Quick and Bold Halloween Jewelry: Make an Ostrich Shell Bracelet

Ever the fan of found-object jewelry, I love seeing jewelry artists who use natural found elements such as shells, twigs, and rocks, etc. when making jewelry. It's the ultimate in upcycling, to pick up something from the ground, something just discarded by nature, and turn it into a work of jewelry art. And maybe it's because it's almost Halloween, but this bracelet reminds me of spooky bones! Or maybe Frankenstein . . .

Thanks to Karen McGovern, an environmental jewelry artist and member of Nunn Design's Innovation Team, for this bold and quirky epoxy clay bracelet project. Enjoy!

Relic Ostrich Shell Bracelet
by Karen McGovern


Nunn Design round bezel bracelet in antique silver
black Crystal Clay
ostrich shell beads
faux pearl headpins
flat file
wire snips 



1. Lay out your components. Fit seven ostrich shell beads to the bracelet bezels.

Note: Ostrich shell is great to work with. If you can't fit the beads into the bracelet bezels exactly, simply file the edges until they fit. Remember, it's an actual egg shell, so they are fairly fragile. Make sure you have seven beads that fit easily inside the bezels to make a bracelet.

2. Cut the wire off your faux pearl headpins so that you have about 1/8 inch wire remaining. You want to leave just enough wire to grab the crystal clay and allow the faux pearl to sit flush with the ostrich shell bead.

3. Mix the Crystal Clay according to package directions. Pinch off enough to fill just the bracelet bezel and press it into place.

4. Then press the ostrich shell bead in the Crystal Clay. You want a bit of the clay to "ooze" out of the shell bead for a secure fit. If any clay overflows on the sides, remove it with your fingers or a toothpick.

5. Insert the faux pearl headpin wire into the hole of the shell bead and press into place until flush with the bead. Continue to fill each bezel as described.

6. Allow the Crystal Clay to cure at least two hours and preferably overnight. Test the faux pearls; if any are loose, add a dab of glue to the base as needed.

Tip: If you don't have ostrich shell beads, use any flat, white bead with a good hole in the center. Bone beads would work well here.

If you already love working with epoxy clay, you know this project would be a breeze to make! If you're new to epoxy clay's magical adhesive properties, give it a try with our Nunn Design epoxy clay kits. Choose the ring or the bracelet–or both–and make quick and eye-catching jewelry perfect for holiday parties or gifts, in minutes!

ostrich shell beads –
Yvonne's Jewels www.etsy.com/yvonnesjewels
faux pearl headpins – Michaels
Crystal Clay – CrystalClayOnline.com, Amazon, etc.

About the designer:
Karen McGovern is a member of the Nunn Design Innovation Team. She's also an environmental jewelry artist who donates most of her proceeds to support wildlife conservation programs through the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, RareSpecies.org.

Growing up in Florida wilderness shaped every aspect of Karen's life, so a career in conservation biology was almost pre-destined. Her work allows her to travel to Caribbean islands, African savannas, and Mexican jungles–not to mention living every day with endangered parrots, primates, and African antelope in the 30+ acre wildlife preserve she calls home. Her work as an artist and jewelry designer directly reflects her deep respect for nature and passion to preserve creatures living wild in the world. Karen is an avid collector of the unusual and prefers to use mixed media, recycled or repurposed elements in her work such as reclaimed metals (copper and brass pipe and sheet), sterling silver, and all manner of found objects including bone, fur, antiquities, and botanicals. You can learn more about Karen and her work at Beadkeepers.com, "Where ART and the ENVIRONMENT Meet."

Post a Comment