Binding and Wrapping a Shell Slice

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of purchasing shells, but I will take the exception once in

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Beautiful, but endangered

while if I see something cool at a bead store or at a gem and bead show. Shells have been sold and traded for use in jewelry and adornments throughout our history, so I don’t think selling shells is going away anytime soon. I just like to avoid endangered ones.

I picked up a neato Mitra shell that was cut lengthwise to show the spiral inside the shell. The Mitra Sea Snail is common, but the shell is quite beautiful and unique when polished to show off the patterns and the inside structure.

I thought it would be cool to wrap it similar to how I would wrap and secure a Matau hook style pendant necklace over a cord to stabilize it.

First, I hand braided a Kumihimo cord for the shell pendant using waxed Linhasita thread.

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A simple 4 strand braid with a knotted toggle

Next, I used a little more of the waxed nylon thread to make a series of several half hitch knots over the center of the necklace cord AND over and through one of the voids in the sliced shell to hold both together. I singed and melted the ends of the binding using a Zap-It tool, or you can use a lighter (carefully- and outside!). The knots can still slide along the cord, but the cut edge of the shell can wear on the threads over time, so I like to keep the wrap centered typically. This is another excellent reason to use waxed nylon cord for this type of project.

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The ridge of half hitch knots is on the top side

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It took about 8 half hitches to ensure the shell was securely bound to the cord

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I’m Queen of the MerPeople, you noob

I think it makes a cool surfy necklace, and a little different from the conventional. And NO, I’m not trying to appropriate anyone’s culture- don’t get up in my face about it….

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Hang up the phone. NOW, Princess.

Shell Jewelry Tips

At one time or another, every surfer (or aspiring surfer) worth their cred tries to make their own beachy shell jewelry. It IS part of our primal urge. In fact, some of the earliest known forms of adornment were pierced shells and teeth on handmade string.

But after an hour after the Upper Paleolithic Revolution has worn off within the surfer, then he or she usually gives up and buys it somewhere.

But if you have a flat day of surf, and you’re

I love Pauly Shore

feelin’ a bit like Encino Man, here’s three tips I’ve found helpful over time when making shell jewelry…

 

 

 

1. Go to a thrift store for shell beads and pendants first.

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A nice shell necklace I found, but it’s too chunky and sharp to wear comfortably as a necklace

I love shell jewelry, but the current shell industry has now over harvested and overbred many species for the trade. I’ll pass on that choice first.

I’ve found MUCH higher quality shell beads among thrift store and vintage finds over purchasing recently grown and cut varieties. I’d rather buy my shells at the better vintage quality whenever possible, rather than contributing even more to the over harvesting problem. It’s kind of how I feel about pearls. Bonus that you can still get a deal at a few thrift stores these days. For now. The beach is always the great option, of course, but you will be drilling these yourself and removing natural items from the beach.

2. Use nylon or wire to string shell beads.

When shells are drilled for sale as beads, rarely is the inside diameter perfectly smooth, unless you pay a premium.

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The drill holes are clean, but at odd angles

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Various types of stringing material I use with shells 

Common shell beads will cut most cotton, hemp, or poly thread like a Ginsu knife. So, get some decent stuff that won’t cut nor fray easily, or your ocean cred probably won’t last da Summer.

Or….I guess you could

Bizarro Hasselhoff

say you sliced that freshie shell anklet you made on a shark’s tooth while saving the Mayor’s kid from the deadly riptide, you Gnar Lifeguard????

You’re welcome.

3. Check your shells for sharp burrs, and file them down before stringing.

I was warned by a lapidary long ago to ALWAYS WEAR A MASK when filing, sanding, or drilling shells. Excellent advice. The calcium carbonate particles are easily inhaled- along with whatever fun stuff that shell has absorbed. Use a bit of water to minimize dust, and go outdoors for the task preferably.

Sharp edges and burrs can often be removed using a decent nail file from the drugstore, a bead reamer from the craft store, or a rotary drill. It’s best to do this BEFORE staring a piece most times. After the piece is finished, it’s difficult to sand some areas typically.

