Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hand Painted Crab Shells

Yes it is definately the end of the doubt about it......lots of stuff has been one week's time I have had the pleasure of experiencing my first "substantial" earthquake and Hurricane Irene.........and I still managed to get myself down to the Northpoint Plaza Flea Market and hawk my hand painted crab shell ornaments. Imagine that.

First, I again apologize for my lack of posting here on the blog.......I have been very kidding..........I have been helping my daughter, Miss Moneypenny, with various assorted things just about every day........grandfatherly type chores....housesitting.....kidsitting......and while at her house I have been busy also with prepping these crab shells so I can sell them. Lot's of work and my time has been consumed in biblical proportions. the weekdays are booked solid........and that leaves me with Saturdays and Sundays to hawk my wares at the flea market. What I sell is not really a flea market is a craft not a dollar item. These pieces of art are made by me and for the most part, are unique and some are even one of a kind. I put alot of effort and time into making the ornaments and I have established a spot at the flea market to make them available to anyone who wants one.....or two........or even three.....four...or five of them.

Business has started out really slow.......some days I hadn't even sold one.......but determination is embedded in me and I stand my ground and plant my time, hopefully soon, it will all be worthwhile. Timing is everything.........right? Leave it to me to start a business venture when the economy has tanked and people can barely have enough money to buy the things they actually need. And leave it to me that I decided to manufacture something that is, at best, a novelty and not a necessity.

Painted crab shells!

One month into this venture and things are picking up and word is getting out. More and more customers with each weekend that comes. Oddly, my busiest day so far, was during the hurricane.....go figure.

The Maryland flag.......Natty Boh........

It's a Maryland thing folks...........the Maryland State flower is the Black Eyed Susan.

The Baltimore Ravens!..........every man cave should have one.

And yes, I paint them.........and you can watch me do it at the flea market.

I get special requests sometimes........"Can you make 'em wit da Harley logo on it?"
Yes I can.........but I haven't...........that is...........yet.

Each crab shell gets cleaned thoroughly, disinfected, and primed before painting.

This is one of my latest original creations and perfect for Christmas. While some folks might think that these painted crab shells are just used as a Christmas ornament........this is not the case. You can display them anywhere in your home or office throughout the year.

It's a Maryland thing! And nothing says it better than a painted crab shell.

If you are interested in purchasing a hand painted crab shell, come visit me at the Northpoint Plaza Flea Market in Baltimore County, MD. I am there every Sunday from 7 AM to 4 PM and most Saturdays as well. Occasionally, I may have to be set up at some other venue on Saturdays.

Price?.........well, that all depends.......but I can tell you that my prices are better than than what is generally found on the internet. Quality?.......the shells speak for themselves......tell me what you think.

I plan on making these available here on the internet very soon.........but one thing at a time......I am overwhelmed at the moment.

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  1. Anonymous6:41 PM

    What do you do to clean them so they dont stink??

  2. Here is the process I use. I first try to remove as much as I can from the shell with my fingers under running hot water. Whatever I cannot remove with the fingers, I use a sharp pointy object such as a knife. Then I use a small kitchen scrub brush which pretty much gets everything off of the shell, inside and out. Anything left on or in the shell will come off in the next step. I then put the shells in a large pot of boiling water with a small amount of common bleach. The bleach is what removes the odor and also kills any bacteria. After about five minutes or so in the pot, I remove each shell, one at a time and run cold water over them. Then I inspect them for any "leftovers" hanging on.

    If you do the above, as I do, you will want to be careful of two things. Do not put too much bleach in the water......the crab shells will basically disintegrate and fall apart in your hands. Secondly, Do not keep the shells in the pot of boiling water and bleach for more than five to ten minutes. Again, the shells will turn to chalk.

    And lastly, I line up the shells to dry completely before giving them a base coating of paint..........think "primer". Oh, and one more thing.........before painting, I lightly sand the surface of the shells with an extra fine grit sanding sponge.

