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DIY Cottage Oyster Shell Garland: A Unique Coastal Craft Idea

Looking for a unique coastal craft to add a touch of charm to your home? Look no further than this DIY cottage oyster shell craft garland! This easy-to-make oyster shell craft is perfect for beginners and can be customized to fit your style.

I decided the beach cottage could use a touch of fall, and after seeing some vintage fishing corks in a shop, a nautical garland would be perfect.

I have been planning to create a DIY cottage craft using oyster shells, and I thought adding vintage fishing corks would make a charming rustic nautical garland.

After browsing for old fishing corks, I soon discovered they were beyond my budget. As a result, I opted to craft imitation nautical corks utilizing wooden beads.

I am thrilled to show you the outcome of this project! The authenticity is simply breathtaking, and I can’t wait for you to see it for yourself.

Where To Get Free Oyster Shells

Oyster shell crafts are very budge-friendly because you can usually get your shells for free.

If you have a Seafood Restaurant in your area, you should have no problem getting free oyster shells.

If you’re a fan of steamed oysters like me, make sure to ask the restaurant to save your shells in a to-go box. And don’t worry if you’re not a fan; inquire with the waitress about saving some shells from other diners.

Oyster Shells to Make a Coastal Craft

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How To Prepare Oyster Shells for Crafts

Preparing the oyster shells almost immediately is important to avoid an unpleasant odor.

Begin by adding the oyster shells to soapy water and washing thoroughly, ensuring that all oyster meat is removed from the shell.

Rinse the shells and then transfer them to a bucket filled with 1 part water to 1 part Clorox.

Allow the shells to soak for a few hours to remove any odor residue.

Rinse and place on a surface lined with a towel or paper towel. Allow shells to dry for several days before proceeding.

How To Drill Hole in Oyster Shell For A Coastal Craft

If you plan to use your oyster shells for a garland or hanging coastal craft, it will be necessary to drill a hole in the shell to attach twine or fishing line.

Oyster shells are surprisingly hard. To drill a hole, you will first need a masonry drill bit.

I recommend a 1/8-inch masonry drill bit if you use a heavy-weight jute twine for your garland.

You can use a handheld cordless drill but must be careful to keep the shell steady. If possible, I recommend using a drill press as a safer option.

This small Demel drill press is a perfect, budget-friendly option.

Drill a hole in the oyster shell with a masonry drill bit using a drill press.

How To Paint & Decorate Oyster Shell Craft

Now you are ready to paint and decorate your shells.

After cleaning the shells, I decided the natural organic, pearly surface was perfect for our rustic beach cottage decor. However, to add a touch of glam, I added Gold Leaf Rub N Buff to the outside edge and back of the shell.

To add the outside rim, I added a drop of gold leaf to a napkin and wiped around the edge.

To add color to the backside of the shell, I used a cheap paint brush and brushed the gold left over the surface. I didn’t go for 100% coverage because I liked some of the white shell exposed.

Brush RubNBuff gold leaf to the oyster shell craft.

Although I used the faux cork beads for most of the coastal garland, I attached a gold bead to the oyster shell.

The beads were rubbed with the gold leaf using a paper towel.

To add the bead, attach a small length of jute twine and string a single gold leaf bead at the top of the shell.

How To Make DIY Nautical Corks

After seeing the vintage fishing corks, I began searching for large beads that were shaped similarly to the corks I had found.

I found these large round beads and a package of large oblong beads on Etsy. They were close in size and style to the real vintage corks.

So this is how to make the beads look like DIY Nautical Corks.

While I worked on the shells, the wooden beads were soaked in coffee to stain the wood.

After soaking for a few hours, remove and allow them to dry.

How To Distress Beads

Next, to create a distressed cork appearance, I used a knife to damage the surface of the beads.

You can use an ice pick, scissors, knife, or nail to gouge out pieces of the wood.

Once the beads are distressed, add a coat of dark wax to the damaged areas and buff until the beads are smooth.

I think the results look really authentic.

Distress the wood bead and add dark wax to create a faux fishing cork appearance for coastal garland

How To Assemble Oyster Shell Craft For Coastal Garland

Finally, to assemble the Oyster Shell craft, lay out all your beads to get a general idea of the coastal garland length.

Cut the jute twine several inches longer for a tassel and knotting.

To begin, tie a knot leaving the amount of tassel you desire. Start adding your beads to the twine in any order that you want.

String beads on jute twine for a coastal garland

To add the oyster shells, tie the jute twine from the outside around the larger string of the garland. You should tie in a tight knot and cut any excess away. Pull the bead tight around the oyster twine to conceal the knot.

Add oyster shell crafts to the wooden garland.

Continue until the jute twine is filled with your beads and shells.

After the garland is complete, cut away excess twine and ravel the jute twine at the ends to form a tassel.

How To Decorate With Coastal Garland

There are several ways to display your coastal garland.

It looks beautiful hanging from a pegboard rack or coat rack.

DIY Cottage Oyster Shell Garland: A Unique Coastal Craft

I’ve added mine to the accent wall in a beach cottage, and it’s a perfect complement to the DIY nautical mirror.

Oyster Shell Garland hanging on Accent Wall peg board.

The coastal garland also looks great on a vintage platter or wooden bowl. You can mix it with additional sea shells for a table arrangement.

The garland also looks fantastic when placed on the center of a nautical tablescape as a table runner.


Other Coastal-Inspired Craft Ideas

Other Garland Tutorials

I hope you enjoyed today’s coastal craft idea. The coastal garland is a timeless decor addition used year-round to decorate a coastal-inspired home.

Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

Oyster Shell Garland with DIY Faux Fishing Corks


Monday 16th of October 2023

The “corks” look fantastic. What a brilliant idea.


Tuesday 17th of October 2023

Wanda, I was happy with the results. Old corks are so expensive and this was a budget-friendly alternative.

Cheryl Atkinson

Saturday 9th of September 2023

Another fantastic DIY! Those beads came out so pretty. Thank you for sharing!


Sunday 10th of September 2023

Cheryl, Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your encouragement.


Friday 18th of August 2023

Love these


Friday 18th of August 2023

Regina, Oh, Thank you so much.

Teri Pickens

Monday 14th of August 2023

I love your dirt road adventures and the dirt road recap. The oyster garland is to die for! Have a great week, Teri


Monday 14th of August 2023

Teri, I'm so glad you liked this. I appreciate you for stopping by and sharing. Have the best day.

Jennifer Howard

Monday 7th of August 2023

I freakin' love this!! You know I love the coastal look. The coffee stain comes out so good too.


Tuesday 8th of August 2023

Jennifer, I'm so glad you like it.