How To Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

July 11, 2016

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

I've wanted to make this Pottery Barn-inspired shell cloche for some time now, and I was pretty happy that I finally got around to it. Bringing seashells home from our beach vacation was the catalyst for my DIY shell cloche project. And what better time to create a home decor project using sea shells than summer?

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And here's my original inspiration.

(no longer available)

Wow, is this not cool or what? From the first time I saw it I thought to myself: 1. How cool and 2. I can make this myself! While mine uses starfish as its focus, I still think I managed to sufficiently recreate the look.

First off I started with the cloche.

I'm sure you've all seen those clocks that are set inside glass cloches. I'm not sure when they were in their heyday, but suffice it to say that you can pick them up now at thrift stores for a song.  In my case, I only got the cloche, not the clock. But that was ok since I did not want the clock anyway. But you can use any cloche you might have on hand or find at your local thrift store. You'll just substitute the styrofoam for the actual cloche base (so you'll have something to secure the skewers to).

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche


To make your own shell cloche you will need the following:

1. cloche
2. green circular styrofoam 
3. starfish and/or other sea shells
4. white craft paint 
5. wooden skewers
6. sheet moss
7. kitchen string or twine
8. Elmer's glue

*I've provided links to purchase some of these supplies at the end of the post for your convenience.

There was not a lot of precision involved with this craft. I basically eyeballed everything and hoped it would work out the way I pictured it. I'm happy to say that it did. But I always hate it when bloggers say that they eyeballed something and don't give any real directions or instructions. There, I said it. So I'm going to try my best to explain what I did.

I started with the styrofoam. It was too big to fit underneath my cloche, so I basically shaved off some of it until it fit, leaving enough room to add on the sheet moss as well. Yes, that's a steak knife. You might want to use something better suited for cutting styrofoam. What that is I'm not sure. You could also buy a styrofoam round that actually fits inside your cloche without having to mangle it. I didn't have that option. 

Here's the sheet moss after I went to town and ripped off enough of it to cover the styrofoam.

This is my package of bamboo skewers. You probably already have some in your kitchen somewhere. If not, you can always pick some up at the Dollar Store or your local grocery store.

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

I knew I wanted my skewers to be white, so I needed a plan for painting them. I took a sheet of bubble wrap I had lying around and poked the skewers into the bubbles so that they would stand up on their own. I could then paint them without having to hold them while I painted. It actually worked out pretty well.

Once they were dry I played around with the number of skewers that would look best and how tall I thought each of them should be. Again, I guesstimated based upon the height of the styrofoam, the shells, and the cloche itself. Once you decide on that you can cut the skewers down to the appropriate height. 

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

Here's where the string comes in. I needed a way to attach the starfish to the skewers, so I wrapped the string around the starfish in a criss-cross motion, cutting off the excess in back once I thought it was attached securely, and then gluing down the small piece of exposed string that was left in back with plain old Elmer's glue.  

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

Here's the back of the large shell. I knew you'd be in awe of how I attached it to its skewer. Yup. It already had a natural lip of sorts so I could basically hang it from the skewer. But I wanted to be sure it would not fall off. So, MacGyver that I am, I used masking tape to secure it. Not pretty, I know, but I'm being real here. I'm sure you could also hot glue it for good measure if you prefer. 

Before permanently poking the completed skewers into the styrofoam, I carefully laid out the moss on top and spread it out evenly so that it completely covered the styrofoam. Then I poked the skewers through the styrofoam in the positions I thought would be most pleasing to the eye. After that, I threw in some additional shells on top of the moss for good measure. You'll notice that I chose to use enough moss so that it sticks out around the bottom of the cloche. I liked the look, but that's totally up to you.    

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

You can see it here with my mercury glass table lamp that I absolutely LOVE. It's wrapped in chicken wire and has French text written on it, evoking a French country feel. I got it at World Market a year or two ago but sadly I don't think it's available anymore.

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

Here the cloche sits atop my galvanized farmhouse tray in the kitchen eating area.

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

I can't decide where I like it more.

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

How to Make A Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche

The good news is that the display is only temporary, and that I can reuse the cloche as well as the shells in future home decor projects. But for now it stays. Having grown up on the East coast and having spent every summer vacation at the Jersey shore, nothing says summer to me more than a daily reminder of the sea.

Here's a supply list for some of the major supplies you will need and where you can get them.


3"- 3 1/2" starfish

2"- 3" knobby starfish

6" - 8" starfish

Floral Foam

3 7/8" x 1 15/16" round floral foam

3" x 1" pack of six round floral foam

Wood Craft Dowels

12" - 3/16" 20/pkg Woodsie Dowels


DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint, 
2 ounce, Titanium White

I hope you enjoyed reading about my

Pottery Barn-Inspired Shell Cloche! 

Thanks so much for spending time with me today!

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Leave a Comment!

Wanda @ Just Vintage said...

It turned out so pretty! I love the addition of sheet moss. Love that stuff. The idea of it covering a Styrofoam base -- perfect.

I went on a buying spree a few years ago and bought up every cheap dome clock I found. Tossed the clocks and to this day, have more domes than I'm using. Probably should sell some. But it's so hard to let them go! Sigh.

Sharon @ Blue Willow House said...

I love a good PB knockoff and yours is wonderful. I'm going to the beach this weekend and again in a couple of weeks so I hope to come home with some pretty sea shells to decorate with for the rest of the summer..

NanaDiana said...

GREAT knock-off, Kathleen. I love the beachy theme and yours is perfect! Hope you have a wonderful week- xo Diana

My thrift store addiction said...

Great tutorial Kathleen and oh-so-pretty results!

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