Cleaning Shells for Home Decor

The way I clean my shells is:
I put them in a bowl with half water and half bleach.
This eats away all the bugs, slime, dirt and anything else that has attached it self to the shell.
The amount of time to saok the shell depends on how bad it is.
If you have things on it that you don't want it can easily be cleaned with a pick or a knife and then let it soak some more.
Then rinse in water and let it dry.

Most real collectors say not to spray your shells with lacquer.
I don't display my shells professionally so I do spray my shells with clear lacquer and you won't believe the colour that comes out of them.
Make sure you spray them somewhere that is well ventilated and don't touch it until it's dry. Then turn and do the other side.
For fragile shells if they are not really dirty I just wash and let dry and spray. That becomes a sealent and makes the shell a little stronger.

Once you spray them what ever is on the shell it is there for life so make sure you have them clean. Nothing can bring back the colour of shells that have been lying in the sun for a long time.
However any colour that remains will be retrieved to considerable degree. If you want to show your shells on shows or trade them then you should use this solution:

1 part of mineral oil to 7 parts lighter fluid.

Take an old toothbrush and apply this solution to the shells.
Let dry overnight.
Remove excess oil in the morning with a paper towel.
The results are always gratifying and often surprising as well.
Hope this helps.

Julie S USA

You can decorate around a mirror with shells, a birdhouse, or use on a wreath, make a doll or an angel, decorated the top of a band or wicker box with shells/lace trim/& pearls. Here are several patterns. I hope this can help.

Hair Barrette - Materials:
3" metal barrette
3" plastic oval base
9" of 1/2" Off White gathered lace
Shells-Use small and med
3 pearlized Turbo
2 babylonia

Glue barrette to plastic base with E-6000. Glue lace around edges of base.
Arrange and glue shells on base with larger shells in center.

Pillar Candle - Materials:
6" pillar candle
3" x 10" of corrugated cardboard
pinking shears
Shells-3 Babylonia
2 White Cerithium
1 Turitella

Cut corrugated cardboard with pinking shears to 2-1/2" wide,
wrap around candle and glue in place.
Wrap raffia around cardboard, tie in a bow.
Glue shells in center of bow.

Photo Frame - Materials:
4" x 6" acrylic photo frame
Shells-3 black turbo
1 babylonia
9 mexican olive
small piece of coral
1 coquina
7 small dyed snail
1 cockle

Arrange shells and glue to lower corner of frame.

Diana USA

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