Zephyr Whelk Necklace DIY
Yesterday we gushed about how much we adored reading “Song of the Deep” by Brian Hastings, and today we’re going to show you guys how you can make a Zephyr Whelk (snail shell) necklace of your own!
In “Song of the Deep”, Merryn journeys to the depths of the ocean to rescue her father who’s been dragged to the bottom of the sea by a terrifying sea monster. On her adventure, she uses a mythical item called a zephyr whelk in order to breathe underwater, something she originally believed to only exist in legends of the sea. Once we saw Merryn’s necklace, and how vital it was to her journey, we knew we had to show you guys how to make one!
Here’s What You’ll Need For Your Zephyr Whelk Necklace DIY:
– Snail Shell (any other shell will work too, but ones like a snail shell or hermit crab shell will work best since they have a deep opening)
– Hot Glue Gun
– Wire Cutters
– Floral Wire
– A Necklace Chain
– Acrylic Paint or Nail Polish (optional)
1. Choose the shell you’d like to use for your necklace. You can head to the beach to see what you find or pick up some shells from a beach shop. (Seashells are a little hard to come by in NYC, so we ordered ours from Amazon!)
The shells we found that looked most closely to Merryn’s actual zephyr whelk necklace are actually escargot shells (Don’t worry, they were empty! You won’t have to eat a snail before using them!), but there’s so many beautiful shells out there, so pick whichever one speaks to you most.
2. If you’re going to paint your shell, now’s the time to do it! Merryn’s shell has a very natural style in “Song of the Deep”, so if you want yours to look more like hers, you can skip the painting. (Though Merryn DOES love painting, so we think she’d be totally okay if you want to paint your shell!)
We painted a few of ours to show you guys what that might look like. We found that dipping the shells in the paint worked much better than painting them with a paintbrush. It takes a little longer to dry, but it turned out nicer than the ones we tried to paint with a brush (and you didn’t have to deal with doing multiple coats over and over).
We also found that thinner acrylic craft paint worked better in general than the thicker paints we tried. If you’re looking for the glitter effect that we have on our green and brown shells, that’s Martha Stewart brand. It costs a little more but it comes in pretty much every color you can think of and it works REALLY well.
We also tried glitter nail polish that we had lying around (the blue glitter one above, if you’re curious), and that looked pretty cool too. You may want to try a few different shells using a few different paints just in case one of them doesn’t come out right.
While you wait for your paint to dry, read a few chapters of “Song of the Deep” – you’ll thank us later! (PS: Doesn’t that yellowy glitter shell we made remind you of Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” a bit? You can use this tutorial to create an Ursula inspired necklace too! Just paint your shell yellow or gold and you’ll be the wickedest sea witch in the ocean.)
3. Carefully the wire cutters to cut strips of wire that are around 1.5-2 inches long. (Grab a parent or other strong human if you’re having trouble.) Once you’ve cut them, bend it into a small loop, and then twist the ends together so it looks like the picture above.
It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as the chain you’re using will fit through. We found we made a few that were too small for some of the jump rings (the little hoops) on the ends of our necklace chains to fit through and had to start over.
4. Dab a blob of hot glue inside the deep part of your shell, and quickly (and carefully) place the twisted end of the wire loop into the glue blob. Hot glue is super hot AND dries quickly, so be fast and be careful. You may want a parent to help you if you don’t have steady fingers.
We found that bending the hoop on an angle helped keep it out of the glue and also made it easier to loop the chain through when we were ready. Wait a few seconds and check to see if it seems like your hoop is firmly placed in the glue. If it’s coming loose, you may want to try again or add an extra glue blob to keep it in place.
Once you’ve glued your hoop in place, let it cool for a few minutes and head back to your reading.
5. Now that your shell is all cooled off, loop your chain through, put on your necklace, and take a picture to share with all your friends! They’ll likely be super jealous of your creation, so if you have an extra shell and an extra chain, maybe make one for your bestie too?
Your Zephyr Whelk necklace might not be able to help you breathe underwater, but it will definitely make you look just like Merryn. Wear it with your favorite nautical outfit, while reading or playing “Song of the Deep”, or anytime you want to feel closer to the beauty and the magic that dwells at the bottom of the sea. For more DIY ideas, click here!