Oyster Shell Wreath

One of the fun things about crafting is getting to try something new, and doing it for someone else.  Such was the case here — since I was a host for Erin & Gibb‘s engagement party, but I wouldn’t be in town, I offered some of my crafting talents to help out beforehand!  The party was an oyster roast, so Maggie, Callee and I thought it’s be cool to have some oyster-related items around for decor.

 Oyster Shell Wreathoyster1

What you’ll need:

  • Oyster shells
  • Hot glue gun
  • 18″ Flat wooden wreath art form
  • Spray paint
  • Paint / brush

Before I began, I had two major things to sort out, 1. Where to get a lot of oyster shells, 2. What the structure / backing of the wreath should be.  Turns out there is an oyster shell recycling area really close to my house that I went to and just picked up a bunch of shells for free, then cleaned them outside with a hose.

For the wreath backing, I saw examples using either a wire wreath form or the flat wooden wreath form, so I bought both from Michael’s (~$3 each).  After playing with the oyster shells on both, I decided to use the flat form for this project since I thought the shells would stay in place more securely (had they been bigger shells, I probably would’ve used the wire form).  Then I started figuring out where to put all the shells, on top of the wreath backing.

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This was kind of like putting a puzzle together since you want everything to fit nicely, and not show a lot (if any) of the backing.  Once you’re happy with the look, pick a spot and start glueing the oysters to the backing.  I probably used too much glue, but I wanted to make sure that the shells didn’t fall off, especially since some are heavy.

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After round one of glueing shells, I decided that I needed to go back to the recycling center and get some more shells — ones that were thin and some that were shorter, to fill in more areas around the sides and beef up the wreath.

Once I found, washed, and dried more shells, I attached them around the wreath in the gaps.  I wasn’t crazy about the brown color of the wreath backing, so I took the wreath outside, put it face down and spray painted the back a light gold.

Then I painted any small traces of the backing on the front side gold, including the sides, using gold acrylic paint.  In hindsight, I should have spray painted the wreath backing gold from the start, but you live and you learn!

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Then my part of the oyster wreath was done!  I decided it needed a little more pizazz, and gave it to Maggie to finish off with a burlap bow, and keep safe until the engagement party.  They hung the wreath in front of the Samuelson’s house, on the stairs up to the front door.

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Update: See the second one I made for myself for Christmas, and the tips I learned!

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