Things to make with seashells: ‘Mademoiselle Shell’ doll

Posted under Nature and Animal Crafts

Things to make with seashells


Project #4: Things to make with seashells

Mademoiselle Shell, a sweet shell craft for you!


Time: 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your children’s desire or need to help!

Difficulty: Fiddly, but not difficult.  Uses a sharp needle.


Many years ago, I visited a market and saw an enchanting doll made using shells and beads, the perfect shell craft. I’ve been wanting to recreate her for a long, long, long time and this month of nature crafts gave me the perfect opportunity to show you some things to make with seashells.  She hangs above my kitchen sink and delights me every time I wash up. Which is often. I am chief dishwasher.


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1.  To start, take a long length – at least 50 cm- of thick embroidery cotton (or fishing line) and thread it onto a needle. Begin by threading the thread through one long bead, then a larger ‘foot’ bead, then the other ‘foot’ bead, then back up through a second long bead.  Pull the thread through so that beads sit right in the centre of the thread.

2.  Tie a knot above the beads to keep the feet/legs in place.

3.  Carefully drill a hole in the top of the bigger shell.  Thread this onto both ends of the thread, one thread at a time. (It means a bit of messing about swapping needles, or thread a second needle onto the second string to speed up the process.) Push the shell firmly down onto the legs.

4.  Thread the middle-sized bead on to make the torso. Go through the bead with the left thread, then repeat with the right piece of cotton thread.

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5.  This is what it will look like so far.

6.  The arms need to be attached separately, first one, then the other.  To make the left arm, take the left piece of thread and take it through a third long bead.  Next, thread a smaller ‘hand’ sized shiny bead onto the cotton.  Go around this ‘hand’ bead and take the thread back through the long bead towards the torso.  Tie a knot at the end of the long bead. This knot will sit in the space between the long bead and the torso. Repeat this entire sequence using the right thread to make the right arm. Tie both ends of the threads between the arms to pull them close together.

7.  Add the smallest bead to form a neck area.  Go through this with both threads too, then add the largest bead to make the ‘head’.

8.  Drill a hole through a second smaller shell. Thread the second shell ‘hat’ onto the head bead using both threads, then add a small clear coloured seed bead (extra- not shown in materials picture) above the shell to hold everything in place.  Be sure to push this down as firmly as you can so that Mademoiselle Shell hangs correctly and nicely. Tie off both cotton threads firmly.

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9. To make the mobile, thread on a number of beads, buttons, or felt balls onto the leftover lengths of thread above Shell’s head, then tie this to a piece of driftwood or a stick from your garden like I did.

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10.  Add a matching coloured finger knitted or twisted wool rope to the stick so you can hang your creation somewhere special.


PS: At any stage, you can add a dollop of PVA glue or superglue to help Shell stay in place, but it is not an absolute necessity. She will sit nicely anyhow.

I rather think Mademoiselle Shell is rather fetching.

But what do YOU think of her?  I’d love to know!


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3 Responses to “Things to make with seashells: ‘Mademoiselle Shell’ doll”

  1. Kylie

    This is my daughters favourite so far. Will have to find our shells!

  2. Amber

    I like her too. She is way more beatiful in real life too, photos really don’t do her justice at all! happy hunting!

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