Nothing's a waste, not even discarded shells

Last Updated 08 July 2010, 10:35 IST
Nothing's a  waste, not even discarded shells

The next time you pop in salted and roasted pistachio seeds into your mouth, make sure that you do not discard the shells. They can be turned into fascinating pieces of art with a little effort and imagination on your part.

There is a ground rule to be followed when you set out to work on these pieces. First and foremost wash the nuts thoroughly by placing them on a sieve under running water to get rid of the salt.

Do not soak it in the water for it will lose its firmness. Then tease out the scraps of the nut’s skin which sometimes sticks onto the shells. This measure will prevent insects like ants from getting attracted to the finished piece. Check whether the halved shells sit flatly on the ground. If there are uneven surfaces, snip them away with an old nail cutter or rub them on a rough surface to make them even.

 Once the shells dry, you can paint them in different hues with fabric paints or wood varnish. Nail polish which is no longer in use or slightly thickened nail polish can be thinned with a few drops of acetone and used to give a protective shining coat on the painted surface in tune with the colour painted earlier to give it that pearl-like shine.
The petal like shape of the pistachio shells which have been halved appear their best when transformed as leaves and flowers among other things.

Once the preparatory work is done, they can be made the most of, if you just decide to do so. Here are a few suggestions for you.

You could create your own wall plate. Plait three strands of coconut leaf which will dry over a period of time then apply a coat of wood polish on it and use it as a canvass. Stick the pistachio flowers at equal intervals.

You could paste artificial leaves and tendrils to enhance the effect. Once completed it will appear like the traditional Moggina Jade. This unique piece can be hung on the thin panels of the doors or walls.

The floral motif with the leaves can be pasted on pots which have been painted with a background colour.

You could make a ready to use rangoli using these shells. Sketch a rangoli of your choice on hardboard and paint it in red or green and paste the varnished shells along the out lines.

You could make designer pen stands by cutting out cylindrical bases measuring five inches tall from cardboard boxes which hold chips or tennis balls and embellish them by pasting these shells in designs of your choice.

You could paste these painted half shells as borders for wall-plates, photo frames, and plastic plates to give the piece a personal touch.

If you keep these painted shells handy they can be arranged and re-arranged into different designs as per your imagination and displayed on the floor in the corner of your drawing room.

You could create dainty looking placards on a canvass of cardboard when you find some leisure.

The painted pistachio shells should be glued along the writing. These could be displayed at appropriate spots exclusively during family functions, parties or festivities around your home.

(Published 08 July 2010, 10:35 IST)

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