Oyster Shell Lampshade

5 Materials
4 Hours
Well, I may be edging perilously close to ‘too much of good thing’…I don’t think I’m there quite yet, however I do probably need to take a hiatus from oyster shell projects. But, this oyster shell lampshade has been brewing in my head for over a year and I was driven to heed the call. So now that I have it out of my system, I can move on to other projects.

But it does need to be said, I am REALLY tickled with this lampshade. Now, I know an oyster shell lampshade may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Both of my men looked at it and said…”Hmmm…don’t you need some material under there somewhere?” and my son also said, “I mean, you can see the lightbulb.”

But my daughter and her friends loved it. So, guess it’s just a personal preference.
And as much as I love this finished oyster shell lampshade, I think I enjoyed the process of figuring out how to make it maybe a skosh more. I am finding that I do love to noodle how to do things as much as the actual doing.

So here’s what I used for my Oyster Shell Lampshade:
  • 84+ relatively flat oyster shells, cleaned ( I had 21 ‘strands’ with 4 shells each). You need a few extras to allot for the ones that will inevitably break while drilling the holes.
  • Drill with small drill bit
  • 84- 10 mm jump rings (or as many Oysters as you are using)
  • Lamp Shade (I found mine at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $5)- You want one with straight sides…nothing that flares or your strand of oysters won’t hang straight. Mine measures 9″ diameter by 12″ tall.
  • Pair of Pliers to squeeze jumps rings closed
  • If the top and bottom of your lamp shade are separate, you need a couple of cords about the length you want your lampshade to be. I was extremely lucky and had 3 bungee cords that were 12″ and that worked perfectly!
  • Hot glue gun
I used a low wattage soft white light bulb which produced a very soft light with no bright glare. The shadows on the wall in the evening are really lovely.
How I made my Oyster Shell Lampshade:
First you need to dismantle your lampshade. This is what mine looked like when I brought it home from the ReStore
And this is what it looked like after I took it apart, which was all of a 2 minute process

  • There was some sticky glue on the top and bottom rings which I removed with Goo Gone and then wiped down well with rubbing alcohol to remove the Goo Gone residue.
  • I spray painted both rings black.
  • Using my 3-12 inch bungee cords, I attach the bottom to the top while on a lamp base.
Then it was just a matter of drilling holes in my oyster shells and attaching them to one another with the jump rings. A couple of suggestions:

  • Drill your hole as close to the edge of the shell as possible without breaking the shell. I probably ruined 8 in the process, which is why you need some extras.
  • I put my oysters in 4 different piles, smallest to largest so that I could place them that way on the lampshade..
  • I found it easier to attach the first one to the top part of the lampshade and then while it was hanging find one that would work best with it, drill the holes in that one and then attach it
  • For each strand of 4 oysters, 3 of them will need holes drilled at the top and at the bottom. Your last shell does not need a hole drilled at the bottom.
  • I was able to pry the jump rings open with my fingers and then squeeze them back shut with the pliers.

  • When all the oyster shells were hung, I hot glued the back of the bottom most shell to the bottom ring just where the shell hit the ring.
  • After the glue was set, I removed the bungee cord and focused my attentions on the lamp base
  • I knew I wanted a darker base to set off the white of the shells and since I didn’t have a black lamp base, I went to my default mode…I painted one.

So here’s the finished product and yup, I’m loving this oyster shell lampshade in my dining room.
So I think I'm going to take a break from oyster shells for a while...but I am very happy with this final project.
Suggested materials:
  • Oyster shells
  • Jump rings   (amazon.com)
  • Old lamp shade   (ReSTore)
See all materials
Lynn @ Nourish and Nestle
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Sherry Churn Matthews Sherry Churn Matthews on Jul 29, 2017
    I was wondering if you wanted an occasional change, could you turn the shade upside down with the rough side of the shell on the outside and the opalesent side toward the bulb reflecting the light on the inside.

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