During my search I found:
1. A great lesson plan idea here. I will definitely do this with some extra shells that won't ever be used for anything. It will be a perfect small group activity for the kiddos when we have our "beach" theme week!
2. This website with great inspiration pics. I particularly like pictures 3 and 5. I have a shell just the size and shape of the ones used in photo 3 that I think would make a great center piece for a necklace. I also really love the earrings in picture 5. I love pairing that color turquoise with shells.
3. This photo of a large charm made for a necklace. It looks like they took a large shape to use for the base and then glued various small shells on top. I'm not crazy about this particular one, but I am crazy about the idea. It also looks like they may have used gold paint around the edges of the shells.
4. Since I'm still in Florida, I was trying to think of things I could do here to get a jump start on this project. After sorting through bags of shells and finding all of the ones I want to take home to work with, I knew the next step was to make them shiny! My research on this, is well.. still in the works. The first suggestion I came across was clear finger nail polish. Since I happened to have some here, I gave it a try.
Here is a plate of a bunch of shells I coated with clear nail polish. It really does make a difference. Makes the colors brighter and gives them that shine I was looking for. (I'm still working on lighting for photos--I know it's hard to tell they're shiny)
Another thought to make the shells shiny was to use mod podge. I gave it a try, but as you can see, it does not make them quite as shiny.
Here is a close up with nail polish so you can see the difference.
It looks to me like clear nail polish is the best way to go. Up next...hole drilling. I'm going to need some help on that one.