Cabbage-Dyed Sea Shells

The natural dye made from red cabbage makes sea shells from your beach vacation into stunning decor elements!

seashells (Matte or dull, porous shells work best. Shiny shells, like kauri shells, will not take dye.)
4 cups red cabbage, roughly chopped
white vinegar
table salt

  1. Place cabbage in a large saucepan, cover with plenty of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove cabbage from cooking liquid and discard the cabbage.
  3. Measure the cooking liquid, and return to the saucepan.
  4. Stir in 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 2½ tablespoons of table salt for every 1 cup of liquid.
  5. Bring liquid to a boil over a medium heat, stirring until salt dissolves.
  6. Add shells, making sure they are completely covered in liquid. Simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, and allow the shells to stand in the dye liquid overnight or until desired depth of color is reached.
  8. Remove shells from liquid and place onto paper towel- or newspaper-lined trays to drain. Allow shells to dry completely.

Some varieties of shells may fade over time. Simply re-dye to achieve the color again.

Photography by China Squirrel