How to Dry Starfish

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Starfish, or sea stars, are prized by many collectors of ocean life. These lovely gifts from the sea are often featured as beach wedding decorations and lend themselves nicely to craft projects and home decor. You’ll need to dry your starfish properly to preserve it for craft use or to add it to your treasure trove. It’s easy to do with a few household materials, and this potentially messy project will give you a good excuse to spend some quality time outdoors in the fresh air and warm sunshine.

Dried starfish are delicate and beautiful.
(Santy Gibson/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Table salt
  • Baking soda
  • Small cardboard box
  • Household bleach
  • Casserole dish
  • Slotted spoon
  • Small rocks
  • Aerosol crafting sealant
Step 1

Mix equal parts table salt and baking soda. Cover the bottom of the inside of a small shallow cardboard box with a thin layer of the mixture. Set the box aside.

Make sure the entire bottom of the box is covered.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 2

Combine three parts water with one part household bleach in a casserole bowl. You’ll need enough of the solution to completely submerge the starfish. Put the starfish in the bleach solution and allow it to soak for 60 seconds.

The bleach will dissolve any remaining organic matter.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 3

Scoop the starfish out of the solution with a slotted spoon. Set it on top of the salt mixture in the box. Weigh each arm down with a small rock to keep the appendages from curling up as they dry out.

Don't reach into the bleach with your bare hands.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 4

Place the box outdoors in direct sunlight and leave it alone for 48 hours. Once it has completely dried, treat the dried starfish with an aerosol crafting sealant. Follow the packaging instructions carefully.

Leave the starfish in a sunny spot.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use the same technique for preserving sand dollars.

References

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