How to Drill Shells for Jewelry

Assorted shells are used to make unique jewelry.
Assorted shells are used to make unique jewelry. (Image: A necklace made of shells. image by Saskia Massink from

A beach vacation is the perfect opportunity to start a collection of seashells. Once home, these shells can be used for a variety of crafts such as jewelry-making. Learning how to drill shells for jewelry is useful in that it will allow you to turn these beautiful pieces of nature into unique pieces of jewelry. Once a hole is made, colorful string or fabric can then be thread through the holes and formed into necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Soapy water
  • Toothbrush
  • Pencil
  • Vise or clamp
  • Dremel
  • Assorted bit sizes

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Wash the shells in a bucket with soapy water to remove and sand or debris. If needed, use a toothbrush to gently scrub away any debris. Let the shells air dry.

Draw a dot on the shell where you'd like to drill the hole. The spot selected should be approximately the thickness of a quarter.

Place the shell in a vise or a clamp so that it stays stationary beneath the drill bit. Start with the smallest drill bit in the dremel.

Drill slowly, stopping and starting to release pressure and being sure to hold the drill upright.

Switch to a thicker drill bit and repeat Step 4. This step can be repeated as many times as needed with thicker drill bits until a hole with desired width has been reached.


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