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How to Harden Shells for Jewelry

Spending a day at the beach can be a fun activity for the whole family. One of the best ways to keep your kids distracted on this excursion through the sand is by collecting seashells. If the shells of these animals are small enough they can be turned into beautiful pieces of jewellery to commemorate the day. To accomplish this, shells must be hardened to ensure they will stay durable for years to come.

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Remove whatever remains of the mollusc by either boiling the shell for 10 minutes or freezing the shell until the remains can be removed with a fork or any other sharp object.

Soak the shell overnight in a bucket that contains straight bleach. Wear a pair of rubber gloves when working with bleach.

Scrub the shells with a bristle brush covered with a solution made with equal parts water and bleach. This will remove any debris or barnacles that may be still living on the shell.

Continue scrubbing until any unwanted substances are completely removed from the shell's surface.

Rub the shells with mineral oil to help preserve the lustre.

Allow the shells to harden naturally by placing them in the sun or covering them with a small paint brush dipped in a mixture of water and Elmer's glue after the shell is completely dry.


If the mollusc is removed but the shell still smells, bury it in your yard for six months and allow the ants to eat whatever remains.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Bleach
  • Scrub brush
  • Water
  • Mineral oil
  • Paint brush
  • Elmer's glue

About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.

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