Shell & Sand Decorating Ideas
Light up a table with this sand-and-shell centerpiece. Use candle adhesive to secure slender tapers to the bottom of a clear glass vase. Carefully pour in a few inches of sand, then arrange shells on top. Besides refracting the candlelight for added ambience, the vase will protect the flames from breeze.
A string of beach treasures casts a dreamy glow on a patio or porch. To get the look, decorate a string of small white lights with clean, dry shells. Tape a 2-foot section of lights to your work surface with bulbs lying flat. Apply a thin layer of epoxy along the hinge edge of a shell, and press into place at the base of a light. Repeat for each bulb. Let dry about five minutes before continuing with the next section.
Shell Salt-and-Pepper Dishes
A half shell was good enough for Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." Can humble condiments require more? Four clam or scallop shells make a summery set of salt-and-pepper dishes. First, run four shells per set through a dishwasher, secured in the silverware caddy. For the base, turn two shells topside up, and hot-glue them together at the hinge. Glue together the other two shells; then lay them face up and crosswise over the base, and glue.
Substitute the usual plastic shade of a night-light with a shapely beach treasure. Look for shells with a flat surface that you can glue. Sea biscuits, scallops, and sand dollars all work well. Rinse the shell clean or soak in a bucket of water containing a capful of bleach until the shell just turns white. After letting the shell dry completely, apply epoxy glue to a night-light clip, and then press onto flat part of the shell. When dry, attach to socket.
Mercury mirror glass, available at fine glass stores, is well suited to weathered shells. Combine the two to make a beautifully aged mirror.
You can use oversize shells to bring a touch of the seashore -- and a romantic atmosphere -- to an evening at home. We used "lion's paw" shells (Lyropecten nodosus), available inexpensively from online auctions and souvenir shops. Fill a shallow tray with sand, arrange pairs of your prettiest specimens, and place a votive candle at the center of each pair (leaving room for the flames to flicker safely). Set the tray on a low table, and enjoy a quiet drink on the patio.