Driftwood & Seashell Windchime

3 May

This project has been a big pain from day 1. Driftwood proved difficult to drill, the shells took a long time to drill, and the hemp string resisted my crochet hook. I started by cutting driftwood into appropriate lengths to create a rectangle, then drilled holes 1-2 inches apart through each piece. I had a difficult time connecting the four pieces to make a rectangle. I tried wood glue (didn’t stick). I tried wrapping string to lash them together (needed more arms). I tried to drill and screw them together (driftwood is uneven and wierd). I tried to nail them (driftwood is too hard and round). I finally drilled one stick, and put a nail through the hole and roughly nailed it into the second. This held long enough to lash the two together.

Driftwood base for windchime closeup on driftwood base for windchime

It took me weeks to get through all of this mess; then I didn’t have enough shells. I finally got to the beach and was sunburned for my trouble (despite bathing in sunscreen). A several days later I was rudely awakened by a scary noise in my apartment which turned out to be the cat, who had decided to investigate my bag of shells. She got her head stuck in the handle and went thrashing about the house, spewing and breaking shells as she went. Fortunately, she didn’t break too many and I was able to salvage most.

Some shells come with convenient small holes created by Mother Nature. For the rest of the shells, I drilled holes at their base using a tile bit. Next, I threaded hemp string through the holes drilled in the driftwood and used a simple crochet stitch to add interest, stringing shells as I went.

stringing shells with hemp yarnI also crocheted two long strings, crisscrossed them under the driftwood structure, and used them to hang the wind-chime. The final product:

finished wind-chimefinished wind-chime 2

I’m not crazy with the finished product. I think there is a good idea at the root here, but it needs to be more dense with shells. A big improvement would be to add more lines of shells lengthwise down the middle. Also, simply starting smaller and making longer, more dramatic threads of shells would be more elegant. Crossing the driftwood, rather than making a rectangle might also be a direction with which to experiment. I previously wrote about a wind-chime made entirely of shells, but I do love the look of driftwood, and despite its difficulties, I will continue to experiment with it. I would love to hear about other’s experiments in working with natural materials!

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