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shell pot up cycle

There is no better way to show someone how much you care by making them a special gift. This shell pot tutorial is just perfect. You can make it with treasures you have collected over the years and each time the recipient looks at it, it will remind them of you.

This is a cost effective gift; all you need is some air dry clay, an old pot or jar, some shells or small pebbles and something to seal it once it’s finished.

Oh and of course….. your time, that is the most prescious gift you have to give.


Air Dry Modelling Clay

Shells or small pebbles

An old (clean) jar or pot

Rolling pin (optional)

Clay modelling tools (optional)


The first and most important thing to do is protect your work space. A craft mat is ideal as it can be washed after, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. Just make sure that you put something down before you start working with the clay, as it may stain the surface. A chopping board is good or how about an old plastic tablecloth.

Once you have protected the surface, take your pot or jar. Make sure that it has been cleaned thoroughly first and place it down. Open the clay and take a handful. You can roll it out with a rolling pin if you want, but you may find it easier to work it with your hands. It does have a tendency to be quite sticky, so the warmth of your hands will dry it out slightly.

Wrap the clay around the pot, taking care not to get it over the bottom. You will need this to be clear of clay so that the pot or jar doesn’t wobble about.

Press it firmly so that it adheres to the pot. It needs to be fairly thick so that the shells bed themselves in once added.

Don’t worry if you need to add more. Grab some clay and press it down firmly on the clay that is already on the tin. Smooth the join out with your fingers. You may find that dipping your fingers in water will help to seal the joins.


Smooth around the bottom of the tin and if it is messy, wipe it with a damp cloth. It is better to do it at this stage as it will be harder to clean once the clay has dried. We covered the top lip of the tin so that once the clay was slightly dry, we removed it from around the lip to give a really neat finish.

Once you are happy with the clay, carefully press your shells or pebbles into it. If you find that they are not sticking, you may need to add to the layer to make it thicker. You will have a bit of time to get the right thickness, as the clay takes quite a while to dry.

We started with smaller shells at the top. Doing this will make the top look neater as you are able to fit them into the gaps better. Start at the top and get that round done first. Once you are happy, work down the pot. You will see that for the rest of the pot, we used different sized shells. Your design is a personal choice. You can cover the pot completely or do one or two rows of shells. Rotating the shells and putting them at all different angles allows you to fill in the gaps.

Stand the pot somewhere to dry. We stood it on the lid, to allow the air to circulate freely round it. Make sure that you place it somewhere that it won’t get knocked. At this stage, it is still important to protect your surface as the clay is tacky and could mark it.

Once the clay has dried slightly, carefully remove the excess clay from the top rim. This is also the perfect time to give your pot a quick once over to check all is well. If you find that it has small cracks, you can take a modelling tool and smooth them out. You may want to neaten around the shells and you can use the tool for this too.

Again, being really careful, turn the pot upside down and check that it’s neat and clean. Turn it the right way up and leave to dry.


Each one will be different, due to how many shells have been used and how thick the clay is. It could take up to two days or more. You can tell it’s dry as the clay will lighten in colour, and be solid to the touch.

Once it’s dry, it’s a good idea to seal the pot with a varnish or sealant. It brings the colour of the shells to life and will increase the durability of the pot.

To take care of your pot, do not immerse it in water. To clean it, wipe it over with a damp cloth.

These make fab make up brush pots, or how about putting your pens or pencils in them.

We love seeing your creations so don’t forget to tag us in your makes #CraftyCoCreations

Happy Crafting

The Crafty Co



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