string to fit through
  • Copper wire (mine was recycled from the inside of leftover electrical wire)
  • eye hooks
  • Drift wood
  • Spray sealer

Seashell Mobile How to

Rinse shells and let dry. Drill holes and wipe shells to clean off the dust.

Spray seal the shells and set them aside to dry.

Some of the shells were so nice I didn't want to drill holes into them.
I also didn't know how well that would work without wrecking some of them.

For the shells that you are not quite sure about, you can wrap them with wire instead. Use the copper wire and twist around the shell from the bottom to the top. When you get to the top, add a bead and twist a loop on top of that.

wire-wrapping-shells

To make my seashell mobile, I started with a fairly large piece of driftwood and put an eye hook in the top, center of it. I chose to have the piece running vertically because it was an interesting S shape.

Smaller pieces of driftwood would work better used horizontally.

large-piece-of-driftwood

After putting in the eye hook, wind a piece of fairly heavy copper wire, about 15 inches long, around a pencil into a curled shape. Put one end through the eye hook and loop and twist to secure. On the end that it will hang from, make a loop, twisting the wire so it will stay.

Wire-for-hook-in-driftwood

It is best if you can now hang this from a hook somewhere so you can check the balance on the pieces as you attach them.

Take a small piece of driftwood about 10 inches wide, and drill five holes across it.

Cut a piece of string about 15 inches long. Add a bit of tacky glue to the end of the string and twist it between you thumb and finger. This will make the end easier to thread through the shells.

Start at the bottom and work up. Leave an end about three inches long on the bottom of the string. Tie a knot, glue a bead in place using clear tacky glue. Resist the temptation to use hot glue for this project. Using hot glue to attach the string to the shells doesn't work well. It just makes a big mess.

Slide a shell that you have drilled a hole in, on to the string. Continue doing this all the way up the string. Tie a knot, put on a bead, glue the bead, add the shell, repeat until you have the length you need.

Stringing-shells

Put the string through the hole in the driftwood. Add a small bead and tie a knot. Cut the end of the string off and add glue. Smooth the string down. Continue doing this with four of the holes in the driftwood, leaving the center hole for the string to hang it.

stringing-shells-for-mobile

Tie a knot in the string that will be for hanging the piece and add a small bead. Thread this up through the center hole in the driftwood, from the bottom to the top. Add another bead on the top side and tie knots and add shells up this string. The length should be about 11 inches long but will vary depending on the driftwood pieces you decide to use. Leave extra string at the top end in case more shells have to be added later.

The driftwood pieces I used required certain lengths of string so that each hanging piece from the main piece would fit and not bump when turning. Stagger the lengths of the strings slightly. When the shells are attached add a string and then work your way across the piece of driftwood, checking for balance. Adjust by using bigger, heavier shells when necessary.

After this first piece of smaller driftwood has all the shells attached to it, hook it to the main piece of driftwood by putting the string through a hole that has been drilled in the main piece. Have the piece hanging up on a hook. Tie this but only loosely for now in the position that seems balanced. The reason you don't glue and secure this permanently right now is because once you start on your pieces on the other side, the balance changes and it might have to be adjusted.

Add-more-driftwood-pieces

Use the shells that are wrapped in copper for the bottom ends of each string of shells. Put the string through the loop in the wire, tie and glue. Always twist the glued string to get it to stick together well.

Continue making your seashell mobile by using another piece of small driftwood, and following the same steps for attaching the shells. Check what length you will need, before starting on them. If it is a piece of driftwood that is thick enough, attach an eyehook.

seashell-and-driftwood-mobile

If it isn't, then drill a hole through it and glue a bead on a string and put a string through the hole to hang it. For a piece of driftwood that is quite small, tie the string around, instead of drilling holes in it.

My seashell mobile has three separate sections hanging from the main piece of driftwood. One has four pieces hanging down and the two others have three. You can do as many pieces as you like. If you don't have many shells, you can do just one piece of driftwood and have the different lengths of string, with the shells hanging down from that. I have a lot of shells and wanted a way to display them, so that is why I decided to make a fairly large seashell mobile.

Starting out with a smaller piece of driftwood for your main piece and running it horizontally will make it less challenging when trying to get it balanced. You won't have to worry about getting everything lined up so the horizontal pieces aren't hitting the edges of the piece running vertically.

This project really can be made as simple or as complicated as you choose. Each piece that you hang to the main piece will affect the balance. Some may have to be adjusted as you go by adding more shells or beads.

After all the pieces have been attached and your seashell mobile is balancing properly, glue the tied ends of the string to help secure it.

Seal with at least two coats of spray sealer. If your seashell mobile will be outside, it should be sealed with a couple coats of urethane for extra durability.

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