DIY Oyster Shell Clusters: easy home decor
Hello friends, popping in today with a quick little project. These inexpensive and easy to make DIY Oyster Shell Clusters or Oyster Shell Balls will bring natural coastal charm to your home decor. But first, the back story…
In June, Terry and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a road trip to New York’s Hudson River Valley. We love to travel and so I think Terry was a tad surprised when he asked me where I’d like to go to celebrate. He was thinking “Caribbean, Europe, San Francisco” and I was thinking “keep it simple, road trip like the olden days.” I have never been to Hudson River Valley, so that is where we headed.
Back in the day, before we had kiddos, we would take day trips and go antiquing, go to antique auctions and just explore. That’s what I had in mind for this trip.
So we left our NC home early one morning and traveled up the coast, with the Hudson River Valley being our final destination. Our travel plan took us up the Eastern Shore of Maryland, to the charming little town of St. Michaels for our first night.
Along the way, we stopped at several antique stores, like we used to do. It was in one of these little stores that I found a great wire oyster basket. Given the iconic status of the oyster on the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay, I felt it was that kismet thing. That the oyster basket needed to come along with us.
Terry, who still hasn’t fully drunk of my ‘it’s kismet’ kool-aid, wasn’t quite sure of what I would do with this very rusty, very old wire basket. But I assured him I would come up with something and so he just smiled that ‘whatever dear’ smile and off we went.
However, I don’t know what you would call it but kismet when we checked into our hotel that night and what graced my nightstand but…an oyster shell cluster/oyster shell ball! I mean, clearly a sign…right?
When I got back home I looked into sourcing some oyster shells for this project, which would prove a little more difficult than I originally thought since I live by the ocean.
I know that the summer months are the months that oysters are not harvested (oysters are only harvested in the months with an ‘r’ in their name). However, as I know that our state, and particularly the area I live in, have a robust oyster shell recycling program I figured that there would be plenty of shells for my project in one of the recycling areas. WRONG!
Word to the wise: it is against the law to take shells from the oyster recycling areas. And since we do have a robust program, most restaurants in my area take their shells to the recycling center.
There was a brief moment in time when I thought “Are you kidding me, here I live on the coast of North Carolina and I may have to buy my oyster shells online?!”
But, kismet intervened as it often does, and I found myself in the back of a local fresh fish store digging through a pile of oyster shells on a recent day when the thermostat hit 100°! (Kismet took me to the fish store, it didn’t promise ideal conditions!)
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I hosed my oyster shells off and went to work on my oyster shell clusters. In addition to the shells, I purchased some styrofoam balls (just slightly bigger than a tennis ball) and used my glue gun and some glue sticks.
I spray painted the styrofoam a dark gray so that the white wouldn’t show. If I had a lighter color, more of an oyster shell color, I would’ve used it. But the gray worked fine.
If you can’t find what you need, Michaels will have supplies for most every crafting need under the sun. You can order online here and have it shipped or you can pick it up at your convenience.
There is really no rocket science to this oyster shell cluster and can’t claim that I invented this process. There are several folks making and selling them on the internet.
The process of making these oyster shell clusters was really a very simple process of glue and stick. I began by putting a ring of oysters around the middle of the sphere and then I worked up one side; I did put the oysters in pairs of similar size but may try doing them singly next time.
If the first ring was the middle of the sphere, I worked each successive band angled slightly to the top of each half.
And, I really jammed the oyster into the foam where I put the glue. As a result, when I finished one side and turned it over to do the other side, none of the oyster shells became loose or dislodged.
Because I had an abundance of oyster shells, I made several oyster shell clusters/oyster shell balls to fill my oyster basket.
I can’t imagine anything looking so good in the oyster basket than the oyster shell clusters do…just meant to be. It was fun to play around with where to put the oyster shell clusters and right now I have them split between the basket and the mantle.
I ❤️ my Oyster Shell Clusters!
Looking for more Oyster Shell Crafts?
