Make a DIY Oyster Shell Cluster

A recent trip up the Eastern Shore of Maryland wouldn't have been complete without several stops in antique stores along the way. It was in one of these stores that I spied an old, rusty oyster basket that I knew needed to come home with me. A stop at a hotel that night answered the question of what I was going to do with the basket when I spied a ball/cluster made of oyster shells sitting on my night stand! Kismet!
Since I live on the coast in North Carolina, I was confident I'd be able to source the oysters needed for my own clusters. It took a little bit of looking, but I finally did come upon a fresh fish store that gave me free access to their pile of discarded oyster shells in back of the store.
My oyster shells had been sitting outside in the rain and sun for months, so they really were quite clean, but I did hose them off just for good measure.
I spray painted a styrofoam ball (tennis ball size) with gray paint to prevent any glimpses of the ball. Then I used my hot glue gun and started with a row around the perimeter of the ball. I used the oysters in pairs, similar sized.
I worked on one half and then when that was done and dried, worked on the other half. If the first ring was the middle of the sphere, I worked each successive band angled slightly to the top of each half.
I really jammed the oyster into the foam where I put the glue. As a result, when I finished one side and turned it over to do the other side, none of the oyster shells became loose or dislodged.
Because I had an abundance of oyster shells, I made a couple oyster shell clusters / oyster shell balls to fill my oyster basket.
I can’t imagine anything looking so good in the oyster basket than the oyster shell clusters do…just meant to be. It was fun to play around with where to put the oyster shell clusters and right now I have them split between the basket and the mantle.

Suggested materials:

  • Oysters  (back of a fish store)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks  (Michael's)
  • Styrofoam ball (tennis ball size)  (Michael's)
See all materials

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Lynn @ Nourish and Nestle

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Joanne Norton
    on Sep 16, 2016

    Are you aware that leaving the oyster shells on the beach allows them to reproduce??? Even though they appear dead they are usually not.

    • Patti Ferguson
      on Jul 20, 2020

      I would think since they are half shells, that she didn’t pick up full oyster shells. I collect oyster shells for crafts and I get mine from fresh oysters on the half shell, that we eat. I also have asked seafood restaurants if I could have other shells in their kitchen. They give me a lot every time.

  • Rosanne Cannon-Schiedel
    on Nov 9, 2018

    Hubby and I were at the Oyster Festival in Urbanna last week. There was a oyster shell centerpiece like a 1/2 of your cluster. It had white Christmas lights in it. By the time we got close enough it was sold and gone. Any idea how I could accomplish that?

    • Lynn @ Nourish and Nestle
      on Nov 9, 2018

      Hi Rosanne...Oh it sounds beautiful! You've made me think about doing the same! My clusters aren't that big, just shy of 8" in diameter. I would get some of those battery powered fairy lights...like these from amazon. They are also shorter...like 3 feet instead of some of the longer ones.


      I haven't used these specific ones, but they use those small watch-type batteries, so you could easily hide the battery...which I think would be handy.


      So glad you suggested this idea!!! Thanks

  • Kate Gilstrap
    on Jul 27, 2020

    Di you sell YOUR items.


    My friend is obsessed with your oyster cluster.



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