DIY Seashell Necklace

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Not sure what to do with all those shells you collected from vacation? Pick one of your favorites and turn it into a DIY seashell necklace!

One of my favorite things about living near a beach, besides the amazing sun, soft sand, and gorgeous water {do you want to come visit me yet?} is collecting all sorts of seashells for DIY projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest or have floating around in my crafty little head.

Up North, I would have to wait for a vacation to collect my precious gems, or buy a pre-packaged bag at the local craft store. Now, I don’t have to spend a thing because our beaches are full of pretty shells just waiting for a new home. And you know how much beach inspired decor I have planned for our place!

I actually had a specific wall framing project in mind when I started my seashell collection, but then Dremel sent me a new crafty tool to play with, and I knew I had to repurpose one of my favorite shells into a beautiful necklace.

I’ve seen tons of seashell jewelry selling in Etsy shops, and though each of the artisans do beautiful work, I just can’t bring myself to pay those prices when I can easily do it myself at home for less. All I needed to figure out was how to drill a hole at the top of the shell without it cracking, and the Dremel became my go-to gadget!

Supplies Needed:

The Project:

Step 1: Pick a beautiful shell that you will love wearing around your neck, preferably without any chips or cracks.

DIY Shell Neclace | Creative Savings

Step 2: Using the grinder bit, hold shell down firmly with one hand and Dremel rotary tool in the other. Press down to slowly grind a hole into the shell.

DIY Shell Neclace | Creative Savings

The Dremel may try to “jump” because the bit is spinning so fast, so be careful and have a few back-up shells just in case! I had Joseph do this part…I think he was just as excited to try out the new tool as I was — it’s powerful and spins — need I say more?

DIY Shell Neclace | Creative Savings

Step 3: Grab a small jump ring and stretch it open, then loop the metal ring through the hole in the shell. At this point, you can feel free to add more shells or a charm if you’d like.

I had a starfish charm that I had saved from a previous necklace {the chain broke and I knew I would want to reuse the charm}. I think the two go just perfectly together!

DIY Shell Neclace | Creative Savings

Step 4: Squeeze the loop closed with needle nose pliers.

DIY Shell Neclace | Creative Savings

Step 5: Loop a chain through the jump ring {I used an 18″ one}, then try on your new necklace!

DIY Shell Neclace | Creative Savings

DIY Shell Neclace | Creative Savings

Total Cost: $5.18

chain necklace $3.99 | jump rings $1.19 | other supplies I already had

If you don’t have a Dremel rotary tool already, there is an upfront cost for that, but the more I look into this handy tool, the more excited I am to try out some new projects. It can do anything from etching, engraving, sanding, and polishing, and will be great to experiment with for our new home.

Plus, these necklaces would make such a fun and frugal gift idea for the Holidays, and only take 10 minutes a piece to make. You could even create seashell bracelets or earrings and gift an entire set!

Do you collect shells?

What projects have you made with them?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. Do you have any other recommendations for the drill as I don’t want to spend that much if there are any other options. Would a nail drill work? I see recommendations to drill under water due to shell dust being toxic. Could I get more details on that please? Does the whole shell have to be underwater while drilling? Am I just getting the shell wet?

  2. Seashells should always be drilled under water preferably outside with a mask on. The dust is toxic.

  3. I really love this idea! While I don’t have a Dremel, I’m sure that I can borrow one. I have a couple of questions for you. I have a ton of shells that I brought back from a vacation on Marco Island two years ago. I cleaned them in a soapy water solution with a touch of bleach. Is there a more proper way to clean them? My other question is, do you put any sort of “sealer” on the shells to give them a little ‘shine’? Thanks for your help. I can’t wait to get started!!

    1. I haven’t put a sealer on any of the shells that I have done but I’m sure there are some good products out there! As far as the cleaning is concerned, as long as you’ve gotten rid of the sea-smell you should be good to go! {I usually use a bit more bleach just to be sure}

  4. Drilling from the inside to the outside with a 3/32 inch drill bit works well for me. Use a hard surface under with a padding of newspaper (6 or 8 layers),makes nice cushion and easy cleanup.

  5. Lovely idea!!! But PLEASE BE AWARE THAT when drilling shells to do so under water and wear a mask and do it outside as shell dust is very toxic

  6. Love the seashell necklace. I’m at the beach collecting right now. I get my necklaces by recycling old ones I already have, stringing or restringing old beads and findings or sometimes I find things at garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores or from friends who know I’m crafty.

  7. I just got back from Florida with a bucket of shells…this is a picture of one of my favorites…Husband has the Dremel so I’m anxious to give this a try!! Thanks for a great idea!!

  8. This is so adorable! We are getting ready to go to Cali for a few weeks and I just might have to make one of these with my daughter. We always find the most awesome shells at the beach! Thanks for sharing. This is my first visit to your blog and I love it! Super creative!

    Fresh & Happy

    1. Thank you, Laura! I quickly popped over to your blog and absolutely love your photos. That is one part of blogging that I am still working on — though it is much improved over my first year’s worth of posts! Enjoy your trip to Cali! 🙂

  9. I love seashell jewelry! I’d love to get a dremmel someday too!! You’re right, it’s really handy!! Very pretty necklace & thx for sharing

  10. This is super pretty, Kalyn! I love how dainty and natural it looks.

    That Dremel looks impressive too. Hubby may be getting a few not-so-subtle hints for Christmas.

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