How to Make a Bracelet From Cowry Shells

Written by claudia sinclair
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How to Make a Bracelet From Cowry Shells
Cowrie shells naturally come in a variety of shades and colours. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Cowrie shells have been used as currency, symbols of fertility and social status in parts of Africa. The shells develop naturally with a slit in their centre, making crafting with them easy. Beginners and artisans alike use the shells as accents in jewellery or string many together for a dramatic look. The range of the shell's dark to light colours allows the crafter endless ideas for designing necklaces and bracelets.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cowrie Shells
  • Nylon cord or jewellery floss
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Measure the size of your wrist. Double that measurement and add 6 inches. Cut that amount of cord or floss. For example if you want the bracelet to be 8 inches, cut 24 inches of floss. The reasoning is that if your wrist is about 8 inches, double that measurement and add 6 inches.

  2. 2

    Thread one cowrie shell onto the floss. Slide the shell to the midpoint. Tie a knot in the floss to hold the shell in place. This will become the bracelet's clasp.

  3. 3

    Thread one end of the floss through the top of the shell and the other end of the floss through the bottom. Hold the floss firmly and slide the shell down to sit against the clasp shell. Tie a knot to hold the shell in place.

  4. 4

    Repeat threading each shell, sliding and knotting. The shells should all be facing the same direction. Check length against you wrist as you add your shells.

  5. 5

    Tie last knot twice for an extra secure hold. Tie one of the ends into a loop that is slightly larger than the clasp shell. Cut away the other end and any extra floss from tying the loop. The first shell will slide through the end loop, creating a clasp.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply a drop of super glue or clear nail polish to seal end knot. Allow to dry before wearing.

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