2.08.2013

Oyster Shell Mirror & Chandelier DIY

Here is the long awaited tutorial for the oyster shell mirror and chandelier that I made last summer!
Most of you know that the primary decor of our home is Southern and Coastal in every single room. No two rooms are alike and I've been slowly but surely sharing updates on the changes we've made since we bought our home a year ago today!! I can't believe it's already been a year! I've still got so much to share, and I promise I will as soon as I get things situated in each room.
As for the oyster shells...I just love everything about them. We both love eating oysters, and I love their unique shape, color texture. These are the primary reasons I chose to do these specific projects using oyster shells. You could certainly use other types of shells if you prefer! The mirror is over the mantle in our Keeping Room and the chandelier is hanging in the Foyer. Here are some close ups of the mirror and the chandelier:
 This chandelier at Amen Street Raw Bar in Charleston, SC, is what got me inspired and got my wheels turning to make an oyster shell light fixture: (oh the hours I spent studying this beautiful creation!)
Here we go! To begin with you need some oyster shells. You can see that we have about a 5 gallon bucket full. I certainly did not use every single oyster shell on the mirror and chandelier. In the photo above you'll see that I filled up a very large clear vase with the leftover shells. Who knows, I may decide to do another project with those in the future! You'll want to make sure your shells are clean!! Here is a simple and easy step-by-step on how to do this process. If you've just got the shells with no meat inside, you'll only need to follow steps 7-10!
Chandelier Tutorial: 
You will need: power drill with a 1/16" drill bit (or you could use a dremel), at least 20 gauge galvanized wire, wire cutters, and patience!
This is a picture of the chandelier before, which was hanging in the dining room. We replaced it with a real chandelier. I decided not to change the color of the chandelier because all of the fixtures in our home are oil rubbed bronze. If you are not pleased with the color of your chandelier, then by all means spray paint it! For this project I decided to remove the globes from the fixture and store them away.
 Once you know what type of fixture you will be using, you can then determine a pattern, or layout, of how you want your shells to hang and connect. You can see below that I have 5 rows because there are 5 arms on that particular chandelier.
 Brandon was super helpful in the next step: drilling holes in the shells through which you feed the wire to link the shells together. You will need to drill holes in each end of the shells so that you can link them together with the wire.
 My advice is to have the fixture already installed in the ceiling before you add your shells. By the way, the shells are going to add significant weight to the fixture! After the holes were drilled and the shells were linked together we used a ladder to reach the fixture and began to connect them to the fixture using additional wire and wire cutters. I thought I had a photo of this process, but I can't seem to find it. This project was completed in one Sunday afternoon and evening! Amanda at Dixie Delights also has a similar tutorial for this project. Who knew oyster shell chandeliers were so popular?!
Mirror Tutorial:
You will need a mirror with a flat or smooth frame, enough oysters to completely cover your frame depending on what size mirror you are using, and several packages of Liquid Nails clear adhesive.
The mirror was super simple to make. You'll need to lay your mirror flat to do this project. Basically you just arrange the oysters shells in a pattern depending on your taste until the entire frame is covered. This may take a few tries and it's similar to putting together a puzzle. Once you've arranged your shells, you begin gluing them onto the frame and onto each other with Liquid Nails. You want to try to keep the glue underneath the shells so that it's not visible. Once you've glued each and every shell you have to let the mirror sit for 24 hours. Then you'll need to go back and check each and every shell to make sure the glue held. I had a few stragglers that I had to go back and add more glue to and wait another full 24 hours. The waiting was the most agonizing part of the process for me!
 Once everything was secure and dry I called for the help of my husband to hang it on the wall. Warning: you will need a man to do this and he may just croak when he picks up the mirror because it is so incredibly heavy from the added weight of the shells, not to mention it's super awkward to handle because of the texture and sharpness of the shells. Be careful, you may get cut! You will want to make sure that you have at least 100 lb. support of picture hanging materials. We had to use a ladder to hang ours above the mantle, which was another pain in the rear. You will need at least 2 people to accomplish this task.
Once that beauty was hung on the wall it was so worth it all. I'm not sure that my husband agrees, but he does love the mirror.
To see more of the Foyer and Dining Room Before & After photos, click here!
Also, if you want to see more DIY Tutorials head over to Kelly's Korner DIY link-up!
Finally, don't forget to enter my giveaway: 2 tickets to the Pearl Event, a women's faith mini-conference! Have a fabulous weekend, loves! xoxo

21 comments:

  1. Great tutorial!!! I LOVE that mirror!! You did an awesome job with it! That chandelier from Amen Street Raw Bar in Charleston, SC is GORGEOUS!! That was a great idea to hang the shells from your chandelier. Looking forward to seeing more decorations from your beautiful home!

