Mussel Shell Hanging Mobile

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Introduction: Mussel Shell Hanging Mobile

About: Hello! My name is Klara and I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area in sunny California. I love all things crafty and creative: baking, papercrafts, sewing, and most of all making gifts for other people. I love cr…

A few weeks ago I went to the beach and there were so many mussel shells! Some were teeny and some were giant. I knew I had to do something with them. My mom loves the ocean and her birthday's coming up so I decided to make her a hanging mobile with the shells I gathered.

I had a lot of fun and stringing the shells was very relaxing. I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did!

Supplies

  • Lots of mussel shells in assorted sizes
  • Beads, preferably transparent/translucent (looks cool in the light)
  • Copper pipe cut into the length of the circumference you want (+ a little piece for the hanging ring)
  • A little rod of metal that just fits into the pipe (to seal)
  • Thin but strong wire
  • 3 pieces of 2-strand rope, each ~3 inches longer than how long you want the hanging string to be

Tools

  • Dremel tool (or nail)
  • Torch and solder
  • Scissors/wire cutter
  • Strong glue
  • Hammer
  • Some sort of hard cylinder ~1 in diameter

Step 1: Drill Holes

The first thing you'll want to do is to take your Dremel tool and drill a small hole in the pointy side of each shell. Be very careful and don't apply too much pressure otherwise your shell could crack (but I didn't have any issues).

If you don't own a Dremel I've seen some people on the internet use a small nail and hammer, although that seems bit risky to me so I'd make sure you have lots of spare shells.

Also be sure to wear eye protection and a mask if you're drilling. Safety first! It can get pretty dusty.

Step 2: Create Ring

Next we're going to create the ring that the shells will hang off of.

Take your pipe and bend it into a circle as best you can. Then take a small piece of a rod that just fits inside the tube and put it as a connector between the two sides of the tube.

Solder it shut and even out the circle if it looks out of shape.

If you don't want to go through all that trouble/don't have the materials, just use some flexible branches like from a birch or willow tree and weave them together to make a ring.

Step 3: Add Ropes

Now it's time to add the ropes that will allow you to hang your mobile up. It's important to do this before you attach the shells because this way you can better visualize how the finished mobile will look.

To attach a rope, first separate the ends into two smaller ropes. Tie half of a knot with just the ends (not using the ring yet.) Then use the two tails to tie around the ring with half a knot (or a full knot if your string is long enough.)

Repeat that with the other two ropes and add some glue so they don't come undone. The mobile can get very heavy and mine kept undoing before I added the glue.

Finally, tie all three ropes together at the top, leaving around 1.5 inches at the end.

Step 4: Make Hanging Loop

Stuff the extra ends after the knot into another piece of pipe. Clamp it shut with pliers and then hammer it on the hard cylinder into a round shape.

Step 5: String on Shells and Beads

Here comes the creative part! I totally made up my design as I went so there's no need to come up with some big plan or anything.

To start a string, stick your wire through the hole and tie a knot with the long wire so that the shell sits in a loop. Wrap the remaining end around the long wire. (Refer to the first picture.)

Now cut your wire to slightly longer than you want the string to be.

To add new shells or beads just push the wire through their hole, wrap it around back to where the wire went in and push it through again...it's a little bit like sewing. You can add as many as you want and when you're done just tie the wire onto the ring. (Wrap it around the pipe, tie a knot, wrap tail around string's wire.)

Step 6: Display!

And there you have it! Your own gorgeous mussel shell mobile.

Display it somewhere people will see and wait for the compliments to start flowing :)

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and I would love to see your mobile too!

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    2 Comments

    0
    Treasure Tabby
    Treasure Tabby

    1 year ago

    Oh wonderful! :) I made one of these years ago. Only I made it with mostly scallop shells I collected myself from several Florida vacations. Then I painted a few images with Floridian themes. Then coated the shells with acrylic clear coat before I hung them on fishing line, which I hung off of a part of a basket top I had on hand. It was wonderful when I did have it. But that was years ago. The mobile of that type only lasts outdoors for a few years.

    0
    Crafts with Klara
    Crafts with Klara

    Reply 1 year ago

    That sounds gorgeous! My mother hung it up inside so hopefully it will last longer. Unless the cats get to it ;)