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Keep a supply of water nearby to keep the shell wet while sanding or drilling 

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Various pieces polished and drilled

Enjoy trying out all the types of natural shell, seed, and nut beads available. If you really hate doing it yourself, though, this is a good time to plug my Etsy store where I post my random surfy jewelry (including shells), as well as projects and art I like to do. Surprise. I have an Etsy store. I think it’s mandatory for crafters.

Anywho….shell jewelry is cool since it’s nice to have a reminder that there’s a great big ocean out there and we get to be a part of it, if only for a vacation. I mean, that’s one of the beautiful things about surfing, right? Right???

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I guess you could make a surfer necklace from your sacred gym key

You put da Lime in da Coconut….

I’m not a drinker, but I wanted to take Harry Nilsson’s advice and see if a lime in the coconut would make me feel any better. Except I’ll do it Crafty Surf style.

We had a pile of bark that came off of the coconut palm in the backyard.

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Spring cleanup

Some of the innermost bark can be almost canvas-like, similar to a rough piece of papyrus, but a touch more supple. I thought, why not try and do some bead embroidery on it for kicks?

First, I soaked it in some soap (or Mr. Belvedere’s Gnar Pro Wash works GREAT to disinfect beachy finds). I made sure do this, or critters might eat the work. Yummy.

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I selected a piece that was pliable, but had some density in the weave

I cut a nice sized rectangle of slightly damp bark material to work with. Using a very thin beading needle and fine nylon beading thread, I took glass seed beads and created a lime slice in freehand for kicks.

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Some of the supplies I used

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Making the first few test stitches

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Almost finished

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Beadwork complete!

The bark sewed surprisingly well, and wasn’t all that brittle. It helped working with it slightly damp, and I made sure there was plenty of space to work with. On the down side,  it sheds quite a bit after a while, so I didn’t want to make a lot of elaborate beadwork since handling it too long just shreds it. Also, the bark doesn’t allow for a lot of mistakes- once you’ve punctured it, ya done.

After I completed the lime slice, I tore away some of the edges of the bark to give the piece more texture. I tried not to tear too far…

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Neato

Done!

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear that song, I think of the only two good actresses from this movie:

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The one on the left will always be Rizzo, sorry

Upcycled Surf Scrunchie

Yes, I’m guilty of STILL liking the idea of scrunchies. Fortunately, it’s a trend right now. Good- I could really use a good waterproof scrunchie to keep my freakin’ snapback on my head while I’m surfing. I’m really addicted to wearing a ball cap when I surf now. Helps me ignore the wave snakin’ wankers.

So, I usually pull my hair back in a ponytail and though the cap’s back hole. I like the newer silicone hair ties since they stand up to saltwater for far longer, but they absolutely tear my hair out when I get out from surfing. Enter the brilliant scrunchie.

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These things usually rip my hair out

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Scrunchie makin stuff 

I got out the remainder of the rash guard I used for another project, and cut a 4 inch wide strip from the waist area of the former rashie. I didn’t cut the side seams.

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Using a rotary cutter helps

Keeping it as a continuous loop, I pinned the edges together, lining up the seams on each side with the pink elastic encased.

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Going around the silicone band- this takes a while

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Another scrunchie I made from custom printed  fabric

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All pinned up

I could have whipstitched these edges together, but I serged them instead. I went VERY slowly around the piece, making the Lycra as straight as possible for the machine without overstretching it.

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I went super slow

Done!

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It’s the 80’s Way

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Went nuts making some

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Doesn’t come off as a scrunchie 

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Hurricane Hair

So the silicone band inside should last a lot longer than the traditional ones that seem to break on me CONSTANTLY (what a waste.) Plus, this is a perfect way to recycle gnarled Lycra from a rashguard.

Worked super well during this evening’s surf session. I never lost my hat, and that makes me happy. Bonus that it doesn’t rip my hair out after I get out.

While I don’t judge here at Crafty Surf, if you’re a surfer dude considering the Man Bun option, please consider this image first:

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Man Buns will make you a Conehead

Record Setting Wave

The World Surf League has officially announced that Rodrigo Koxa, a 38 year old Brazilian surfer, has set the new World Record for the largest wave ever ridden at 80 feet in Nazaré, Portugal.

