Hatteras Island Starfish- How To

How to Preserve Your Starfish and Other Shells

Ok, so you have scoured the beaches of Cape Hatteras and spent hours of hard work looking for the perfect specimen to display on your shelves. But seriously, if you find that perfect piece of sea life that was washed ashore and you want to turn it into a keepsake, there might be a few steps you need to take first. 
Check out that starfish... give it a whiff. Smell? Yep, more than likely even if it was dried out when you found it there is still a lingering smell and quite frankly could use a little cleaning. Well here is where you need some help. This also works well for sanddollars and other similar shells.
You will need:
Flattened cardboard box or drying surface
Large flat bowl (at least 2" deep)
Baking Soda
Metal flat slotted spoon

Start by laying out the cardboard or other flat surface. Sprinkle with the baking soda and salt to make a thin layer on the cardboard. 
In the bowl, mix together bleach and water to have a depth of about 1" or whatever will be needed to cover the shells that will be submerged. You will want to have about 3 parts bleach and 1 part water.
Take the shells and submerge in the bleach mixture and allow them to sit for about a minute. Use the slotted spoon to then remove the shells and place onto the baking soda mixture on the cardboard. Allow the shells or starfish to dry overnight.

For best results, when dry, use a finishing spray like Krylon- Make it Last. You can find this type of spray at most craft or hardware stores. This will help strengthen the shell and make it less fragile when using for your craft project. If you want to change the color of the shell, use a spray paint before the sealant and give it a nice even coat. 

Use the starfish or other shell to border a picture frame or mirror. You can even make them into great Christmas ornaments with a little ribbon and glitter. Have fun and be creative!

Here's a short "How to" video!


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