This Oyster Shell Mirror is without a doubt, in the top ten of my favorite home decor projects and my favorite oyster shell craft. And, it was a really easy project…like a big puzzle. The key is the glue! And my daughter loves this Oyster Shell Lampshade…it is a bit of a funky and fun oyster shell project.
To refer back to this post on how to make an Oyster Shell Cluster, bookmark this page or pin the following image. And, if you are looking for more oyster shell projects, here are ten DIY oyster shell crafts for you.
This was really a quick project, I made them all in one day. Now I’m noodling more projects with oyster shells since I know where to get them (legally)!? And if you love it, pin it! I’ve made it easy for you↓↓↓
Looking for another home decor idea? Check out this post for easy DIY decorative tassels.
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I LOVE these. I’ve never seen an oyster cluster before and it’s beautiful. My mind is spinning on how I can get my hands on some oyster shells.
Hi Carolyn! So good to hear from you this Friday morning. I know I’ve seen oyster shells online, but you may just want to call your local fresh fish store knowing that you’ll have better luck once September rolls around. It was such an easy project…one of those immediate gratification kind of things, which makes me a happy gal.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Living in the Midwest, I’ve never seen these before. Love the look! What a cool momento of your 30th anniversary trip.
Hi DJ and thanks for coming by today. They really did turn out pretty cool if I must say so myself! If you wanted to make some, I would think you’d be able to get shells from your local fish market. They may be more than happy to ‘share’ the with you.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
Wow. I am so homesick now!!!! I am a Marylander born and raised. However, Florida is now my home. You sure took me back to the *Olden Days*!!!! lol I love the oyster ball and you can bet I will have one as soon as I come up with the shells. Thanks so much for the new project and a trip down Memory Lane.
Aw Linda…I hate to make you homesick but…have to say that we really did enjoy our brief stay in your home state. Are you familiar with St. Michaels and Easton? Such lovely little towns. I would imagine you’d have your fair share of oysters down there in Florida…just remember, don’t take them from the recycling facility!
Thanks for coming by today and dropping a note, it is so appreciated.
Those clusters are amazing! I recently did a post about polishing the sells to make them sine, I would love to have you read it.
Hi Kellie! I’d love to see your post! I’ll go look for it. I’m planning a few more oyster shell crafts and can definitely see wanting to use some shiny ones!
Thanks for swinging by.
Lynn, I am seriously impressed with your glue gun skills. I would have shattered the poor oysters into a thousand bits. I l ook at them as if they are frail and brittle. haha. Your “kismet” antenna was spot on and y ou did an excellent j ob. Dare I say it looks even better than the original piece you saw at the hotel?
Happy 30th anniversary and so glad to see you up in my neck of the woods. Btw, that Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel is the most impressive thing I have ever seen in my life. I went down to Virginia years ago and was blown away by it. From far away it looks like you are driving straight into the bay.
Hi Mary, between the two of us we are celebrating all sort of anniversaries lately.
As it relates to the oysters, they are much stronger than they appear. After I did one-half, I turned the ball over and pushed down on them while I pushed the others in and not one cracked or broke! I was really quite surprised that I did’t have to reglue any.
I love your oyster shell bald. I have hundreds of sea shells after living in s. Florida forever. Now that I live in NC I dont know what to do with them. Now I will try sorting the shells into categories an try a few different balls. But no oysters from FL. Lots of scallops! I’ll take pictures if I succeed. You have such great ideas Lynn?
Hi Joan, if you are in NC, you should be able to find some at your local fresh fish store! I love the ideas of of making the balls with different kinds of shells, do take pictures and send them! I’d love to see them.
Thanks for visiting and wishing you a fantastic week.
Hi, Lynn. Your oyster shell clusters turned out beautifully! Great job. I love that you kept your shells and your oyster basket natural. I really like the natural, sculptural shapes that the clusters took on as you glued them to the center styrofoam balls. Very nice!