    <3
    Amanda

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    1. Thank y'all!! I fell in love with that chandelier in Charleston!! it was humongous-the picture really doesn't do the size of it justice! Have a wonderful weekend, ladies!! xoxo

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  2. I love all things Oyster Shell! Check out
    http://uptownacorn.blogspot.com/2013/02/diy-oyster-shell.html
    and you'll see why. I am a new follower.

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    1. Me, too, Ron! So nice to meet you! Thank you for following! :) Have a fabulous weekend! xoxo

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  3. I am always in awe of your home, it is very beautiful. You've done a wonderful job of putting it all together. We cannot wait to purchase a home and make it 'ours'. You've given me ton's of great ideas, keep up the good work!

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    1. You are so sweet, Meredith!! Thank you so much! It will be so much fun for you when you get you first home and it will be so wonderful. I'm sure you will decorate it beautifully, too! Have a blessed weekend! xoxo

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  4. Your home is gorgeous! And I LOVE that mirror! I also think it would look fabulous in a beach house!

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend!! Yes, it would be perfect in a beach house. I pretend every day that when I look out my windows I see sand and waves. :) Have a fabulous weekend! xoxo

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  5. Very neat! I found your blog through Nicole's blog the other day :) I just saw that you're from Dahlonega! I went to NGCSU! Small world! I love reading your blog!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words and for introducing yourself! :) I am thrilled to get to know you! I went to NGCSU my first 2 years before transferring UGA. I loved it, but since I'm from there I was just ready to go somewhere where no one knew me, lol. Dahlonega will always be home to me. My family still lives there and my sister owns a fabulous hair salon there (Structure Hair Studio). It is such a small world! Have a blessed weekend! xoxo

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  6. Love your oyster shell projects!! I think your bronze chandelier with the shells is the perfect balance:) I love the mirror too and may have to try one! Thanks for the warnings...I can already hear my husband calling pinterest the devil again;) Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Thank you so much, Brooke!! I liked the contrast between the bronze and the grays of they oyster shells, too. :) You'll have to let me know if you do end up making a mirror-I want to see it! Oh girl, we must warn each other when anything involves our men and their patience with us, lol! Have a wonderful weekend, too! xoxo

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  7. I just posted today about how I attempted to make an oyster shell mirror for my basement remodel but it didn't work out. I used liquid nails as well but the shells didn't adhere strong enough. Not to mention the weight bent the mounting bracket.
    Feel free to stop over and check it out…maybe you'll have some helpful tips. Yours looks fabulous.

    Hugs-
    Amelia

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    1. Oh, Amelia, that breaks my heart!! I will have to check it out. I used a lot of the Liquid Nails, and gooped it on heavy and thick. I mentioned about letting the shells dry for 24 hours, then reapplying the glue where it's needed, then waiting another 24 hours. I also mentioned that you have to use very heavy duty wall mounts to hang it with. I hope you can fix it!!! Thank you! Have w wonderful weekend! xoxo

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  8. Soooo cute!!! Looooove the garland - the perfect touch for your chandy! xx.

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    1. Thank you!!! :) Have a wonderful week! xoxo PS-There is a man in Brandon's Kiwanis group that is from Americus named Lee Shepard and he is hilarious. Anyway, every time I see him I think about y'all since you live there. :)

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  9. I am in love with both! You did a great wonderful job & of course Brandon did a great job helping :)

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    1. Thank you, Ashleigh!! He did do a great job helping me. He wasn't too thrilled about it at the time, but he loves the outcome! xoxo

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  10. Great stuff from you, man. Ive read your stuff before and youre just too awesome. I love what youve got here, love what youre saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog. Home Design Ideas

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  11. I love that mirror. The chandeliers are interesting too, but that mirror is simply gorgeous.

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  12. Hi Cherish, Love the Chandelier!!! I am a Charlestonian (born, raised & still live in Charleston, SC)! Was in Amen St. Restaurant recently & saw those wonderful oyster shell chandeliers. I must of had the same thoughts as you because ever since I've been looking online to find out how to make a smaller version. Well, thanks to you, I now know how. I'm in the middle of redecorating my LR & DR. I recently lived in Maui for 6 mo. & wanted to create that feeling of blue ocean in my home. I love your ideas & appreciate you sharing them with us. Blessings, Sher in SC

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I sure do love hearing from y'all-you make my day!