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Easy to Make Oyster Shell Mirror

I am so excited to show you how easy it is to make this Oyster Shell Mirror…or any seashell mirror DIY – seriously easy! And truthfully, it’s all about how to glue shells to wood…

With a few exceptions, I have always lived on the coast. My dad was a submariner in the US Navy and well…submariners need to be where the deep water is. So I lived a blessed childhood growing up in places like Hawaii, Guam, Charleston, SC, and San Diego, CA. When Terry and I moved to Nashville, TN for a job, I was pretty excited to live ‘kind of’ in the ‘heartland’. And while I loved Nashville, I always felt a little like a fish out of water, so when the opportunity came, we went back to the shore and will probably always live close to the ocean. 

Guess that makes me a mermaid of sorts.

All this to say, while I wouldn’t say I am a full-on ‘coastal decor’ gal, I do welcome those pops of the sea scattered throughout our home so you will find a few oyster shell crafts here and there…… 

For several years I’ve been hankering for an Oyster Shell Mirror. I’ve seen them at various stores, but could never justify the hefty price tag. This one is a perfect size, but I couldn’t quite swallow the $1,000+ ticket. 

A close up of a basket with oyster shell clusters.

Since I had many bushels of oysters from a past project sitting in my garage, the seed (or pearl?) was planted so that I could make one myself.

Oyster shell cluster.

Oyster Cluster

I started this project months ago, but it wasn’t coming together. I was using E6000 glue which I find useful for most things, but it just wasn’t ideal for this project.  Who knew gluing shells to wood could be so difficult? I needed something tacky and stiff enough to hold the shells in place while I moved them to where I wanted, and that was also easy to apply. After going through 2 tubes of E6000 on only 1/4 of the mirror, I knew I needed to find a different adhesive. Clearly, the key to success here was figuring out how to glue seashells to wood! Challenge accepted!  

Mirro base.

And while I was noodling adhesives, this mirror with a few oyster shells glued around it lay in the garage, dodging cars and bikes and a teenage boy on his way to the spare fridge. Shockingly, it refused to break…which was a constant reminder to me that Kismet wanted me to figure it out.

And since I just never really loved the stenciled mirror I made several months ago, I had the round piece of wood with a mirror in the middle. With those two critical oyster shell mirror ‘ingredients’ sitting in my home, it was just a matter of taking the time to put 2 and 2 together.

A vase of flowers on a table with closeup of oyster shell mirror in background.

I initially thought of plaster of Paris but was afraid that would add weight that I didn’t really want on something that would hang on the wall. So then, just what is the best glue for a seashell mirror?

So I went to my hardware store and met my new BFF Larry. We weighed all sorts of options and finally settled upon a quart of TEC Stick N Stay, primarily used in flooring. It was easy to apply, and after 24-48 hours, my oyster shells stayed in place. (That being said, make sure your surface isn’t slick at all…I had some places with metallic paint that didn’t have enough ‘tooth’ for the adhesive to grip. I sanded those areas after realizing why the adhesive wasn’t gripping. You can see what I’m talking about in the video below.)

In terms of where to find oyster shells, you can surely buy them online…but if you’re willing to work just a wee bit, you might be able to get them for free. If you have a fish market or restaurant that sells shucked oysters, call to see if you can collect the shells. Our fish markets have piles outside their back door that they are more than willing to let me pick through.

Oyster shell mirror and adhesive.

What I Used for a 36″ Oyster Shell Mirror

  • 400-500 cleaned oyster shells. I soaked them in bleach water and then scrubbed any yuck off. I then let them dry in the sun for a couple of days.
  • You won’t use all 400-500; you’ll only need about half that, but that should give you more than enough to pick through for the right sizes/shapes.
  • Plywood in the shape you want
  • Heavy-duty Picture Hangers
  • Mirror in the size and shape you want
  • TEC Stick n Stay, 1 quart is all I needed for this project, and I have about 1/3 of the quart remaining. You can find it in the flooring department of your hardware store. This is the best glue for a seashell mirror that I could find. It made the project so very easy and easily accomplished in the morning…granted, I started at 6 a.m.
  • Small trowel or like this putty knife

We get most of our building supplies, like the plywood and putty knife I used, at Home Depot. They have a wonderful program by which you can order here online and then pick-up at your nearest store within hours or at your convenience. 

A tub of adhesive with oysters glued on the mirror base.

How I Made My Oyster Shell Mirror

  • It’s easier if you attach your hanging hardware on to the back of your wood before your put your oysters on…ask me how I know!
  • Make sure your wood is clean and primed. I had some leftover silver paint on parts of mine, and the adhesive really didn’t want to stick there. I had to go back in and sand that part after the oysters still weren’t sticking several days later.
  • Placing the oysters on the mirror is best likened to putting a puzzle together. I wanted them to get bigger in size as I went out from the middle, but not all oyster shells ‘layer’ with each other well. This is why it’s a good thing to have more than you need so that you can pick and choose the ones that work best.

