What to do with extra shells?
I’m somewhat of a packrat in that I tend to keep things for potential craft projects. Well, I had collected shells ever since I was younger and I’m sure plenty of you have collected shells on vacation. What to do with them? Repurpose them into something useful and fantastic looking- a shell serving tray. I made two at the same time as gifts.
I will admit, not the cheapest gift, since you end up using a LOT of EnviroTex to seal the shells in. However, it is unique and turns out well.
- Tray that has enough of a lip/edge to hold the sealer in (I bought this at Target-http://www.target.com/p/threshold-acacia-wood-serving-tray/-/A-15367072#prodSlot=medium_1_4&term=tray)
- DucoCement glue (Ace Hardware, etc carries)
- EnviroTex Light Pour On High Gloss Finish (last time I used this I picked it up at Menards, but it seemed they no longer carried it so I had to get it through Amazon. For the tray, you need the large bottles- like 1/2 gallon will give you enough). Like I said, not a super cheap project but worth it to have the shells saved into a functional purpose.
- Plastic cups and a stirrer (like plastic spoon or popsicle stick)
- Shells (flatter is more ideal, as you’ll cover faster and use less EnviroTex so you have it left over for other projects!)
- Workspace- lots of newpaper! and an area to have the tray flat where you aren’t going to get cat hair or other dust, etc in it
To start :
1. Use DucoCement all the way around the edges inside the tray to ensure it is sealed- ie so at the joints it won’t leak out. Just a thin line all the way around the tray
2. Set the shells in with whatever type of design you want
3. Glue an edge of the shell down with the DucoCement and let them dry for a day, this will ensure they don’t move around when you pour the EnviroTex
4. Make sure you’re on a good flat surface with newpaper underneath so if you have drips/spills you don’t have permanent EnviroTex on your floor/table- this stuff is there forever!
5. Mix your EnviroTex per the instructions. I had to do several layers as mixing a large amount at once was a bit too much to handle.
6. MAKE SURE to blow out the bubbles with each layer per the instructions. When you have such a thick layer of EnviroTex like on the tray, there is some heat as well and bubbles will suddenly pop up through it, so DON’T pour and walk away. You’ll end up with giant bubbles on the surface. Make sure you stick nearby and blow the bubbles/pop bubbles if larger as they appear so they don’t interfere with the project
7. Once it is setting and bubbles are done appearing, DON’T touch the surface and DON’T move the project. I covered with a loose sheet of tin foil over the top just so dust wouldn’t settle down over it (or cat hair in my case since Cricket likes to watch me work).
8. Leave it for 48-72 hours before moving it (per the instructions on how long it needs to set).
9. If you mixed properly and got rid of the bubbles, you should have a nice firm clear surface on your tray. If you happen to have one area that you’re not as happy with or there was a bubble, you can do an additional thin layer of EnviroTex over the top to even it out.
10. You have a shell tray!