Learned from our grandmother — who used to collect shiny black sharks’ teeth and pristine white sand dollars on Florida beaches and Petoskey stones on the shores of Lake Michigan — we are a family of beachcombers who save up our treasures found by the sea and lake to use in craft projects all year. Here is a simple way to make your summer dinner party beautiful and give your gathering some beach flair, no matter where you are spending your summer. We used shells and sand dollars we have collected over the years, and we plan on trying a few variations using stones and small pieces of driftwood. —
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Read the full how-to after the jump!
- shells, rocks, beach glass (whatever you collect from beaches you visit or live near)
- old napkin rings you no longer use or inexpensive store-bought napkin rings
- fabric glue
- cotton rope (We used a few different thicknesses, all bought at our local hardware store.)
- twine or embroidery thread
For Braided Napkin Ring
1. Cut three pieces of 17” thick cotton rope. You can also double or triple the braid for a thicker napkin ring. In that case, cut 6 or 9 pieces of rope.
3. Braid the three pieces of rope for 6 inches.
4. Make a loop with the braided rope, and use the thin cord to tightly wrap all pieces of the cotton rope together. It is important to tightly wrap them together with the thin cord 1/4” to 1/2” in width so that you can cut the ends of the thick cotton rope short. Tie a tight knot on the underside of the loop. Cut remaining lengths of thin cord.
5. Cut the thick cotton rope very short.
6. Apply some fabric glue on the flat, wrapped portion of the braided napkin ring, and glue your shell or beach find onto the napkin ring.
For Wrapped Napkin Ring
1. Pull a few feet of cotton rope off the spool, but do not cut it. It’s easier to use a thinner rope for this.
2. Begin wrapping the rope or twine very tightly around the napkin ring. Continue until the entire ring is covered. If you run out, cut a long length from the other end and finish from the other side.
3. Cut the twine and make a small knot on the inside of the napkin ring.
4. Glue your shell or rock on the top of the rope.