  • Oyster shells are partially glued on the mirror base.
  • To glue the shells to the wood, I put a good glob of the Stick n Stay on the parts of the oyster shell that would be touching the board or other shells.
    Oyster shell in a hand.
  • This video shows how I made the oyster shell mirror
  • When all the oysters were in place, I glued ‘tiny white cup shells’ (yup, that’s the name) along the edge of the mirror to finish it off.
    Oyster shells and Mirror.
Oyster Shell Mirror on a wall with a vase of flowers.

I LOVE THIS MIRROR!!!!  It turned out so much better than I had hoped and was easy to make. 

A vase of flowers on a table with oyster shells mirror in background.

It took me several hours, and I spent one full morning on it…but it really was quite fun figuring out what shell would work where. As I said, it was a bit of a puzzle.

And it is the perfect dash of coastal in our bedroom. 

Pin it for your future reference. And, if you are looking for more oyster shell projects, here are ten DIY oyster shell crafts for you.

Oyster shell mirror.

Thanks so much for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me!

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Until next time…

Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

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  1. I don’t comment much, so I wanted to let you I appreciate you and your blog! I, too, live on the coast – Gulf Coast of Florida – and this is my next project! Thanks.

    1. Hi Linda! I’m so glad you stopped by and thanks for your kind comments. I am familiar with the Gulf Coast…have family down there…so pretty sure you’ll be able to get your hands on some good oysters. Have fun with your project!

        1. Hi Gina,

          I *think* that would work, but I haven’t done it so I don’t know for sure. There sure are a lot of crafts out there that use plaster of paris to adhere shells, so I would give it a try!

    2. I live in CT where we have an abundance of oyster shells on the beaches. I am amazed at 40-50 lbs needed but totally understand having to have some to pick from to fill in. My husband put stone fasure on our home and he needed to do the same with the stones, piecing them in. This is a great way to use the oyster shells and make a one of a kind mirror. Very clever and a beautiful beachy piece. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Hi Ellen…

        Exactly, that’s not how many are actually on the mirror, but how many you need to choose from as it’s a bit of a puzzle to get everything to fit right. Thanks so much for popping in and hope that you stay safe my friend.



  2. I don’t comment much. I just wanted to let you know how much I like and appreciate your blog. This project is next on my list! I’m Gulf Coast girl! This will look sooooo good in my home, Thanks.

    1. Hey Linda! Well all the more reason for me to thank you for taking the time to comment today! And thanks too for your kind and encouraging words. I know you’ll be able to get your hands on some oyster shells in your area…my husband’s family spent a good deal of time in Panama City and so know you all have access to great seafood down there.

      Thanks again for stopping by and wishing you a fantastic weekend.

      Hugs, Lynn

  3. Wow you brought a whole new level of amazing beauty to oyster shells. I grew up off Puget sound in a fishing family which means oysters were always for dinner often. I love this project looks fun and so simple to make. Thanks for sharing I have a friend who will also love this.

    1. Oh Carole I am so glad you might have found a wee bit of inspiration…and glad your friend might enjoy it. It was really easy to put together once I figured it out and I do so love it.

      Wishing you a lovely weekend.

      Hugs, Lynn

    1. Aw thanks Robin! I am really so pleased with it…and had a good time putting it together. I’d do it again in a second.

      Thanks for popping by.

      Hugs, LYnn

  4. Lynn this is absolutely stunning! It makes quite a statement when you walk into the room. Sadly we don’t have oysters around my way but if they did I would definitly try this.

  5. Lynn, I REALLY love this mirror! I’ve always wanted to try making a seashell frame for a mirror, but even that takes a ton of work and using the right shapes and sizes in the right places. Using these oyster shells look a tad easier and its gorgeous!

      1. Lynn, Lake Michigan is all fresh water which means zero oysters! If you’ve got tons to spare or could get your hands on more, I’ll gladly pay you if you bring them to Haven with you. I’m actually driving down from Michigan this year and hope to hook up with Tammy along the way!

    1. Thanks Marci…it really looks great in my room with all the subtle and calm colors in there. I would make another in a minute…really quite a fun project once I figured out the right adhesive.

      Thanks for popping by.

      Hugs, Lynn

  6. Lynn yours is far more beautiful than the inspiration piece! Just had oysters last night. We live in RI so will have to start saving to copy. Gorgeous!

    1. Hey there Kim…thanks for that lovely compliment. I have to say, I really do adore everything about that mirror…way up there on the list of ‘favorite things I have made’. And surely you have some fish stores that will let you come raid their discards!!
      Thanks so much for taking a minute out of your day to send those kind words!
      Wishing you a lovely rest of your Sunday and a relaxing Labor Day.

      Hugs, Lynn

  7. Hi Lynn! This is rhe most beautiful oyster shell mirror I have ever seen. I am going to attempt to make one. I am cleaning the shells now. I too am originally from Panama City and now live on the Alabama coast. I once lived in north Georgia, so I understand about being a “fish out of water”. I used to say that all the time. Could you give me an idea of how large your mirror is and how large the circumference is? Also would you share what you used to hang it with? Thank you!

    1. Aw thanks Yvonne my friend! I’m still pretty smitten with it myself! It’s always a good thing when the image I have in my mind actually comes to fruition.

