The Art of Darkness

Halloween Tree Part 3

December 10th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Seashell VultureOne of my favorite ornaments on my own tree is this little vulture, given to me by a friend. It’s made out of a mussel shell and a crab claw, with tiny rhinestones for eyes.

These are adorable little ornaments, and couldn’t be easier to make. If you like seafood, they’re also free.

To start, you need a mussel shell and a small crab claw; one from a blue crab is about the right size. The easiest way to obtain these is to have a seafood dinner and save the remnants.

To clean the shell and claw, pick out any scraps of meat (you may need to use tweezers to get up inside the crab claw). Scrub thoroughly with an old toothbrush. If they still smell funky, you can clean them further by freezing them overnight buried in a mixture of three parts salt to one part baking soda, or by boiling them for about 20 minutes.

After that, soak them in a 50-50 solution of bleach and water (wash them first if you’ve buried them in the baking soda stuff). Soak the claw overnight, and soak the shells until the “periostracum” (the flaky covering) is gone. Fish out and let dry.

Now the easy part: Orient the shell so that the smaller end is pointing up and hot glue the claw, beak-like, to the hinge. When dry, spray-paint black. Glue on a couple of little beads for eyes, and attach a loop of ribbon with a dot of glue.

You can make a bunch of these and have your own little flock.

For futher inspiration, check out Tideline Salvage (if you’ve ever attended the Maryland Renaissance Festival, you’re probably familiar with these guys), who make extremely elaborate versions of the same thing. Also bats, rats, roaches, and other oddities, all from salvaged natural items. Cute!

Halloween Tree
Halloween Tree Part 2

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