Friday, May 11, 2012

Garden Snail Shells

In the process of clearing the spot for my future vegetable garden, I came across a LOT of garden snails, most of them alive and well, hungrily crawling around or clinging onto yummy green leaves... or crawling onto my rubber boot.

A garden snail crawling on my rubber boot

But I also came across empty snail shells, which I actually find to be quite pretty. I wondered how nice they would be if I cleaned them up, so I decided to gather a few.

Empty snail shells before cleanup. 
As you can see, they were pretty dirty upon collection. The first thing I did to clean them up was to pour boiling water a couple of times on them in order to get rid of any small bug that may have crawled and hid into the shells. This worked out fine, as it took care of 4 little crawlers and probably killed other bacteria that might have been present.

I then used warm soapy water (dish soap) and plunged the shells in it. Using an old soft toothbrush, toothpicks and ear cleaners, I cleaned the shells as good as I could, removing as much of the dirt as possible.

Cleaning the shells. This has to be done gently

It is impossible to get to the very inner part of the shells without breaking them, so in order to get as much dirt out as possible, I then plunged the shells again in warm water, but this time I shook the container gently from side to side, though enough to make the shells bounce around into the container. I changed the water and repeated the process many times, until no more dirt (or nearly no more) was falling out into the water. This step takes a lot of patience.

Gentle shaking step

When I was satisfied with the level of cleanliness of my shells, I put them on a paper towel and let them dry.

In order to give them extra protection, I used an all-purpose indoor-outdoor glossy hobby varnish and applied it to each of the shells' surface, as well as inner side, to as far as I could get with my brush. I let the subjects dry once more and voilĂ !

Cleaned and varnished empty garden snail shells
I had fun doing this, and now have 14 cute glossy snail shells to use in future craft projects.

To be continued.... :)

Update: Click here to see how I've used those pretty shells. 

No comments:

Post a Comment