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Shell-Covered Pots

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, March 2009


Embellish clay pots with shells for a beautiful -- and practical -- container gardeners will love. Be sure to wear a protective dust mask and use latex gloves while painting and sanding the pot.

Tools and Materials
Handmade clay pots (Those with a rough finish work best; we used 7-inch pots.)
Ingredients for paint solution (See list below for the paint colors we used.):

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup lime
  • 1 tablespoon acrylic paint

Protective dust mask
Latex gloves
2-inch chip brush
Spray bottle with water
Drying rack
Fine-grit (220) sandpaper
Dremel glue gun with fine tip
Shells (See list below for the names of the shells we used.)
Plant in plastic pot that is slightly smaller than decorated pot
Spanish moss

Shell-Covered Pots How-To
1. Mix paint solution with whisk. Use a 2-inch chip brush to paint exterior and just inside the lip of the pot.

2. While the paint solution is still wet, spray with water using a spray bottle on the stream setting. Let pot dry on a rack for one hour.

3. Lightly sand pot with fine-grit sandpaper to create a distressed finish.

4. Use a glue gun to affix shells to pots.

5. Place plant inside finished pot. The pot will weather better if the plant is in a plastic pot within the decorated pot. Place Spanish moss around rim of pot.

Our Paint Color and Shell Combinations

  • Primary yellow acrylic paint/Scallop shells and polished cay cay shells
  • Cobalt teal acrylic paint/Venetian pearls and blue green limpet shells
  • Violet oxide acrylic paint/Pectin pallium and pink umbonium shells
  • Chromium oxide green/Purple clam shells

Special Thanks
Special thanks to guests Rosie O'Donnell ("Crafty U") and radio hosts Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Koppelman Hutt ("Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer") for joining Martha to demonstrate this craft from "Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts." 

Martha used a Dremel Glue Gun with fine tip, which was given to our studio audience. Shells can be found on Handmade pots are available from


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