Last Updated on November 12, 2020 by Maria Brittis
Discover how to make a DIY Oyster Shell bookends perfect for any bookshelf.
What inspired me to make these?
Today I have a special project that I have been wanting to make for the last few months. DIY Oyster shell bookends. I am planning to add them to my new store. These pairs are going into my home first. They are going to be perfect for my bookshelves. The bookends have a natural coastal charm to them.
Last October I was taking a weekend getaway to Charleston, South Carolina. It’s one of my favorite places to visit and it’s only a few hours by car. No matter how many times I go to Charleston I never get tired of this beautiful city. Even my husband John asked don’t you ever get tired of coming here.
We left at 8 am in the morning. Along the way, we stopped at my favorite antique shop. They had some new coastal decor accents. One-piece that stood out was a bookend that was covered in oyster shells. John wanted to buy it for me. What am I going to do with one bookend? I needed two. That’s when I got the idea of making my own. When I got back from my trip I added the bookend idea to my editorial calendar.
Cleaning the oyster shells.
I can purchase oysters very easily here in the Low Country. I can buy the shells by the bag full at most landscape places. Many constructions companies use oysters in a mixture called tabby which is very popular for people’s driveways and sidewalks. If you don’t have access to oyster you can buy them online too.
I gathered all the supplies I needed to do the oyster shell bookends project. I place about 75 small to medium size oyster shells in a solution of 1 cup of white vinegar diluted with 2 quarts of water for 4 to 6 hours. The longer the better. The vinegar solution will dissolve any debris or dirt.
- 75 to 80 oysters
- 2 by 4 wood
- Gorilla glue
Measuring the wood
I had some leftover 2 by 10 lumber from my home. I took the wood to home depot to have cut into 4-8 inches by 8 inches. With liquid nails, I attach one end to the other. Let it dry for 24 hours. I painted the wood in off white. Once it dried I sanded the wood to give it a distressed look.
Gluing the oyster shells to wood.
Before gluing them to the wood I place the oyster shell in a design pattern on the wood. I picked shells that are of similar size. There are many ways to glue the oyster shells to the wood. You can use a glue stick or any epoxy glue. My favorite is the Gorilla glue bond. Make sure you use gloves. Here is more info on the best glue for seashells.
Start by wetting the oyster shell and add a thin layer of glue on it. Place on the wood and in a few minutes the glue starts bubbling. Clean any of the leakages around the shell. Let dry for 24 hours.
I love how my Oyster shell bookends turned out. They look so good on my shelving in my new home. Now I can focus on making more for my shop. They are a bit time-consuming and not a fast project to make. Hope you like them.
Looking for more oyster shell projects!