    A lot of work goes into getting a crab shell to the final result. I would say that MOST people have no idea what all it takes for me to make the shells as you see them in the photos.........unless, of course, they happen to read this comment. Any price less than 20 bucks is a bargain as far as I am concerned......and I DO sell them at a price below 20 dollars each.

    Any other questions?

    1. Anonymous2:50 PM

      When u say "primer" u actually mean primer paint?

    2. Primer can be primer paint if you choose to use that. Ordinarily anytime that light colors are going to be used on darker surfaces, a prime coat is recommended.....especially if what you are painting is porous and soaks up the paint. Crab shells after steaming turn reddish orange and need to be primed. What I use is simply a coat of white acrylic craft paint as a primer. Special primer paint is not necessary.

  3. Hi!! How is a good way to contact you, I would LOVE to buy a bunch of these for christmas gifts! I LOVE the Boh Crab, the MD Flag, Black Eyed Susan's, Old Bay my fav and the Utz girl!!

  4. Hello Heather,

    You can contact me via e-mail. My email address is:

    If you are local to the Baltimore area, you can simply visit the Northpoint Plaza Flea Market on Saturdays or Sundays except Thanksgiving weekend (vacation)and you will see my table and wall full of crab shells.

    If you are not local to the Baltimore area, other arrangements can be made.

    Hopefully, if my plans go well, people will soone be able to order them online via Paypal.

    I look forward to your email.

  5. Anonymous8:24 PM

    hi i was seeing do u put anything to make them shine and if u do can it be outside and they will be on porch but sometime the rain get on the porch..

    1. Yes, all of the shells are clear coated with acrylic.......however, I do not recommend keeping them outdoors. Think of the painted crab shells as being similar to painted eggs........fragile! Furthermore, I have heard from one person in North Carolina who received some painted shells as gifts and he hung them on his back porch........squirrels carried off the shells. If your porch or deck is enclosed....I don't see a problem
      but once again.....they are fragile. You also have the option of putting additional clear coating on the shell yourself if you want to do that.

  6. It was very nice meeting you this weekend. I look forward to coming back to the flea market before Christmas.

    1. Alesha,

      It was great to meet you and I hope you do come back to the flea market......and bring some more friends :)

  7. Your artwork is beautiful!! I just came across your Baltimore Ravens crab shell and shared it with my friends on FB. I added your website info to give you the much credit due! You are very talented!

  8. Thank you Kimberly!

    I appreciate your kind words and that you have shared with your friends.

  9. clare2:44 PM

    I would love to try and paint a few shells for my family,but do not know what kind of paint you use,mine would have things to do with xmas,like snowmen,and trees,you do a good job,

    1. clare,

      water based acrylic craft paint as seen in one of the photos above :)

  10. hi I have 30 boiled and cleaned crab I sell them to you?

    1. Shashi,

      Sorry but no. Thanks anyway.

      I can find no reason to pay for crab shells. I have a great arrangement with a local crabhouse which supplies me year round with a plethora of shells.

  11. Anonymous9:43 AM

    We were fortunate enough to get one of your shells as a Christmas present Dec 2012. And, YES the Harley logo is fantastic!

  12. NOTICE!

    I must correct myself regarding the use of bleach when cleaning the shells. DO NOT add bleach to the water and boil it. Boil the shells in plain water first, and then dump them into the sink and let them soak a bit in cold water with some bleach added. It was pointed out to me that the gases from boiling bleach and water can be harmful to your health.

    Happy painting!

  13. I would like to make a chandelier using crab shells. Where can I get a large amount without eating them? :-)

    1. A chandelier?.......That's interesting. Unless you plan on eating some steamed crabs and saving the shells, I suggest you visit a restaurant that serves steamed crabs and ask the owner or manager if they could save some shells for you. You might want to explain why you want them. Another alternative is to dig some shells out of their dumpster.

      Good Luck!