DIY: Dipped Shell Necklace


While we were at the beach, tropical storm Baryl came through town. It was pretty short-lived, but it washed up a bunch of interesting shells onto shore.

We took a long walk as a family (my parents, siblings and wee ones) picking up cool shells and poking at all of the jellyfish. I didn’t take too many home with me, except for a few that I wanted to use for supplies for projects. I thought it would be fun to make my own memento of our family vacation to the beach.

I thought dipping shells would be the perfect way to include sea shells into my wardrobe and personality. It’s also a great way to use some funky-shaped shells. Read more for the tutorial (it also includes helpful tips on working with corded leather!).

DIPPED Shell Necklace


I looked for shells with holes already bored into the tops. It’s not hard at all to find these. The more irregular the holes, the better!

Tape off the area for painting.

Paint with your desired nail color in strokes parallel to the shell’s ridges and away from the tape so you don’t get any paint under the tape. Allow to partially dry before removing tape, a minute or two.

Tie knots with the end of each around the middle of the other. You can see this technique here and here. If your cording is coiling and not laying flat, iron underneath a scrap of cotton on high with steam. Allow to sit a couple minutes before moving.

Thread the middle through the hole.

Thread the knotted end through the middle loop.


• OR •

Cut your piece of cording to the desired length and knot the ends together.

Thread the middle of the cording through the bottom side of the shell, and stopping as the knot hits the hole of the shell. This is good for shells with small holes.

Wear or give away to a friend!

This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. Do not copy this post, publish more than 2 photos or outright steal this idea for commercial publications. If you would like to use this tutorial for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

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    1. Rachel says:

      okay, this is really cool!

    2. phil says:


    3. Katie says:

      These are super rad. I’m heading to the beach next week and I think I just might have to do some extra shell hunting while I’m there. :) Also, where did you get your cording? What kind is it? I don’t really like chains (just the way they feel on my neck) and I’m never sure what to use as an alternative.

    4. Melissa says:


      I used 1mm leather cording. I got mine at Tandy Leather, but you can easily buy it at craft supply stores or amazon.

      You can get 2mm leather cording, but it’s a lot thicker, and you might not be able to string it through the tiny holes in the shells.

      Have fun at the beach next week!!


    5. Heidi says:

      I really like the yellow painted shell. I should really incorporate some neon into my wardrobe. So fun!

    6. nikki says:

      the neon yellow is rocking next to your turquiose shirt. seriously love this tute!

    7. Chelsea C. says:

      Love this, girl! xo

    8. David Preston says:

      Such a cute and easy idea!

    9. These are so cute! I think these would also make perfect bridesmaids gifts, especially for a beach-themed wedding. They look easy and pocket-book-friendly. Thank you!

    10. Katie says:

      These are so pretty! And what perfect timing… so perfect for summer! :)

    11. Lisa says:

      Such a great mix of styles! These are really cool

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