Saturday, February 2, 2013

Making a Giant Clam Sea Shell

I was inspired to create this giant clam sea shell for my living room. These amazing Tridacna Gigas Giant Clam Shells can reach up to 4 feet across. The clam shell that I made measures about 28"X 15 1/2"; I was trying to make it the same size as a real, average sized clam shell. I am really happy with the result.
First I drew and cut this shape like you see in the photo out of cardboard for the sections of the clam shell. You could cut about five or six sections depending on how big you want your clam shell.
Then I cut small sections along the edge, and bent the cardboard to give it a curved shape. This way it is easy to handle.
I glued together the cuts along the edges with hot glue. This is the form I obtained.

Then I glued them together.

Then I covered all the sections with paper and white glue diluted with water.
To give it a more ruffled edge to the shell I cut this shape from cardboard, and glued it on the joint sections of the shell. Then I covered it with more paper and glue solution.

Here you can see the shell all covered. 
After the clam shell was completely dry, I covered it with All-Purpose Joint Compound using a sponge, and I let it dry. To give texture to the shell I first worked the exterior of the shell, applying a generous amount of compound, then spread it with a wide comb, and let it dry.

 Then I applied joint compound to the interior of the shell as well. To give a more smooth surface inside the shell, after applying the joint compound with the sponge, try to make long, smooth strokes with the sponge. Let dry. Instead of sanding it, I used a wet sponge to smooth the surface. If you are thinking of using the shell to place plants inside, you could apply several coats of a clear synthetic resin or clear finish for boats. 
This is how I applied a good amount of joint compound and spread it with the comb.

Spread the joint compound in a horizontal motion with the comb.
After it was completely dry, I painted it with a primer+paint acrylic paint. To give it a more realistic look, you could glue tiny shells or dried barnacles between the sections of the faux shell.

I really like my faux clam shell; I Love to decorate with sea shells.
~ Have a wonderful day and blessings always~
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