I finally made the DIY shell casing necklace that I’ve been wanting to make for months. I’m pretty excited because it looks just as fabulous as I hoped it would (a successful DIY project is always cause for celebration).
I love the combination of the rugged shell casing (which has been fired), with the sparkly quartz. Want one?
- Bullet shell casing (ask a firearm-loving friend – you can also find them on Amazon)
- Rough cut rock crystal/quartz spike bead pre-drilled across the top (like these)
- 24 gauge wire
- Needle Nose Plier
- Drill and 1/16″ drill bit (or another small size)
- Pipe cutter (this one is similar to ours – same brand as well) or small saw
- Metal File (like this one)
- Safety Glasses (did you know they come in hot pink???)
- Jewellery chain (something in an “antique gold,” like this one, suits the brass casing)
How to make a shell case necklace:
Clean the shell casing:
I collected a wide selection of fired shell casings on our last trip to the firing range. I cleaned all the casings in the same vinegar bath & baking soda scrub I used to clean my penny for my penny ring project. Although the gunk came off, the casings kept a nice patina which I was happy about. Be sure to thoroughly rinse all vinegar and baking soda.
Find the right size crystal spike:
Finding the right size crystals was tricky. I brought one of each size shell casing to craft stores in search of the right stones. I finally found a strand of crystal points at a local bead shop in Thunder Bay. I’m happy I brought the casings because these stones are naturally irregular and only four or five fit well. I suggest checking out your local shops first.
If ordering online, pay particular attention to the size of the beads. Specifically ask the seller if the stones will fit in a tube the diameter of your casing.
|Rock Crystal Rough Point Stick Beads from Etsy|
Drill a hole in the casing:
With the crystals purchased and the shell casings cleaned, Hubby and I headed to the garage where he drilled a hole into the top of each casing (wearing eye protection, of course!).
Saw the end off a rifle casing:
The handgun casings were ready to use, but the rifle casings needed to be sawed off. A pipe cutter worked really well but if you don’t have one, a jeweller’s saw or a plain old saw will work. If using a saw, wrap a piece of paper towel around the casing so your vice grips, etc., don’t mar the surface (see third photo).
One thing to note: although more uniform, the pipe cutter slightly curves the end of the casing inward.
File the edges of the casing:
We used a metal file to gently file the metal at the cut edges and also where the holes were drilled. Work on a piece of paper towel to catch the filings and I recommend wearing gloves – the little metal bits are itchy as hell if they work their way into your skin. Trust me.
Wire wrap the crystal spike:
I grabbed one of my crystal spike points and strung about five inches of the wire through the bead. I worked with one end, wrapping the wire tightly against itself.
Then I threaded the end of the wire up through the drilled hole.
Using a pen, I wrapped the wire into a circle (the pen helped me keep the shape, but you can freehand it) and then wrapped the wire tightly around the base of the loop.
Finally, I added chain from the craft store. I made mine long enough to slip over my head, like with my DIY agate necklace, to avoid a clasp. I simply opened one loop, attached it to the other end and, voila, a fun new shell casing and crystal necklace!
Alternatively, you can also drill two holes in the side of the casings (use a nail to
make a dent first, so your drill bit doesn’t slip off) and run the chain
through the casing. With this method, you can even use a hunk of rock
glued into the casing, instead of a proper bead, and string the chain through the holes.
Here’s an example of how that would look, from etsy seller Changes Jewelry:
As another variation, instead of drilling the top you can push the primer out, but then the hole is inset. We used a nail set to push it out (which may not be the best tool for the job, but it worked).
Let me know if you have any questions about how to make your own shell casing and crystal spike necklace!