~by Cara Godlesky~
Even before you set up your Christmas tree or decorate your home for the holidays, getting the family together to make decorations can be fun for all ages.
Family scallop season started October 1 with the commercial season ramping up from November 1. Whether you harvest and shuck your own or you have to visit the shell pile in Madaket, scallop shells make a beautiful natural material to use for handmade decorations. If you are in the habit of picking up shells from the beach, you might have enough in a jar or a box that you can use what you have on hand to make these crafts. All the crafts below start with scallop shells that have been dipped in a 50/50 mixture of beach and water, gently scrubbed clean and rinsed well. To bring out the color and add a shine you can wipe the shells with mineral oil or paint them with clear nail polish.
SCALLOP SHELL LIGHTS
Look for shells roughly the same size. Once the shells are cleaned, buy a strand of white LED Christmas lights. Remember to test the lights before you use them. Pair two similar sized shells and hot glue them together with the light in the middle, forming the shape of a whole scallop. When the lights are plugged in, the shells will cast off a warm glow.
SCALLOP SHELL ANGELS
Colors of scallop shells vary, but if you’re lucky to find several large white (or mostly white) shells, you can transform them into ocean angel ornaments. Turn the cleaned shell so the circular, ridged edge in facing down and the flat top with the two points is at the top. To make the angel, ribbon, round, wooden beads and a hot glue gun are needed. Take the ribbon, knot it into a bow and hot glue it behind the two pointed edges. This will become the wings on the angel. The round wooden bead will be glued on top of the flat edge and in the middle of the two points. This will become the head of the angel. Take another piece of ribbon and create a large loop and glue it to the concave, backside of the shell so the angel can be hung on a tree for the holidays. For additional details, draw a face on the angel, or add glitter to the dress— the shell—of the angel.
SCALLOP SHELL ORNAMENTS
Clear glass bulbs can be filled with tiny scallop shells. These look best if you first put in some sand mixed with glitter for the shells to rest upon.
SCALLOP SHELL WREATHS
You’ll need a lot of shells and a fair amount of patience to make a wreath, but this can become a beautiful reminder of Nantucket that can hang in your home year-round. Start with a 14-inch wreath form, wooden is best. Before you start, attach a wire loop to the back of the form for hanging up your finished wreath. Separate your prepared shells by color and by size before you begin, then, using a hot glue gun, attach the shells in an overlapping pattern to the wreath form. If you don’t have enough scallop shells for an entire wreath, instead of a plain wooden form, start with a twig wreath form and glue scallop shells around the center of the wreath. Scallop shells can also be used to adorn a traditional evergreen wreath.