Faux Summer Seashell Jewelry
Is that last night’s Pad Thai you’re wearing?
By Brenda Ponnay
Here’s a super-fun craft you can whip up in an afternoon. It’s quick, easy, stylish AND totally fun for kids of any age. And when I say any age, I mean even the thirty-seven-year old kids.
And, it’s perfect for summer as it looks like seashells.
All you need are some white foam take-out containers (if they had food in them, wash them first), scissors, a needle and thread (a blunt yarn needle for little kids), and some fancy ribbon.
First, you’ll need to cut up your foam container into the pieces that will become your beads. Confused? Don’t be! I even made you a movie. It’s EASY!
Too bad you don’t have my super-fast mode but don’t worry, it’s quick work. I cut my foam into tiny triangular shards because I was going for the ice princess look (it’s been a little hot here). You can cut them into circles like puka shells or squares or even big clunky beads. The sky’s the limit.
Thread your needle with a good length of thread and knot it. Now take your ribbon (velvet or satin would be very nice) and cut it into two six-inch lengths. This will be your necklace closure bow so just pick something you think would look pretty dangling down your back. Maybe even tie it in a bow to see how it looks. Then fold an end of one of the ribbons over once or twice and sew through the folded ribbon so that the ribbon will hold tight. I used a bead to cover up my sewing but it’s not necessary. Then start skewering your foam pieces like so:
When you’ve threaded enough foam pieces to make your necklace the length you want, attach the other ribbon (folding the end over a couple of times first) and you’re done. Tie it on and model it! You might even want to wear it out for date night! Think of the conversations it could spark! “Oh this old thing? I made it from last night’s take-out container!”
The great thing about this kind of foam is that it’s so versatile. My daughter wasn’t too keen on my pokey ice-princess necklace, so I made some big round beads out of a clean foam meat tray. They were easy for her to thread and fun for her to wear.
For kicks, I decided to texturize my daughter’s foam pieces. You can do this by pressing them briefly with a hot fork (I stuck a fork over a gas burner for a few seconds– this part should only be performed by a responsible adult). The beads, or “chips” as we called them, turned out really neat. I wanted them to look like shells but you could do a criss-cross pattern with your fork too.
There are probably a million ways you can form and mold polystyrene foam. Just be careful not to inhale any toxic fumes, which really should be non-existent if you press the fork quickly and don’t let the foam burn. One thing I did learn is that it is important to wipe your fork off immediately when you are done. I let mine sit in the sink for a few hours and now I can’t get the melted foam residue off for the life of me. That fork has been resigned to the play-dough kit.
The best part of this craft is that it was easy enough for my three-year-old to do. There are no holes to fit a tiny needle through, you just puncture the foam with your (blunt) needle and away you go!
When you’re finished, sew on your ribbon and you’re done! Way to be crafty and stylish!Published July 23, 2009. Last updated July 23, 2012.