Picture of Turtle Shell Mosaic Sconce
My husband and I share a love of nature... most especially the ocean.  When it's too windy to fish, we often go beachcombing for treasures together. 

On one of our treks, we discovered an aged, weathered turtle shell washed ashore.  I loved it's natural form and decided to give it new life as a Wall Sconce for our casita in Baja. 

Since I tend to be the creative/artistic half of our relationship and my husband is the practical/technical half, our collaborations (usually ;-) work out perfectly.  

Here is our most recent project, from start to finish.  It was easy, fun  and inexpensive to make.  We hope it inspires you to think outside-the-box and create something uniquely your own.        
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Step 1: Artist Tools and Materials:

Picture of Artist Tools and Materials:
  • Dremel Rotary Tool
  • Dremel Diamond Cutting Wheel
  • Dremel Drum Sander
  • Turtle Shell
  • Pencil and black sharpie
  • Masking Tape
  • Black Spray Paint
  • Polished Craft Seashells (purchased from Michaels Craft Store)
  • Gorilla Wood glue
  • Dry Lentils (really)
  • Black Spray Paint
  • Black and Champagne Acrylic Paint
  • Artists' paint brush
  • Clear Gloss Spray Paint
  • Wood wall plate
  • Light Socket and Cord
  • 40 watt Appliance Bulb
  • Wood wall plate and screws
  • 2 small Eye bolts
  • Picture frame wire

Step 2: Pre-mosaic Work:

Picture of Pre-mosaic Work:
To designate the mosaic outline,  I traced the natural lines of the actual bone plate with the black sharpie.

Next, I sketched a line around the areas to be removed.  I used the Dremel fitted with the diamond wheel to cut them away.  I also cut a rectangular section from the backside of the shell where the wall plate would eventually be attached.

The cut edges were sanded smooth with a sanding barrel.

I masked off the frontside cut-out sections and spray painted the inner shell and backside completely black.
pie2010201111 months ago
Your so lucky I could never find that on a beach except and old boat and buoy!
golond1 year ago

That shell was a great find, and you did a great job putting it to beautiful use. Kudos.

bajablue (author)  golond1 year ago
Thank you golond! :-)
How did I miss this one? This is absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing.
bajablue (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya1 year ago
What a nice thing to say! Thank you!!!
PrairieAir2 years ago
This is very similar to what I have been thinking of doing. I thought a Dremel tool might be the way to do it, but I wasn't sure since I don't have any experience with them, so I decided to google and see if anyone else had tried something like it. Thank you for posting this. I'm excited to give this idea a try now!
bajablue (author)  PrairieAir2 years ago
Thanks for commenting, PrairieAir. I'd love to see a picture or Instructable of you finished project!
bajablanca2 years ago
This is absolutely gorgeous ...
is sooo beautiful! I hope to find one shell in the fly market . or may be I try with a pumpkins...but may be is too transparent...but now I really want one!
bajablue (author)  marcellahella2 years ago
Thank you for such a nice comment, marcella.

A dried gourd might be pretty!
sunshiine2 years ago
Wow! Wow! Wow! This is beautiful!
Beautiful! Very decorative :)
bajablue (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
scoochmaroo2 years ago
bajablue (author)  scoochmaroo2 years ago
Zazowee? ;-D Thank you Scooch!
iceng2 years ago
Supreme Art.

bajablue (author)  iceng2 years ago
You're so nice... Thank you, A!
kz12 years ago
That really is beautiful! Nice work but to really appreciate it one should be in Baja standing within a couple feet of it........I'm free in November. :>) Seriously , it is gorgeous! Pretty work and what luck finding that shell, eh>
bajablue (author)  kz12 years ago
I couldn't agree more. We head back "home" to Baja in August... and that's not soon enough. ;-) Thank you for commenting!