One sure sign of summer in my family: Aunt Sheila coming in from the flats carrying a bag full of razor-clam shells. These she employs to add texture throughout her house, most famously on a living-room shelf (as seen in Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home).
I suppose it was inevitable, then, that the rest of the family would get into the game. Recently, I decided to try my hand at making a pendant lamp with a razor-clam shade. The next time Sheila headed to the beach, I tagged along.
Read on for a list of materials and step-by-step instructions:
Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.
To avoid confusion, let me clarify: On the East Coast, what we call razor clams (because their elongated shape resembles that of an old-fashioned razor) are actually Atlantic jackknife clams, Ensis directus. These are to be distinguished from Pacific razor clams, which are more oval in form. Atlantic jackknife clams are found all along the East Coast. Or you can buy the clams fresh, cook a nice meal, and save the shells.
- Clean razor clam shells
- Small rotary drill (I used the Master Mechanic Rotary Tool Kit from True Value; $33.99)
- Scrap board on which you can drill
- A pendant fixture, such as a Black Bare Bulb Pendant Light; $45 from Etsy
- Light wire
I set my drill at Level 3, then placed the bit about 1/4 inch from the end of the shell. I didn’t bother to measure, because I wanted a random look.
N.B.: This post has been updated with new shopping information; it was first published June 2015.
Want more ways to turn foraged beach finds into home decor? See: