Oyster Shell Salt n Pepper

I love the shape and texture of oyster shells so wanted to find a way to use some in a craft project.  I’ve seen shells being made into small candles but thought they’d also make pretty little salt n pepper holders for a table setting.

When selecting the shells you need to check that they will stand up on a table, they don’t need to have a flat base but they do need to stand at an angle where the salt won’t tip out.

You need to start by thoroughly cleaning the shells, I put these through two washes in the dishwasher which does drain their colour a bit but as you’re painting them doesn’t really matter.

Then for the gold/copper version I painted the shells red with acrylic paint.  Red is a good colour as it adds a richness to the finished shell and as the metallic paints can be a bit patchy it looks ok if the colour shows through.  With your first coat of paint you need to make sure that you get the paint into all of the little creases but make sure you don’t put it on too thickly otherwise you’ll lose the texture.

After letting the shell dry you can then paint with a metallic paint and when completely dry polish it to give it a sheen.

I also thought I’d try a few different colour schemes.

My favourite was the white and silver.  Give the shells a thin coat of white paint and don’t worry about being able to see a bit of grey through the colour.


When dry I used some porcelain paint to give the edge of the shell a bit of bling

The other one I tried was a raspberry ripple version in pink and white.  Again paint the shells red and leave to dry but unlike the gold version don’t let the pant dry completely, when tacky overpaint with white making sure you don’t over work it, if you do you’ll end up with a matt pink.

Again when completely dry you can add sheen by applying a thin layer of varnish.


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