New This Month


Shell Specimen Pedestal

Photography: Gentl & Hyers

Source: Martha Stewart


Let your specimens determine the sizes and shapes of the wooden bases. Some need only to be glued to the bases; others need wire for stability.

Resources: Urchin Collection, Hardwood cube, hardwood balls, faced wheels, Unfinished wooden chicken eggs, and unfinished finials, Wooden goose egg, FolkArt acrylic paint, in Steel Gray, Golden Fluid acrylic paint, in Titanium White, Dremel Stylus cordless rotary tool kit, Devcon High Strength 5 Minute Epoxy,


  • Assorted sea-life specimens

  • Assorted wooden base objects

  • Drill, with 3/64-inch bit

  • 1 1/2-inch wooden bristle brush

  • Acrylic paint in gray and white

  • 5-minute epoxy

  • Wooden craft stick

  • Black wire

  • Wire cutters

  • Screwdriver and rubber mallet for sea fans and metal file for coral branches (optional)


  1. Select specimens, and choose appropriate wooden bases.

  2. If a base needs a hole for inserting a shell tip or support wire, drill hole 3/4 inch into base.

  3. Using paintbrush, apply 2 or 3 coats of watered-down acrylic paint to the bases, letting dry between coats, until the wood loses its yellowness but you can still see the grain. Glue any paired bases, and let dry.

  4. Prep specimens: Sea fans may need to have their bases chiseled and smoothed, and coral may need its ends filed. Sand dollars and shells with thin canals, such as spiny murex, need wire for support from the base. Cut wire, apply epoxy to the end, and insert into wooden base. Hold up specimen to gauge how much wire is needed within it, and trim excess.

  5. Use craft stick to apply epoxy to wire; insert wire about 2 inches into natural hole in back of sand dollar or into tapered end of shell, and let dry. Simpler specimens may be glued directly to the base.

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