Keep the beach with you year-round with a handmade seashell wind chime made out of shells your family has collected; you'll be reminded of the seashore every time a breeze passes through your patio. All ages can help out with this impressive craft, though adults will need to do the drilling.
Cleaning the Shells
Before you assemble your seashell wind chime, prepare the shells by cleaning them thoroughly and shining them to bring out their true colors. Make a solution of 1 part bleach and 1 part water. Soak the shells in the solution and scrub them with an old toothbrush, removing any stuck-on algae and brown flaky material. Don't soak them too long -- start scrubbing after a few minutes, and give them more time only if necessary. If you want a shiny finish, rub the dry shells with a little bit of baby oil.
Drilling the Shells
Some shells are easier to drill than others. Some may not even require drilling -- a quick poke with an awl will do the trick. For the cleanest holes that won't cause cracks, use a diamond drill bit on your drill or rotary tool. While these bits are expensive, they're the best at cutting very hard material. Always wear a dust mask, and keep the area wet as you drill to prevent it from getting too hot. If you use a regular drill bit, be prepared to lose a few shells to breakage.
Selecting the Hanger
The shells have to hang off of something, preferably something that allows the hanging shells to brush against each other easily. You can use a piece of driftwood, a piece of wire fashioned into a hoop, or a larger shell with holes drilled into it. Attach a loop of fishing line or twine from the top of the hanger so that it will hang freely, with the shells swaying beneath it.
Assembling the Chime
Tie several shells to a piece of fishing line by threading a shell to the desired position, tying a double knot around the hole, and repeating with the next shell. Make sure there is at least 12 inches at the top of the line. Tie the line to the hanger with a double knot and trim off any excess line. Repeat until you have four to six hanging shell lines. Reinforce all of the knots with instant bond glue. Hang your chime outdoors, or use it as a beachy indoor decor.
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