Binding and Wrapping a Shell Slice

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

AAE2BFDB-31CB-43BD-BF8C-375FE13927BB

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.

watermarked1(2018-05-22-1800)

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.

watermarked2(2018-05-22-1800)

The ridge of half hitch knots is on the top side

watermarked3(2018-05-22-1800)

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

watermarked5(2018-05-22-1800)

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….

img_1551

Hang up the phone. NOW, Princess.

Nautical Style: 4 Strand Kumihimo Braid

One of the most fun crafts I do is Kumihimo disk braiding. It’s very useful to know if you’re into watersports or the nautical/beach scene, since you can craft a lot of useful and fun stuff out of these type of braids. I use these frequently for cords on my Hei Matau and shark tooth pendants since they look nice, are very durable, and don’t require metal clasps (metal doesn’t do well over time in saltwater).

These days, it’s easy to find tutorials on 8 strand Kumihimo, but sometimes that can get a little thick for a necklace cord, even in hemp thread or Linhasita thread. So I thought I’d share a quick tutorial on doing your own 4 strand round braided cord to show off your own cool small to medium sized beachy finds or creations.

Most craft stores these days carry basic Kumihimo disks- or you can make one. I think it makes a better looking cord if you use a foam disk because the tension is better. A weight helps too, but is not necessary for these type of cords, since you can pull them taut later. But, the consistency is better with a weight though. Made mine with a screw, alligator clip and some washers (so I can adjust the weight depending on the material).

So, check out the picture tutorial I’ve got below using Linhasita thread in red, green, dark blue, and tan. Just follow the movement of the colors around the disc to see each movement. Repeat Steps 1-7 until the cord is the desired length.

1E77838F-5E25-414A-8144-704697E081BB

Tie four strands together that are each 1.5 to 2 times longer than you want your finished cord to be

E873E0F4-A5A9-4AF2-BF19-FF5884868C2C

Set up your threads on the right side of every dot and attach the weight under by the knot if you use one

8EF323D9-27D1-4206-B7BD-0F0A93CB9E93

FBA5D232-1A5A-4ADB-8330-6E4C96584231

44E4F0F3-68C5-4CBD-BFEE-35B7E4B79608

832C2958-D91A-4861-B491-3CC8FE6FD840

D2679DCE-5FDF-4067-B6BF-43AE1C41DF81

2157AABF-3C97-4EFA-B678-815E4C50668B

C2FABD09-DA32-4CAF-B4E0-99E9B7EB934D

Keep repeating these steps until your cord is finished.

I used earthy colors to make some cords to use:

BBDC2576-50FE-4F4B-83CE-A617D8E1549B

A ball of hemp twine and spools of waxed nylon cord

B52A5F44-6B1D-452A-BEFA-99654D2C89A1

4 Strand Braid in Hemp (top) and Linhasita (bottom)

F27F826A-9D36-47C2-90C4-4BC3172BE1A3

All the different pendants I can use this cord with

Ok, so I’ve already got a project ready for this cord, and it feels like a classic Brady Bunch trilogy is coming on…..

35D3BA96-7F14-4549-A1C0-DA4F2F8ABFB6

I know! My wipeouts are DA BEST

DIY Gifts for Surfers: Shark Tooth Wrap Pendant

I am asked all the time if I’m scared of sharks when I surf. I’m not- I would be more scared if I didn’t see critters in the water. That would mean I shouldn’t be in that water, either.

The More You Know


Lots of animals, and lots of different types of animals, is always a good sign of a healthy body of water. It’s my opinion that more shark bites on humans are seemingly happening because:

* More people are spending leisure time in the water,

* Data tracking and reporting is far better than in the past,

* Social media allows quick dissemination of information and news.

We must not let the outside chance of an inconvenient bite (let’s be honest, unless you surf daily in Australia next to an active reef, the chances of getting killed are quite minimal), kill off an essential part of the ocean’s ecosystem.

Given all that, here’s a project using a piece of one of those beautiful creatures, ironically. Fortunately, teeth are naturally lost over time by sharks on a consistent basis, so they can be collected without harming the animal. They can be found on beaches and seabeds, even fossilized seabeds. I saw my first shark tooth at the Falls of the Ohio, which were ancient seabeds along the border of Indiana and Kentucky.

I got this fossilized one years ago at another National Park (purchased at the Gift Shop! I didn’t just take it from the Park, geez). I’ve seen ones that are wrapped with wire to make a pendant, but if you want to surf with it on, the wire may get corroded, and even uncomfortable to wear over time.

So, I decided to use my trusty Linhasita cord again. Since it’s a large tooth, about 1″ wide, I thought making a men’s chunky style pendant would look cool, so I used about a yard of black cord for wrapping.

About a yard of black Linhasita cord for this project


I started by wrapping the cord end to the back, then wrapping the cord a few times tightly around one side, then the other by jumping sides at the top of the tooth:

Starting on the back of the tooth

Wrapping evenly on the front

Made each wrap side by side on each “arm” of the tooth

Tied a square knot to bring both ends together to make my bail sinnet


Next, I tied a square knot to bring the two long ends together, then prepared to make a pendant bail by making a sinnet (chain) of lark’s head knots. I kept making lark’s heads until the loop would be big enough to fit over a big cord necklace. I used my high temp “thread zap” tool to singe the waxed thread to seal the ends instead of just cutting them. This will prevent fraying. 

First lark’s head knot of the sinnet

I made under two inches of sinnet for the bail loop

Made a square knot to join the loop end to the beginning

Using my thread zap tool to melt the ends instead of trimming them

 

Here it is finished!

Sweet!

I also put it on a Kumihimo braided necklace I did using some leather-like cord. I thought this combo looked pretty Billy Bad-Ass Surfer Guy to me. Even the sharks will be saying, “Yo, just DON’T bite me, bro!”

SO GNAR!