Create beach-inspired jewelry pieces with natural or manufactured shells, for sale at many craft stores. Thick, durable shells become lasting jewelry pieces. Follow this detailed tutorial to learn how to carve a shell for your next jewelry project.

How to Carve Shell for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Things You'll Need

How to Carve Shell for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Draw a pointed oval shape along the inside of the shell. The underside of the shell becomes the front of your pendant. Position the oval on the far left or right to make it easier to carve out. Make sure the top of the oval meets the top edge of the shell.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Draw dotted lines at equal intervals from the outline of the oval to the edge of the shell.

Tips

The top of the pointed oval should reach the top edge of the shell. This saves you the hassle of cutting out the top portion. The bottom of the pointed oval should have two diagonal lines leading to it.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Attach the cut-off emery wheel to the Dremel tool. Begin cutting the shortest dotted lines, closest to the shell’s edge.

Tips

Leave the longest dotted line for last. This line is typically the hardest to cut, as it makes up the bulk of the shell.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Before continuing, double check that the top of the pointed oval meets the top edge of the shell. Adjust if necessary.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Begin cutting along the solid line of the oval shape.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Continue cutting along the oval shape. Do not focus on creating perfect edges because you sand them later.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Continue cutting until you separate the pointed oval from the rest of the shell.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Attach the aluminum oxide grinding stone to the Dremel tool. Smooth down the edges, forming the oval shape.

Attach the drum sander to the Dremel tool. Sand the flat surface and sides of the shell for a smooth finish.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Attach the felt polishing wheel to the Dremel tool. Polish the shell’s surface to a shine.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Attach the high-speed cutter to the Dremel tool. Create a hole near one of the pointed ends of the oval.

Tips

To create a hole straight through the shell, apply very light pressure. Do not move the Dremel tool sideways or push it though the shell. The tool should be steady and barely move; it grinds the shell gradually.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

Shake off all dust particles. String, cord or a jump ring can be attached to your handmade carved shell.

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making

How to Carve Shell Material for Jewelry Making