Christmas Decorations Made of Spent Shotshells

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CORRECTION: Due to an error, the content was missing. I’ve replaced it, along with the images, and you’ll now have the instructions for the shotshell lights.

You’ve been collecting spent shotgun shells all year, and if you haven’t, I guarantee one of your friends has been. Did it ever occur to you those excess plastic hulls might be good for something other than sitting in an old grocery sack in the corner of your workshop (or maybe that’s just me)? Well, as TFB’s resident girl – yes, if you hadn’t noticed, I’m a girl – I’m here to help you with your very first homemade Christmas decorations. But these aren’t just any decorations, they’re shotgun shell lights. Pretty sweet, right? Read on.

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First, you’re going to check out the handy supply list at the bottom of this, then come back here, because I do expect you to read the directions. Yes, read them. So, first you’re going to wash out those shotgun shells and try to get whatever residue is left off and out of them. Once they’re clean and dry, move on.

Come up with an arrangement you like whether by color or gauge (or both, depending on what you have). If you really don’t care, fine, but don’t say I didn’t suggest some organizational skills here.

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Next is a somewhat optional step. For those who want their lights to last and look nice, do this step. Otherwise, ignore it. Take your pliers and push the used-to-be-crimped end of the hull back down so it’s closed once again with all ragged ends tucked inside. (Take a look at the picture) It really is worth the time and unless you’re extremely picky it won’t take that long.

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Now you’re on to the glue gun. If you’ve used your pliers to push the edges of the hull back down, you should be able to simply push the Christmas tree lights into the empty shells, one by one. If you did a good job, they won’t come off, and gluing the edges is optional. (For those who didn’t want to fold the edges, just put the light in the open shell and apply hot glue to the edge of the hull to stick it to the wire. You might have to utilize the pliers a bit to smash the edges down to make contact with the wire. It won’t look as neat, but you’ll still get your lights done.)

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You’re done! Hang your lights wherever you want – around your gun case, on the bookshelf, around the room – and enjoy the results of your crafty work and the evidence of how much time you spent at the range with your shotgun(s).

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One quick note, there are other things you can do with empty shotgun shells for Christmas. Yes, I enjoy gun-related crafting, what can I say? I’ve even been known to knit hand grenades and handguns. With Winchester red and Remington green you can be truly seasonally appropriate and…1) glue them around a candle holder or vase, with the hulls either still open or forced-by-pliers closed; 2) punch holes in the hulls, thread string or yarn through the holes, and you have a shotgun shell garland; 3) used in various ways both orderly and random to make wreaths – you’ll need the glue gun again; 4) remove the hulls and use the remaining brass to make a star Christmas tree topper, 5) make ornaments such as snowmen, Santas, and reindeer. This list could easily go on, but I’ll end it here and follow up with a bunch of photographs.

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These are great ways for you guys to get involved in decorating with your own ammo-related flare. And if your other half complains, tell her Katie over at The Firearm Blog gave you the idea and said it counts as showing your gun-powered Christmas spirit. That said, tell you what, if you have a bunch of empty shotshell lying around and don’t want it, I’d certainly take it. Having just moved my supply is woefully depleted and I definitely need more. But I think you all should make them – then send photographic evidence of the results. If enough of you guys make your own gun-related Christmas decorations, I’ll put them together into another post before Christmas hits.

Grab your empty brass and shotshells, guys, and get to decorating.

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katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • Grindstone50k

    My wife has been wanting to do this. Been making me save up shells and nab as many as I can at the range.

    • Katie A

      The instructions are up now, there was an error and an empty post was published. My content is up now, along with more photos. Granted this isn’t what I’d normally post, but it’s fun and it seemed like a good way to kick off December.

      • Grindstone50k

        Glad to see you got the article fixed. I like the extra projects! It’s nice to have some different content like this on this blog.

  • Don Ward

    Amateur hour. We use live shot shells. Here, hold my beer while I plug them in…

    *Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang… Moan…*

    *Bang!*

    • Katie A

      Video, or it didn’t happen…

  • Lance

    Make sure you get them for your tree Katie.

  • Joel

    They had these on the Red Green Show. What a great show that was.

  • ATman

    I think to really take this to the next level would need the Led mounted in the base where the primer once was. Then I would put in some stainless steel shot in an AA tracker hull to finish the effect.

    • Katie A

      Well, you know what I’m going to say: give it a shot! I’m all for gun-themed Christmas stuff, it’s way better than anything I can get at the local mall (plus I really hate malls).

      • ATman

        The LED’s and wire I have, I had some once fired hulls that were just asking to be reloaded but I don’t own a shot gun or shoot one often enough to have all the supplies handy. But I am keeping it in mind I would just need hulls a crimper the shot and wads, and patience. Now that I think of it I might just buy empty hulls if I could ever find any.

  • KestrelBike

    chillax. It’s a POTD.

    • Katie A

      Chivalry’s not dead after all. Thanks, appreciate the backup.

  • Katie A

    Actually it was an error, and the content was gone. Unfortunately I didn’t know until now, and the content has been replaced. Now there’s something to read along with more images. I’m sorry for the error, but it was out of my control…technology: 1, Kat: 0

  • Blake

    A picture is worth 1000 words.

    Actually I thought that the minimalist “article” including just the title picture said enough, & sent the image around to several people who got a kick out of it (no pun intended).

    Certainly not too hot for TFB from an ad-revenue perspective, but spiffy nonetheless &ltgrin&gt…

  • Phillip Cooper

    Or, just buy them at any dollar store.

  • USMC03Vet

    Correct article title: So you to want to have a redneck Christmas…