Hardware cloth (at least a 10-by-10-inch piece)
Wire cutters, snips or scissors
Chicken wire (at least a 15-by-15-inch piece)
Craft moss, assorted seashells or other decorative materials
Craft wire (optional)
- Only use wire snips or scissors that you don’t mind ruining, since this project will dull them.
- Preferably wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants.
Work on a clean, flat surface, either outdoors or away from any pets or children who could be injured by small wire clippings. Put on your protective gloves and unroll your hardware cloth. With wire cutters, snips or scissors, cut a basic square from your hardware cloth. In this project, a 10-by-10-inch square was cut, which created a smallish star.
After you have created your square shape, cut the square into a star. Cutting a star from a smaller piece of hardware cloth is much easier to manage than cutting a star directly off the roll of sharp hardware cloth. Note that the star shape doesn’t have to be perfect. You are creating the backside of your piece.
Use your snips to cut a square out of chicken wire that is about 5 to 10% larger than your initial hardware cloth square (in this case, 15 by 15 inches). Hold the chicken wire square directly on top of the hardware cloth star and cut 5 straight lines on the chicken wire between the star points so you can wrap the chicken wire snugly around the hardware cloth. Once cut, overlap the chicken wire onto the hardware cloth and squeeze it in place. For now, don’t worry about the excess chicken wire on the backside of the star.Tip
- The chicken wire will hold the majority of your “stuffing materials” and will be wrapped around the backing piece, so it needs to be larger than the initial hardware cloth shape.
Begin stuffing the wire star “sandwich” with moss. Work on one star point at a time. Bend the chicken wire forward, stuff the moss inside, and then re-close the star point before moving on to the next star point.
When the entire star is stuffed with moss, you will better see where your star shape is lopsided or crooked, and you can cut your hardware cloth backing as needed. However, don’t feel like you need to make the shape perfect yet, as you will be stuffing the star with seashells next and can continue to make modifications as you work.
Carefully bend back the chicken wire at one star point and begin stuffing the star shape with seashells. Work from the middle out and keep your star on a flat surface to prevent shells from falling out as you work.
Use a variety of shell shapes and colors and have fun incorporating patterns into your design. If you have removed your protective gloves to handle the shells, work carefully, as cut chicken wire edges can lead to very painful scrapes.
When you are happy with your seashell stuffing, snip away the excess chicken wire from the backside of the star shape, leaving between 1/2 to 1 inch around the perimeter to work with.
Use pliers to twist the chicken wire ends into the hardware cloth base until the entire star shape is sealed. Pull the wire taut as you work, but use caution as the shells are fragile and can break if they are overlapping while getting wired in.