Saturday, November 8, 2014

Let's do something with shells!!!!

Happy Saturday morning peoples!!! Brrrrrrr.....Mother Nature is really enjoying herself with us folks here on the coast in Alabama. She's making us wear socks with our flip flops...hehehe.  It's 47 right now and to us that's freakin frrrreezing peoples. That's alright though cause it means our humidity is low and that's always a good thing. ^_^

I've been asked to teach a few craft classes this fall and winter at Beach Reflections and the Blue Mermaid, the little gift shop I help out at so I'm going to let YOU be my guinea creatures (umm didn't want to call anyone a pig...hehe) So let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions on classes that I could teach...well...speak up peoples...let me know!!

Living at the beach means lots and lots of beach walks, which means lots and lots of shells being taken home. I thought a few projects using those shells and making some keepsakes would be a good thing to do. Also, since Christmas is getting closer and I know AGAIN with us living at the beach that a good bit of folks like to use a beach theme for their decorating. Heck fire...even those that don't live here but still have a love of the beach like to use shells too, yes?

Let's get started with the first project I want to show you. This is what I call a "Mermaid's Kissing Ball". Everyone needs a mermaid kissing ball or two or three. Here's what you'll need to complete this project:

Glass ornament ball
shells (of course)
hot glue gun and glue sticks
toilet tissue tube
hemp or twine
Scrap Paper

Yes peoples, you saw one item correctly.....a toilet tissue holder. If you don't like repurposing them then you can make the base for this project out of heavy cardstock. I LIKE to repurpose items.....keeps them out of our landfills and saves me money. ^_^  (remember....starving artist here most of the time)

This is going to be the base for the kissing ball so you need to decide how tall you want it to be. Decide...then cut it down. You need to make a smooth straight cut so use a ruler if you need to and don't discard the other end. You might want to use that too but I'll explain a little further down in the directions.

Next step is to take the hemp or twine and wrap it around the tube. Be very careful cause we all know how HOT hot glue can get. Start with a small bead of glue and attach twine then run a small line close to the bottom edge and start wrapping. Run a small line of glue and then wrap...small line of glue and then wrap. Okay...I think ya get the point!! Once you have wrapped twine all the way to the top run a small bead of glue on the inside of the tube and attached the end there. It's going to be hidden so ya don't have to get fancy.

Take the tube and place on a sheet of scrap paper and trace around it. I know the twine is there but if you hold your pencil straight up then you will be able to trace a perfect circle. Take the cut out paper circle and place on top of the beadbacking and then cut out the circle that we are going to glue to the base. Makes it look finished and neat. Run a thin line of hot glue on the base of the tube then simply sit the tube down and gently press. If you need to do any trimming then wait until glue is dry and then just trim. (it's alright, we all have to do that sometimes)

Before I go any further I know some might be asking "Regi...what is beadbacking?"  OMGOSH...I can't believe you had to ask cause it's a wonderful product that every crafter should have on hand. It has a thickness that works wonders not just for making base bottoms like we are here but can be used for so many projects. Flat bead work, embroidery, canvas for drawing, painting or stenciling and I love the fact that you can not only use glue on it but you can sew on it too. Like I said.....great product to have on hand!!

Now that the base is finished let's start the FUN part shall we. Using those lovely shells you have. For my kissing ball I used dog whelk shells. Just love their texture!! For this I used the other end of the tube (see why I told ya not to discard) to hold the ball while gluing shells on. I didn't want to get glue on the finished base peoples...I know how messy I can be..hehe. DO NOT glue the ball to base until project is completely finished.  Taking your pencil once the ball is sitting on the tube, mark around the top of the tube (bottom of the ball) so that you will know where to stop adding shells. You can of course add all around but really no need to since we are going to be gluing the ball to the base once finished.  Look through your shells and pick out ones that will fit around the top (like in the second photo). Once you have that first roll picked out then it's time to glue. Put a good dab on the ball and then place shell on top and hold for just a second or two. Do this til your first roll is complete. Next, dig through those shells and find ones that will fit and look nice glued in between the first roll (as in third picture) Start gluing and repeating this step until you have glued down to your marking line at the top of the base.   Once all rolls are done simply take some smaller shells and fill in any gaps. can glue the ball to your finished base.

To add the hemp bow to the top I ran a piece of hemp under the wire that would normally be used to hang the ornament. I then took about 2 arm lengths (that's how I measure peoples. works for me. An arms length measurement is taking the end of the hemp in one hand and pulling your arm straight out to your side, shoulder height, and the other end will be at your chin.) Take this and letting about 2 inches fall down as an end tail, start making a bow. I just make this kind by wrapping the hemp back and forth from one side to the other and holding it firmly in the middle as I do this. Remember to leave about 2 inches on the other end as well. Take a small piece of hemp and tie in the middle of the bow as this will make it easier to handle when adding to the ball. Take bow and lay on top of hemp you run under wire and knot several times and then trim those ends to match bow ends. Now is when you can use one of your broken shells if you want to. I LOVE my broken shells!! I glued one to the middle of bow just to make it even prettier. have a Mermaid's Kissing ball. Make several to place on a mantle or even to use as a centerpiece on the table in the foyer or dining room.  I kept this one simple so that it can be used  year round but you can add so many different embellishments to give it what ever holiday look you want. You could also use different size glass or wooden candle holders to give them a different look.

I hope you will make your own Mermaid Kissing ball now and I also hope you enjoyed this "How to". I love sharing ideas and projects and I hope that it's one that will get some interest for one of the classes I will be offering at the shop. ^_^

Until the next time...........Hugs,

Tomorrow I'll be showing "How to" make a shell cross!!!


  1. OMGGGG I love love love this. Thank you for including my NBB in your art.
    You are the best and very cleaver!!!

  2. Hmmmn, a "Mermaid's Kissing Ball". Whatever will you come up with next?!