Introduction: Upcycled Shell Jewelery

About: Hi I'm Jon I'm a engineering lecturer in Canterbury and interested in all things electronic if it lights up or makes a noise I need to tinker with it!

I work in an electronic workshop at college and was thinking about how much copper wire is thrown away or discarded. I found a way to reuse the wire by making it into some sick jewelry.

Luckily i live by the sea so i thought why not add some shells and other sea side bits?

I aimed to make a simple design that requires a minimal tools and just a bit of patience!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

I aimed to build a Bracelet that lit up so if you not fussed about it glowing then you wont need a lot of the equipment.


  • scrap copper cables
  • an assortment of sea shells ( i wanted to use some sea glass as well but couldn't find any)
  • Led's in any color you want (optional)
  • a 2V button cell battery (optional)
  • Lead free solder (optional)


  • an electric drill and drill pieces.
  • a sharp edged tool
  • a vice (optional)
  • soldering iron (optional)

Step 2: Stripping the Wire

copper wire often comes in a protective sheath which we need to strip to get at that beautiful copper beneath. there are many ways to strip wire (and always use whatever method you feel most comfortable with) my preferred method is making an incision one one side of the wire sheathing with a sharp object. once you have stripped the wire ensure you work out all the kinks in the wire.

Step 3: Braiding Wire and Attaching Shells

Ii wanted to use a cool design with the wire instead of just a single piece of wire. I opted to go for a braid design (my first attempt so i'm well chuffed).I ensured I kept the braids close knit as the would be going through small drill holes in the shells.

to thread the shells through wire braid you can either try and use any natural holes that may have occurred or drill them.If you are drilling holes I recommend holding them in place with a vice. take your time when drilling as shells can crack very easily.

when you have threaded all the shells you can either twist the wires together to create a continuous loop or solder them together permanently joining them together.

Step 4: Adding Light

Copper conducts electricity and so i had the brain wave of attaching a power supply and a light source so some of the shells will light up. Firstly solder 2 copper wires to a button battery. i then 'hid' this battery in a sea shell i then braided the copper wire i then glued a LED into a sea shell and soldered it to the copper wire. DO this for both sides of the led and when connected to the batter voila! A glowing Sea shell, I then added a few extra shells so it looked more fancy.

Step 5: Next Steps

I enjoyed up-cycling copper wire and their are few more ideas i'd like to have a go at. one thing i definitely want to try is oxidizing the copper and experimenting with changing the color as a bi-product of the oxidization process.

Jewelry Contest 2017

Participated in the
Jewelry Contest 2017