I got the inspiration for the Oyster Ball center pieces when we were visiting my in-laws in Florida years before we were engaged. My mother-in-law decorated their home in an elegant coastal theme and I’ve been in love with the idea of decorating with Oysters ever since.
I wracked my brain trying to come up with the execution to accomplish the look I was going for.
Finding Oyster Shell proved to be a little more difficult (and expensive) than I originally thought. I found a few stores on Etsy that sell oyster shells, but it felt way too expensive for how many I thought we would need (ranging around $1.25/each) – 100 Large Shell Mix & Two Dozen Flat Shells.
I finally landed on the idea of talking to our local Oyster Shop to get the top Shell that they normally throw away after shucking. Sounded great and a little more in my budget for the project.
By the time we picked the Oysters up, they were nasty (warm, weeks old seafood nasty). So our biggest hurdle was cleaning the meat off and making sure the smell was gone.
– Soak Oysters in a Bleach/Water solution in a 5 gallon bucket. Leave the Oysters in your garage for a few days to try to cut some of the smell.
– Fill the Dishwasher with Oyster shells and run it on high heat. This will break up some of the leftover gunk remaining on the Oysters. (Repeat as needed)
– Once the dishwasher is complete, use a screwdriver or oyster shucker to clean (make sure wear gloves and/or some protection for your hands)
– We Soaked the Oysters in another Bleach/Water solution again.
– Rinse Oysters with water and let air dry.
- Spray the foam balls Grey. Found it to be easy to stab the foam ball with a screwdriver to allow you to spray the full ball at once. (This does not need to be perfect, just a base as you may be able to see some of the foam ball in the finished product)
- Start Assembling with the diameter of the circle.
- Stab the hinge end of the shell into the foam (leaving ~1/4″ indent).
- Hot glue the hinge end of the shell and the hole you created in the foam. Push the hinge end into the hole you created in the foam & hold it until the hot glue dries (should be ~30 seconds).
- Continue assembly to the second row and move the oysters around to gain the visual you want.
Photography: Dan Stewart Photography