How to drill seashells for jewelry

Written by gail delaney
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Going to the beach and picking up seashells is a wonderful pastime. Many people gather shells to make jewellery or wind chimes. Whatever you plan to make, you may need to drill a hole into the seashell to hang it from a chain or string. Drilling a hole in the seashells is not too difficult. If you do it with patience, you will break fewer shells. Before you drill on your favourite seashell with a dremel, try to drill a few practice holes on seashells that are not so important.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Dremel
  • Assorted bits
  • Seashells
  • Vice or clamp
  • Mask

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  1. 1

    Soak the seashells in a bucket of warm soapy water for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash your seashells to remove the sand, dirt and debris out of the shell. You can use a soft-bristle brush to remove the dirt. Rinse the soapy water off the seashell and allow to air dry.

  2. 2

    With a narrow, felt-tip marker or pencil, make a dot where you want to drill your hole. Place a dot on the front side. If the shell chips while you are drilling, it will be on the back of the seashell.

  3. 3

    Carefully put your shell in a vice or a clamp. You need it to stay stationary so it does not move beneath the drill bit.

  4. 4

    Insert a ceramic drill bit into the dremel. Start out with the smallest drill bit. Hold the drill or dermal upright.

  5. 5

    Drill slowly, releasing the pressure off and on. Stop drilling so the bit cools down and then begin drilling again. This will help keep the shell from breaking.

  6. 6

    Change the drill bit to the next larger size. Continue increasing the size of the drill bit until the hole is as large as you want.

Tips and warnings

  • Seashell dust is toxic. Work in a well-ventilated room and wear a face mask.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying pieces of shell.

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