      The mirror is, from end of oyster shell to end of oyster shell, 34″ in diameter and the mirror is 14″. I wish I could tell you exactly what I used to hang it up, but I didn’t save the packaging (bad me!)…but I can tell you that I got it at Home Depot in the picture hanging stuff area and both the attachments on the back of the mirror and the hanger in the wall were for heavy (maybe 50 lbs?) items. I hope that helps my friend!

      Have fun making it!

      Hugs, Lynn

      1. Thank you so very much Lynn. I just hope mine will look half as nice as yours. I was smitten when I set eyes on yours! Have a wonderful evening!

  8. Hi Lynn,
    I love the oyster shell mirror so I decided to start collecting oyster shells! My question is, can I use an old mirror with a wood frame? Would that be too heavy when the shells are on?


    1. Hi Guia, It’s hard to say if that would be too heavy. I know my mirror weighs about 20 pounds. I was able to find hangers that accommodated 50 lbs at Home Depot. Let me know what you decide to do.

  9. Hey lynn – could I glue the oyster shells directly into the mirror? I have one that came with the house and it’s huge as is so I wouldn’t add any plywood to it. Let me know!

    1. Hi Dani,

      I really don’t know! I have never glued on to mirror before, but if I did I would try Loctite PL® 520 Mirror Adhesive.

      Pop back and let me know what worked for you!

  10. This mirror is GORGEOUS!! What are the dimensions of your pieces? Miror diameter, wood.diameter, and thickness of wood used? Is it just standard plywood? I can’t wait to start mine! Thanks 😊

    1. Aw, thanks Stacie! It truly is one of my favorite ‘things I’ve made’. It is just regular plywood, 1/4″ thick. The board is 32″ in diameter and the oysters extend about another each all the way around, making the board 34.5″ diameter.

      Have fun making it! It really is easy, a little like a puzzle piece. Went together much quicker than I thought it would. Don’t paint your board, but make sure the board and oysters are free from dirt/debris to get a good ‘stick’.

      Have a great day my friend.

      Hugs, Lynn

  11. Do you custom make mirrors? I am interested in a full length oyster shell mirror for our place in Kiawah Island

  12. Love love love your minor and I’m going to attempt to make one. Your oysters look so nice and clean and the edges don’t look that rough. Do you have a contact on where to buy them.
    Thank you

    1. Good Morning Monique!

      Thanks for the oyster mirror love! Truth be told, it is one of my favorite DIYS…ever! It has now hung in two homes and is just perfect!

      As to where to get oysters, do you live near a fish store? That’s where I got mine…just went to behind the store and started picking through their pile of discards. They were more than happy to let me do it…of course I asked first! I then soaked them in bleach and scrubbed them to remove any oyster meat that still remained. In the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ category, I also had the brilliant idea of running them through my dishwasher and ended up with a whole bunch of sand in my lovely Miele dishwasher…not recommended! 😜😜😜

      If you don’t have somewhere you could go pick them yourself, there are some listings on Etsy. This vendor seems like she would work with you to get what you need.

      There are 250 shells on my mirror, but you need more if you want uniform sizes as you go around. On my mirror, I have the smaller oyster shells as the first round and then they increase in size until the bigger ones are at the outside.

      I hope this helps! Do let me know where you end up getting your oysters…I often have readers asking and would love to be able to recommend some vendors.

      Have a great day my friend and stay safe.



  13. I used that adhesive and some of the shells fell off even a year later. I had to use hot glue to glue them back on. I’m looking for another adhesive for my next project.

    1. Hi Debbie, I am sorry to hear that! I did have a little problem, but I used a piece of wood that was partially painted and it seemed that the glue didn’t adhere only where the wood was still painted. Out of curiosity, was your wood bare or painted?

  14. What a beautiful mirror! It’s truly a work of art! I found you while browsing for any mirrors that were white rounded wicker. After reading your entire “blog”, I have changed my original plan from miscellaneous shells to your style! Also, your adhesive might just work! I will send you the results once my project is completed. Thank you so much!

  15. I live on the coast and oyster shells are plentiful. I have made several crafts/ art pieces and a simple glue gun works great for gluing oyster shells.

    1. Hi Colleen, I agree about the glue gun. The only problem is that there are ALOT of shells on this mirror and I was going through glue sticks like no one’s business!

  16. Your mirror is beautiful, thank you for sharing. I’ve used the Tec stick n stay in several projects but understand it’s now discontinued. Have you found a replacement that works as well? I appreciate any suggestions

  17. Hi Lynn,

    Any chance you have a picture of the back? I am so obsessed with this project so I am determined to give it a go (assuming I can hunt down the oysters!)

    Also, I know you mentioned priming the wood first. Did you prime and then sand? because I don’t want the color of the natural wood to show through but I also don’t want the shells to not stick. Thank you so much for the break down of this gorgeous DIY!


    1. Hi Suzie,

      I don’t have one off hand, but I’ll get hubby to take it down so I can get a picture and send it to you. Give me a day or two.

      I sanded and then primed. The only reason I sanded is that I had a coat of paint on the wood. If you are using raw wood, you could get away with just priming.

      I so love that mirror! I know you will, too. Do you have your oyster shells?

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