A turtle’s shell is a structure made from hard bones covered in proteins. These shells act as a protective cage for the turtle to retreat into when it is in danger. After a turtle has died the body will decompose, leaving the shell intact. If you’re a craft enthusiast, painting turtle shells is a great way to create one-of-a-kind decorative pieces.
Things You’ll Need
** Rubber gloves
** Large boiling pot
** Bristled scrub brush
** Colored paint
** Fine-bristled paint brushes
** Clear spray lacquer
Clean and sanitize your shell. If you recently found your vacated turtle shell, it’s possible there may still be bacteria and decomposing meat attached to the shell. To sanitize your shell for human handling, place it in a pot of water and simmer for 30 minutes. This will kill bacteria and tenderize the meat so that it falls away from the bones underneath the shell.
Prepare the turtle shell for paint. Put on your rubber gloves and use a dry, bristled scrub brush to gently slough off dirt on top of the shell. Do this while it is still wet from boiling. Rinse away loosened dirt with warm water and pat dry with a towel. This will extend the life of your shell’s paint job because paint will adhere more easily to a clean shell.
Start applying paint to the shell. Lay the shell on a flat surface covered in newspaper. Use your fine-bristled brushes to paint each individual scale on the turtles shell. You can paint the scales all one color or use your colored paints to create images and patterns on the shell.
Give your painted turtle shell a protective layer. Use your can of spray lacquer to add a clear, hard finish to the shell. Hold the can approximately six to eight inches away from the shell and spray the entire surface. Allow the surface to dry and apply a second coat of lacquer. This will add a shiny glass-like finish to the shell and prevent the paint from scratching and peeling.
** Never mark a live turtle as it can damage the shell and make the animal sick. This process should only be used on empty shells.
** Try using paint pens during the decorating process to create more precise lines and patterns.
* Reptiles are known for carrying and transferring bacteria so be sure to wear rubber gloves during the cleaning process to protect your skin.