“I try to surf big waves all my life, and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré,” Koxa said. “Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically. Now, I’m just so happy, and this is the best day of my life. Thank you to WSL, it’s a dream come true.” Rodrigo Koxa, from surfertoday.com

Not surprisingly, this surfer had assistance to get into the monstrous wave with a jet ski because of the screamin’ speed of the wave. Doesn’t make it any easier to have a jet ski , by any means. You still gotta surf the wave 80 feet down. Eight stories. A Miami condo.

To live through a drop like this, no doubt Big Wave surfers have to go though a lot of unseen, unsexy failure and recovery, over and over, to make it to this point.

Don’t tell this guy he got “lucky to make it.”

Surfboard Fin Fun: DIY Roundup

I’ve done several DIY’s and crafts related to img_0857fins, so I wanted to round up a few fun posts to share during this April’s fin madness here at Crafty Surf. I just can’t handle the craziness.

Cheap DIY Fin Covers

I still use these craft foam covers- they’re better than the plain black ones they usually come with, and labeling them yourself just keeps things organized. For the surfer with a hint o’ engineer quirkiness.

Surfboard Contact Info

This is a handy hack using the single fin box to put some stealthy contact info if your board is ever stolen. Happens often around here, unfortunately.

Single Fin Thumbscrew

Great item to have if you’d like to get rid of a screwdriver in your surf gear. Check out the link to see the specs on what you’ll need.

Recycled Neoprene Surf Fin Sock

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In this project, I needed to make a soft cover for the glassed in fin on my wall hanger surfboard. An old wetsuit was perfect. After a good washing, of course.

Lovin’ The Nubbin

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I had a good time with this project. I took a plastic fin and mowed it down with the scroll saw. Then I attempted to sand some semblance of a foil into it. Silly and crazy, and mega fun to surf with. Fools have the most fun, right?

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It’s been mucho fun learning about fins, and since new fins and fads keep popping up all the time, I know there’s more to see and learn.

I’m still upset at myself for letting my holy grail fin get away. I wanted this one for the uplifting art alone, since it speaks to my soul on so many levels….

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The Shaka and Beer. Like the Old Man and The Sea, they are forever entwined 

 

Surfboard Fin Fun: Very Interesting….

This month, I’ve been doing the whole surfboard fin thing, and it’s been really fun and interesting. I just surf for kicks, but it’s crazy what I have collected over time for being a not-even-close-to-Pro surfer. Yep, if you tell me I’ll surf better with it, I’ll probably give it a go. Hey- so would you, brah.

Here’s some other fins I have (and no longer have) in my collection….

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Proteck Fins

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I think this fin might be ready to donate

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These have saved me on more than a few closeouts 

Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of crap about these plastic fantastic fins, but they have been great for my safety. The one shown first is my well-used 7″ which no longer has the supple rubber edge on it. That’s the downside with these- DON’T keep them out in the sun, because the rubber edge will go brittle over time.

I use a 9″ one in my 9’2″ Stand-Up Paddleboard, and I have a small thruster set I used in my first surfboard (second pic). Great investment while learning, or for anytime. Prevented a lot of potentially BAD fin cuts at the beginning, leaving only bruising. Highly recommended- others in the lineup might thank you too.

 

Turbo Tunnel

Tease me all you want, but yes, I actually bought into this fad.

These fins will put a severe drag on your tail. The whole idea is that you can use this to your advantage when noseriding, but honestly, it just makes it super difficult to paddle into a wave quickly. Horrific for surfing in my opinion, but great for paddle practice if you’re building those killer guns. Gnarlicious.

Sold mine years ago. Bye Felicia.

 

RFC Wingnut Longrake 9.0″

Although this is a beautiful fin, it really seems better suited to glassier, better sized waves (and better surfers) with its’ extra long rake. If it gets like that– which is pretty rare in Florida-I’m on my funshape. So, this fin doesn’t see a lot of use from me, personally.

I wonder if, as an experiment, I should send this fin this out to my fellow members in the Big Stick Association in Santa Cruz for them to try in their waves. Like that Singlefin: Yellow movie that sent that surfboard all over the world. Except we’d be a lot less emo and weird about it.

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I’m still learning about surfing all the time, and I know I’ll still go for whatever the fads are, and fail and try again, I’m sure.

Ok, so I’ll never learn.

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Can’t I do both???