How to Put String on Cowrie Shell Beads

Updated February 21, 2017

You can use cowrie shells to make beautiful jewellery or other craft projects. Simply string them to make quick bracelets, necklaces or anklets. You can purchase cowrie shell beads with holes already drilled. This saves you a lot of work. Cowrie shells with pre-drilled holes generally do not cost more than shells without holes. Putting string on cowrie shell beads is a simple task that requires few tools.

Measure the cord to the length you want your jewellery to be. Wrap the cord around the wrist or ankle to get the correct length for a bracelet or anklet. Add 4 inches and then double the entire length. For example, if your wrist measured 4 inches, you would add 4 inches then double it all for 16 inches.

Fold the cord in the middle so that the ends are even. Put the folded middle through one of the holes in a cowrie shell. Push the cord through with a needle. Pull the cord out through the shell until you have a loop about 1 1/2 inches long. Tie a knot in the loop so the loop is about an inch long.

String one end of the cord through the other end of the cowrie shell. Pull the string all the way through until the shell is tight against the first knot. Pull the second end of the cord through the mouth of the cowrie shell so that it rests behind the teeth. Tie a knot with the two ends. Make sure the knot sits snug against the shell. Repeat with the remaining cowrie shells.

Tie the strung cowrie shells by slipping one end of the cord through the loop. Tie a double knot with the two ends. Cut off any excess cord but leave plenty for knot tying.


Use elastic nylon cord for easy stretchable bracelets and anklets. String the shells and tie a knot at the end.


The size of the holes in cowrie shell beads vary. Some might not be big enough for the cord and you must drill them bigger.

Things You'll Need

  • Cowrie shells
  • Nylon cord
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Marilla Mulwane has been writing professionally since 2005. She has published a fantasy novel for young adults and writes articles on literature, pets, video games and tattoos. Her poetry has been featured on the website and products for the nonprofit organization HALos. She graduated from the State University of New York, Oneonta with a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing.