Skip to main content

What to Do With Walnut Shells: 10 Craft Ideas and Activities

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

Walnut shells are so unique and captivating—why not craft with them instead of tossing them out?

Walnut shells are so unique and captivating—why not craft with them instead of tossing them out?

Walnut Shell Uses

Many people enjoy using walnuts for cooking or baking, especially around major holidays. While you can simply pitch the shells when you're finished in the kitchen, I'd suggest reusing or recycling them for other purposes. You can do a number of crafts and activities with walnut shells, and they are suitable for children of all ages. Some require minimal or no adult supervision, while others make fun family activities. Happy creating!

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, you can purchase them in any number of places. Some sites market crushed shells for pet enclosures (e.g., reptiles) while others market them for craft projects. A wide variety of sizes are available at a number of price points. Shop around to figure out what fits your needs the best.

1. 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. Traditional Christmas ornaments are always an option as well.

2. 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.

Make ink with walnuts

Make ink with walnuts

3. Walnut 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. This blog post 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.

Walnut shell basket

Walnut shell basket

4. 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.

5. 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 a flag to the toothpick or any other small stick. In addition to paper, consider making flags out of fabric, leaves, or scrapbook paper. - no longer active - no longer active

6. 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.

Mini walnut houses

Mini walnut houses

7. Miniature Houses

I'm sure it's not a surprise that there are 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.

Mini walnut chair

Mini walnut chair

8. Miniature Chairs

Once you construct this chair, you'll be hooked and always start searching for the next miniature project. This is a project that definitely requires a lot of adult assistance, but it is well worth the effort. You can easily adapt the chair for Playmobile people and other small figures.

9. Pincushions

Ground walnut shells make an ideal pincushion filler. For those who enjoy sewing, pincushions are an easy project and make wonderful gifts for just about any occasion. They 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. There are many opportunities for younger children to help, from choosing fabrics to stuffing the cushions.

Make walnut soap!

Make walnut soap!

10. 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 of 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.


Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 13, 2012:

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

Kavitha Rajeev Kumar from India on July 13, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 22, 2012:

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.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 22, 2012:

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!


kelleyward on April 22, 2012:

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!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 20, 2012:

Thanks so much girltalk!

girltalksshop on April 20, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 20, 2012:

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

Donna Cosmato from USA on April 20, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 18, 2012:

Thanks Margaret!

SplendidStars on April 18, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 17, 2012:

Yes for sure! Thanks Deb!

storybeader on April 17, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 17, 2012:

Thanks! I think so, too.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 17, 2012:

Thanks Edi!

Edi on April 17, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 17, 2012:

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.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 17, 2012:

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

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on April 16, 2012:

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.

Stoill Barzakov from Sofia, Bulgaria on April 16, 2012:

Excellen hub.

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