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What To Do With Walnut Shells: Crafts and Other Activities for Children

Updated on July 25, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Whole walnuts or walnut shell halves in a vase make a beautiful fall center piece.
Whole walnuts or walnut shell halves in a vase make a beautiful fall center piece. | Source

Many people enjoy using walnuts for cooking or baking, especially for major holidays. While you can simply pitch the shells when you're finished in the kitchen, many people enjoy reusing or recycling them for other purposes. There are a wide variety of options out there, including a number of crafts and activities that you can do with children. Many of these projects are suited for children of a wide variety of ages. Some require minimal or no adult supervision while others make fun family activities. Happy creating!

Where can you purchase crushed or ground walnut shells?

If you are interested in taking on a craft or project that calls for crushed or ground shells and you don't want to crush them yourself, there are a number of places where you can purchase them. Some sites market crushed shells for pet cages (i.e. reptiles) while others market them for craft projects. There are a wide variety of sizes available at a number of price points. Shop around to figure out what fits your needs the best.

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Keep reading for more walnut shell ship boat ideas.
Keep reading for more walnut shell ship boat ideas.
Keep reading for more walnut shell ship boat ideas. | Source
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Walnut Mouse and Footprint Reindeer

Ornaments

There are numerous possibilities out there for walnut ornaments, including those with both whole and half shells. Half shells are a perfect shape for a number of animals, such as turtles, as well as animal faces. Get creative with the face and ears to transform your walnut. Additionally, there are lots of options for adding messages and/or including a hidden message inside a shell.

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See their mice in action.

Mouse Racing

Mice are one of the classic options for walnut shell halves. There are lots of ways to decorate them. This blog post includes great ideas for the tail, face, and ears. Did you know that you can also race your mice? This family raced their mice by simply placing a marble under each mouse. This simple craft idea can provide hours of entertainment.

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Making Walnut Ink

Writing Ink

For anyone who enjoys writing by hand, this is a great project. It's also a wonderful classroom option for a social studies unit and/or handwriting practice. The blog post linked below has simple, easy to follow directions for making your own ink. Always make sure to supervise children carefully when you are cooking at the stove.

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Toy Baskets

Walnut shell halves are a perfect shape for baskets. The author drilled two holes in the shell from the inside out and then fashioned handles out of embroidery thread. You can use any type of thin, sturdy thread for the handles. The possibilities for imaginative play with these baskets is endless.

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Toy Boats

The most popular method for creating walnut shell boats that really float is to melt candle wax in a half shell. While the wax is still warm, stick a toothpick in it. Alternatively, you can use clay. Once you have your base, you can then attach an type of flag to the toothpick or any other small stick. In addition to paper, consider making flags out of fabric, leaves, or scrapbook paper.

http://blog.mainefoodandlifestyle.com - no longer active
http://blog.mainefoodandlifestyle.com - no longer active

Easter egg dyes

Walnut is just one of a handful of materials that makes a wonderful natural egg dye. Using different ingredients allows you to produce different colors.

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Miniature House

I'm sure it's not a surprise that there a lot of miniature craft ideas out there that use walnuts. There are lots of details in this post about the materials that are used although there are no specific instructions. However, there's still lots of inspiration here and enough resources to get you started. The detail here is wonderful.

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Miniature Chair

Who knew that there was a whole miniatures section of about.com? Once you construct this chair, you'll be hooked and off searching for the next miniature project. This is more involved than many of the projects here and definitely requires a lot of adult assistance, but it is well worth the effort. This chair can be easily adapted for Playmobile people and other small figures.

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I don't know if these pincushions are filled with ground shells, but that would add the perfect touch to this idea.Consider creating a skinny pincushion that will fit right up against the sewing machine.
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I don't know if these pincushions are filled with ground shells, but that would add the perfect touch to this idea.
I don't know if these pincushions are filled with ground shells, but that would add the perfect touch to this idea. | Source
Consider creating a skinny pincushion that will fit right up against the sewing machine.
Consider creating a skinny pincushion that will fit right up against the sewing machine. | Source
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Pincushions

Ground walnut shells make an ideal filler for pincushions. For those who enjoy sewing, pincushions are an easy project and make wonderful gifts for just about any occasion. The pincushions sew up fairly quickly so it's easy to put together a whole batch of them. For older kids, this is a great beginning sewing endeavor. For younger kids, there is lots of opportunity to help by choosing fabrics and stuffing the cushions.

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Soap

Soap did not show up in my initial research on this topic. I'm not sure what inspired me to look for it later, but I'm glad that I did. This is another great option for crushed or ground walnut shells. I have found a couple recipes that use it. Those of you who are more skilled at soap making will have the expertise for adding it to lots of other soap recipes as well.

Make Gardener's Soap

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    • m0rd0r profile image

      Stoill Barzakov 4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Excellen hub.

      I knew about the easter egg paint, but never heard about the soap.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Another clever, creative & crafty hub from you! I liked the minature house picture a lot. I have heard of walnuts being used as boats and they indeed looked so adorable. Walnuts got multi-uses. I remember that in my old bed-time book, mice used big walnuts as cradles for their babies! Information on walnuts as soap sure comes as useful for many others as in my country, they used crushed walnuts along with other key ingredient(s) as a facial scrub! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & Socially Shared.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I have plenty of these available to me, I will have to save this! Thank you.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks m0rd0r!

      iswarayaa22, thanks! That's cute about the mice using walnuts as cradles. I'm sure that there are lots of other possibilities out there for walnuts in beauty products. It's just not an area that I've explored much.

      That's awesome Jackie! Have fun.

    • Edi 4 years ago

      I love the little Walnut Sailboat...How Cute!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Edi!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! I think so, too.

    • storybeader 4 years ago

      It's amazing how many things you can find to make with walnut shells. Fun for the whole family! Great showing! {:-D

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Yes for sure! Thanks Deb!

    • SplendidStars 4 years ago

      Who would have guessed! What a great group of ideas you have collected!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Margaret!

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 4 years ago from USA

      Awesome article! Who would have thought you could do so many crafty things with a humble walnut shell? Can't wait to do some walnut shell racing with my little guy.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! I know, right? Have fun with your racing. :)

    • girltalksshop 4 years ago

      Very clever and useful ideas!! Loved the photos too! : ) Great job! Voted up, interesting and useful! Thanks for the share!!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much girltalk!

    • kelleyward 4 years ago

      Thanks for all the creative ideas on how to use walnut shells for crafts. I love the little boat idea. My oldest child will have so much fun making that ornament! Voted up and shared on Pinterest!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very creative and I love everything here. I also enjoy all pictures. My favorite is miniature house and miniature chair. Thank you very much. Take care and awesome!

      Prasetio

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Kelley! Have fun making some of these crafts with your kids. I appreciate the vote and share!

      Thanks Prasetio! I'm really glad that you enjoyed this, especially the miniatures.

    • nkrohini profile image

      Kavitha Rajeev Kumar 4 years ago from India

      Very informative & useful. I knew some projects with walnut shell, but here's a whole lot of them. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, nkrohini! I'm glad that this gave you some new ideas.

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