Many brides agonize over what to give their wedding guests as a wedding favor or special memento to take home with them after the wedding day celebration. If you would like to present your guests with a gift they can take home and enjoy year after year, perhaps a handmade Christmas ornament is a good match for your crowd.
You can choose from a wide variety of seashells if you would like to craft a handmade seashell Christmas ornament. Consider sand dollars, miniature conch shells, and scallop shells as three very viable options. Order your shells in bulk from a seashell retailer like Sunset Beach Gift Shop in Cape May Point, N.J. (www.sunsetbeachnj.com, 800-757-6468) or from an online retailer like Sanibel Seashell Industries (www.seashells.com).
Gather the following materials and complete the following steps to create your own beautiful and special reminders of your wedding day.
The number of guests attending your wedding determines the number of shells, glue sticks, and spools of ribbon that you will need for this project. Trial and error may be the best approach, unless you are buying items on closeout. In this case, it is best to buy more than you will need rather than to risk running out of materials.
– Seashells with a smooth surface for writing
– Fine point or ultra fine point Sharpie permanent marker in desired wedding color(s)
– Ribbon in wedding color(s)
– Hot glue gun
– Glue sticks for glue gun
– Metallic ribbon with built-in wire
– Wax paper
– Boxes or plastic tubs with lids for storage
* For the purpose of this article, the instructions relate to a miniature conch shell of about 3 – 3.5” in length. You may need to get creative to vary the steps for other types of shells.
This project can be a relatively easy and beautiful way to create a handmade gift for your guests. The tricky part comes when you’ve got many of them to create in a short period of time. If you’d rather not wait for your guests to RSVP to the wedding, you can always get a head start and begin crafting the shell ornaments before you even send the invitations. Just remember that you may want to make more shell ornaments than you expect to need, because it is usually better to have some extras leftover rather than to run out.
1. Gather all required materials.
2. Make the bows:
a. Cut the colored ribbon into strips long enough to make a bow with two dangling tails.
TIP: Cut the ribbon so that the ends are angled and they line up properly with the bows. This takes some practice and trial and error to figure out which angle is needed.
b. Cut the metallic ribbon into strips long enough to twist around the center of the ribbon bows.
c. Wrap the metallic ribbon around the center of the bows, leaving two ends dangling, and secure.
d. Twist the ends of the metallic ribbon around a pencil so they are curly.
e. Cut the ends of the ribbon to be angled, if desired.
f. Repeat for the number of guests attending, plus a few spares.
3. Make the hangers for the ornaments:
a. Cut the metallic ribbon into strips about 7 – 8” in length.
b. Fold each strip in half and twist to make a stronger cord.
c. Fold each stronger, twisted cord in half and twist the ends together.
d. Secure and create a loop.
e. Repeat for the number of guests attending, plus a few spares.
4. Clear a workspace near a power outlet and set up your materials.
5. Lay out wax paper or newspaper to keep your work surface clean and free from glue or markings.
6. Plug in your glue gun and ensure that it is not in any potentially dangerous location that could cause fire.
NOTE: If you are using the miniature conch shells and using these directions verbatim, your shell ornaments will hang upside-down for a pretty, unique look and stable construction. Keep this in mind as you prepare to write on the shells.
7. Position the shell appropriately for writing. In your best handwriting, write your name, your fiancé’s name, and your wedding date on the smooth surface of each shell with the Sharpie permanent marker. You could vary this however you wish – perhaps include a favorite phrase or quote about love as well, if space permits. Allow the shells to dry.
8. Glue the ornament hanger into the skinny, pointy end of the conch shell. If you are following these directions closely, you will turn the shells over and add some glue in the skinny opening at the top of the shell so that it will hang upside-down.
9. Place a drop of hot glue on the smooth side of the shell with the writing, just above your names and on the opposing side of the ornament hanger.
10. Stick the bow on the drop of glue and press down gently.
11. Set the shell aside to dry completely.
12. Continue this process until you have created one ornament for every guest, as well as one for yourselves and several extras, just for good measure. When all shells are dry, place them neatly in boxes or plastic tubs with lids.
TIP: You can use these ornaments as your place card holders, too! Simply create small tags on the computer and print them out on nice cardstock with each guest’s name. Punch a hole in each tag and loop it through the hanger on the shell. Voila! You now have wedding favors AND place card holders for your wedding guests!