Hi Mimi…thanks for stopping by today! I’m pretty tickled with how those clusters turned out and now I’m brainstorming other ways to use the oyster shells since I have found a source. Don’t you just love that basket!? I’m so glad I brought it home.
Many hugs, Lynn
Lynn, these look great! It’s interesting it was so hard for you to find oyster shells originally (sorry to hear that! I feel your pain), but on the other hand it’s great to hear the shell recycling is so well adhered to! 🙂 Beautiful decor though (and yay for the John Steinbeck short stories book in your one picture!) 😀
Hi Liz…thanks for stopping by today. I know…who’d a thunk I’d have to really scrounge for the oyster shells!? But it all worked out…that kismet angel on my shoulder! And as the daughter of a reading teacher…think I’d be disowned if I didn’t have a well-stocked library and love the the stories of John Steinbeck. What is your favorite?
Wishing you a lovely week.
Lynn, your creativity is over-the-top! And your alignment with “kismet” events is so much fun. I can just hear that awesome wire basket in the antique shop whispering “take me home…I belong to you.” And, voila, once in your hotel room you knew exactly why. There’s a little kismet angel always riding on your shoulder! This post leaves me with a big smile, and admiration, as always, for following your intuition!
Aw, thanks Rosie! Your kind words always lift me up. And I am a firm believer in Kismet…aren’t you? “it’s meant to be” is one of my most used phrases.Thanks so much for coming by today.
I never would have thought of making oyster shell clusters. They are too cute and so summery! Great photos to show the step-by-step instructions.
Hi Mindy, Thanks for swinging by today! These were so easy to make…one of those immediate gratification kind of projects. And I love how they look…now I’m noodling other projects using oyster shells…stay tuned!
Have a great day…Lynn
Wow, these look amazing! I have never seen an oyster cluster before. Such a cool project. I have been trying to pick a place for my 10-year anniversary and I’m starting to lean towards traveling close to home as well.
Hi Julianne…you know, I LOVE to travel inside and outside of the country, but there are times when easier is just really better…and more relaxing…which is what we are often aiming for anyway. Happy 10th! And thanks for coming by to visit today.
Many Hugs, Lynn
These are awesome! You said that you rinsed them off — did you use bleach? Or soap? Is there a residual smell? Great job:)
Good Morning Kat…I did not use bleach, but I might have used just a little soap. There was just a wee bit of dirt on them
They had been sitting outside in the elements for months, so there was nothing in them that would cause them to smell anymore. However, if you used ‘fresher’ oyster shells, I think you might need to use bleach or soap.
Thanks for swinging by today! Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day!
I LOVE this! My friend has an oyster pit, and I got 5 gallons of shells. I just finished an oyster ball, and an oyster “bloomin’ onion” following the lines of a concreted cluster. Thanks for the inspiration!
Yeah!!!! You probably have enough to make a mirror and you are a girl after my own heart…I’ve been channeling all things ‘oyster’ for a while too. Once they are cleaned they are really so pretty…one of natures unsung beauties.
These are great! I love that basket, too! I have a bunch of oyster shells. (Your supposed to return them to the beach, but they’re so gorgeous and I may get around to that later). I’ve seen lots of these and I like yours nest of all. Thank you for sharing!
Btw, oyster shells make very pretty sounding wind chimes, too!
Oh Katje, Thanks so much for your kind comment. And I do love that basket too! It was a fun find. I know that oyster shells are recycled in my area too, but didn’t have a problem getting a few.
Hope you have fun making your clusters!
Way cool! I have seen them at the Philadelphia Flower Show and wondered how to make them. I envisioned drilling and wiring and trying to make a sphere and gave up. Your idea is so much simpler, and therefore doable. I do so love instant gratification! Thanks Lynn
Hi Trudy, From one Instant Gratification gal to another, I am thrilled to provide a wee bit of instant gratification to your world! It really was pretty darn easy to make and I do love how it looks in my dining room.
Have a fantastic day my friend,
Great post! I am planning on making some for the holidays
Oh Good Maria…I’m sure you have plenty of oysters down there!