How-To: Make a Knotted Seashell Necklace

Craft & Design

How-To Tuesdays
One of my dearest friends, Nik Schulz, is a creative illustrator. This weekend he brought me a valentine that is exactly what I wanted: a DIY project to share with you! Nik lived for half a year on St. Agnes, a tiny island in the Isles of Scilly. And while he was there, he sailed, learned knot tying, and collected some unique seashells. Thus, the Knotted Seashell Necklace came to be. The knots are very clever and the overlapping lends a woven look to the final result. This is a great project for the beginning knot maker, and to help you along, I took a short video of Nik explaining the method he uses for threading the shells. I love the necklace so much, but I loved watching him make it even more. Thanks Nik!



Thin, waxed linen cord
Drill with 1/16″ bit
2×4 with 2 nails, 12″ apart


Step 1: Chose 7 seashells for the necklace. I chose a center piece first and then selected 6 other shells that played off the colors and patterns in it.
Step 2: Drill a small hole in each shell. Drill from the inside of the shell to the outside. It is most important to use light pressure so as not to crack the shell. Practice a few times to make sure you have your method down.
Step 3: Cut 7 cords, each 1′ long.
Thread the Shells:

Step 4: Slide one shell onto a piece of cord. The half of the thread coming out of the top of the shell shall be called the top thread. The half of the cord coming out of the bottom of the shell will be called the lower thread. Push the shell down the thread so that the top thread is 3″ longer than the lower thread.
Step 5: Lock the lower thread against the shell with your thumb, and with your free hand, form a 3/4″ U-shaped loop with the top thread. This is called a bight.
Step 6: Wrap the top thread around the bottom of bight and the lower thread.
Step 7: Keep wrapping until 5 wraps have been formed. Use your nails in between to push the wraps tightly together.
Step 8: On the 6th and final wrap, pass the top thread through the loop, being sure to capture the lower thread in the process.
Step 9: Grab the wraps and slide them all away from the seashell to close the loop. Pull only on the thread, if you put pressure on the shell, it could break.
Step 10: Pull the lower thread and slide the wraps back down towards the shell to close the loop holding the shell. Repeat Steps 4 through 10 with the remaining shells.
String the Necklace:
Step 11: Cut 32″ of cord. Center it onto the 2 nails, and secure the ends to the nails.
Step 12: Start with the center shell. Hold it against the back of the thread and center it. Form a “V” with the 2 threads that hangs about 5/8″.
Step 13: Tie each end of the “V” to the necklace using a simple clove hitch. Don’t tighten them down too tight yet, so that they can be adjusted if needed later.
Step 14: Repeat the process with the remaining shells, being sure to overlap the “V” of each shell. It will get crowded along the necklace, but work slowly and deliberately.
Step 15: Add the clasp using the same wrap knots that you tied for the shells. When positioning the clasps for length, take into account that when you close the loop for the clasp, the necklace will get a bit longer.
Step 16: Put it on a pretty girl, and then trim the cords to taste! I like mine wild!

5 thoughts on “How-To: Make a Knotted Seashell Necklace

  1. Arwen O'Reilly Griffith says:

    This is so beautiful, Brookelynn! Thanks for sharing…

  2. rosy says:

    wow It’s a really beautiful.I got that real procedure like how to make necklace from sea shell.thanks for such grate information and i just surfing but i got really tremendous post.thanks..
    sea life

  3. Jaime says:

    I am going to have to try this little project! Now, to master the clove hitch….

  4. Mandy says:

    I can’t see any of the pictures! :( This sounds AMAZING!

  5. radhardened says:

    The images in this piece seem to be broken. It’s hard to follow the tutorial without them – is it possible they could be restored?

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