How to Bleach Starfish

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Starfish can be preserved and used to display or in craft projects.
Starfish can be preserved and used to display or in craft projects. (Image: PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

You have spent your vacation combing the beaches and have discovered some beautiful starfish that you would like to preserve for use in a craft or as a decoration in your home. Unfortunately, those starfish may come with a bit of a smell that, over time, will become overpowering and unpleasant. Treating these starfish with a bleach mixture will help give them a crisp color and remove the organisms that are causing the smell. Once your starfish have been treated, they can be displayed alone on a shelf, on the wall or used to create a variety of different art projects, from picture frames to beach shadow boxes.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Metal tongs
  • Flat box
  • 2 Inch deep flat bowl

Take the flat box or box lid and place it on a flat surface. This will be where your starfish will be placed to dry. Sprinkle with enough baking soda and salt to make a thin layer on the surface of the cardboard.

Mix together a bleach and water solution of three parts bleach to one part water. Place enough of this mixture in the bowl to completely submerge your starfish in.

Take your starfish and place them into the bleach and water mixture so they are completely submerged. Let them soak in this concentration for about a minute and then remove with tongs. Place the starfish on the baking soda and salt mixture and allow to dry overnight.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you would like to create colorful starfish, use a craft spray paint to add color once the starfish is dry from the bleaching.
  • Once the starfish is dry, apply a finishing sealant spray to strengthen the starfish and make it a little less fragile and able to work with.
  • Another method to preserve starfish is to soak it in a 70 percent concentration of isopropyl alcohol for one or two days. Allow it to air-dry in the sun.
  • To keep starfish legs from curling up as they dry, place a weight at the end of each leg to keep them straight.
  • Starfish are living animals and before you remove them from the beach, make sure they are not still alive. Some beaches do not allow for the removal of marine life like starfish so make sure that removing them is allowed.

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