I love to take walks on the beach – I know, it’s a big cliché – but it’s true. Let me tell you, though, that beaches in Sweden are not like the ones I am used to in Portugal. Forget about the long sand areas that give you a warm welcome to the sea. Here, you have big rounded rocks and docks build for you to jump into the water. Which kills one of my favourite activities while on the beach: collecting nice shells.
Every now and then, there’s a little bit of sand in between those big rocks. That’s where you can find the shells I like to collect. Another thing I’ve come to notice is that conches are much more frequent than those simple shells. They are not colorful and glamorous conches but they can still be used to make something beautiful.
So I picked up a few of them. Different sizes and some to spare because they are fragile and can suffer “injuries” easily. This DIY is not only a jewelry piece, but also a souvenir from your vacation or your summer. Now here’s what you are going to need:
– Small Conches
– Waxed cotton thread
– Rug knife
– Screw, nail or pin
– Transparent polish
Start by sorting out the conches you are going to use. I have used a total of six in this bracelet, but you can use more, or less. Now the tricky part is to make a hole in them. This is the technique I use: I take a screw/nail/pin and gently press it against the conch where I want the hole to be. Then I rotate the tool for a while until it makes a tiny mark on the conch. Then I take a rug knife and with the point I do the same movement. Careful now, remember not to push the rug knife into the conch or it will break immediately. I lost 3 in this process. After a while you have a tiny hole, but if that is not enough to make the waxed cotton go through, use the screw/nail/pin to make it a little bigger.
After the holes are done it’s time to use the polish. I’m going to be honest here: I use nail polish for these things since they are so small. The main reason is to make the colors of the conches pop and to protect them from breaking when you are wearing the bracelet.
Let’s move on to the thread. Now, this goes a little into macramé but don’t get scared. It’s fairly easy. So start by cutting the thread into 2 bits of different lengths. One with approximately 80 cm and other with 150 cm. I like to play it safe with the long thread because there’s a risk that you don’t calculate the knots very well and you are left with a too short thread after hours knotting. It has happened to me – several times.
Start by folding both piece of thread in half and tie a normal knot creating a small arrow with the two thread lines. Go ahead and check if you have a conch that can go through that arrow. That will be your closing mechanism in the end. Now, the knotting. Use a clothing clip and secure the arrow onto a notebook. Separate the shorter ends and leave those in the middle, you are going to be working with the two longer ends. We are doing the half knot, this one. So do it first on one side and then invert the process, doing it on the other side, otherwise you’ll get a spiral. But then again, if you want to try that, go right ahead. Adding up the conches is as simple as can be: lace them in when you are starting a new knot. If the threads opens up and the line doesn’t want to get through the small hole in the conch, here’s a trick: put a little bit of polish in the tip to make the threads come together as one. Then just keep doing the knots until it starts looking like something. Once you have reached the wished length – you can put it around your wrist to measure – tie the four lines together in a knot and if that is enough to close it (making the big knot go through the first arrow, then you are all set, you can cut the excess and enjoy. If you want a little more sea touch, loop a conch into one of the lines and knot it together with another one. Trim the two other loose ends and you are all set!
Go ahead and show off your sea themed bracelet this summer!