My favorite seashells are the ones which have been battered by the waves, smashed, carved by sand and worn so thin only the iridescent shadow of their former selves remain. I can't walk along the beach and enjoy the sun -- my eyes are glued to the sand, ready to pounce before the next wave pulls its treasure back into the ocean. I collected these fragile shells without knowing how to use them -- they are so friable, most fall to pieces before I even get home -- then I discovered Sugru.
In case you don't know about Sugru, it is a new and interesting material with many qualities and just a few drawbacks: the main quality is that it's as easy (and fun) to use as play doh, but it also bonds to almost anything, does not shrink when it cures, it remains flexible, waterproof, and dishwasher proof once it cures, plus it is heat, cold and UV resistant. The cons are that it is not food grade (meaning you can't use it on anything which will come into contact with food) and it has a limited shelf life -- a few months, not a few years. This is really too bad, because it would be great to have around for odd repairs. Instead you will need to order it online (I don't think it's sold in stores) when you have a specific project or repair in mind.
For this necklace I used two 5g packs of sugru.
Step 1: Wire Foundation
I cut a piece of thin copper wire about 15.5" long (the precise length will depend on your neck and how big you want the necklace to be). You can use any wire which is flexible enough to bend easily, but stiff enough to hold its shape.
Form it into the proper shape around your neck, then use pliers to make one end into an eye, and the other into a hook.
Step 2: Apply Sugru
First, make a snake with one 5g pack of sugru and wrap it around your wire, leaving the hook and eye uncovered.
Next place your shells, a few at a time, in place on the sugru covered wire. Use a second pack to attach the shells from behind. Reinforce the super thin shells with plenty of sugru.
If necessary, break your shells with your fingers or pliers so they follow the curve of your wire.
Step 3: Cure the Sugru
Place the necklace on a 3D form so it hangs the way it would around your neck. The shells would stick out awkwardly if you let it cure on a flat surface. As you can see I used a pumpkin, but a ball would probably work too.
Curing Sugru 3mm thick takes about 24 hours. If the temperature is below 21°C (70°F) or if your piece is thicker it will take longer to cure.
Step 4: Apply Glue
The thin iridescent shells are so delicate they need to be reinforced on the front, too.
Simply cover them with a thin layer of regular white glue. Not only will it dry clear, it will also make the shells shine even more.
To learn more about my projects go to www.makeanything.net