DIY Shell Mobile with Air Plants

Turn vacation memories into home decor with this DIY shell mobile that uses low-care air plants.

Jill Staake

Not long ago, fellow blogger Noelle showed you how to turn your beach vacation memories into a terrarium planter. Today’s idea is another way to display your beach finds as beautiful DIY home decor. This DIY shell mobile uses air plants, properly called epiphytes, to create a fuss-free, low-care accessory to hang indoors or out!

DIY Shell Mobile

First, let’s talk about epiphytes for a moment. This class of plants is defined by their ability to live and thrive without needing put roots down into soil (they may grow roots, but they are used only as anchors to hold the plant in place). They take all the moisture and nutrients they need from the air around them. In nature, they’re often found living on trees and rocks, but it’s important to note that they do NOT do any damage to the structure they’re attached to. A common example of an epiphyte is the orchid, or the Spanish Moss that grows from trees in the southern U.S.

DIY Shell Mobile

Epiphytes like the tillandsias shown here are often available for sale in beach area gift shops, because they’re perfect for projects like this one. You can just tuck the plant into a shell (if necessary, you can use a little superglue to hold it in place; it won’t harm the plant) and provide it adequate moisture by hanging it on a porch outside, or misting it with water once or twice a week inside. The plant will take care of itself! I created this mobile by tying fishing line around the shell mouths (as shown below), then adding the plants and tying the shells to a circle of sturdy wire. That’s it!

DIY Shell Mobile

Here in Florida, I can hang the mobile out on my back porch year-round. In colder climates, you’ll need to bring these tender plants inside for the winter, but with occasional misting they should do just fine. (Avoid hanging them too close to a furnace register or other heat source, where they may dry out and die.) This is a fun and easy project for kids and adults alike, and will help preserve your vacation memories for years to come!

DIY Shell Mobile

Need help with your epiphytes? This website provides good information on caring for air plants.

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