Clam Shell Bowl with Baking Soda Paint

Clam Shell Bowl with Baking Soda Paint

Have you noticed that large clam shells have gotten weirdly popular as home decor lately? They’re turning up everywhere! So, when I spotted this scalloped wooden bowl at Goodwill, I wondered if I could transform it into a clam shell bowl. AND I could try out baking soda paint, which is also trendy these days.

acacia wood bowl

Baking soda paint. Basically, this just means adding baking soda to paint in order to get a gritty, textured surface.

Which made me think of the outside of a clam shell!

But a clam shell is kind of, well…boring. The shape is cool, but the colors are pretty blah. So, I decided to take this bowl and make it into a clam shell-abalone shell hybrid!

turning a wood bowl into a large clam shell

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related post.

Wooden Bowl to Clam Shell

The scuffing on the wooden bowl, both inside and out, made it ideal for upcycling into a clam shell bowl. But it also made for an uneven surface for painting.

upcycling a wood bowl with baking soda paint

So, I first set up my spray-painting station outside and gave it a quick coat of primer to even everything out.

how to fake a clam shell bowl

Once the primer had dried, I started on the inside of the bowl. To recreate the look of abalone shell, I turned to an old favorite of mine: color shift paint.

Color Shift paint changes color as you turn it from side to side. Some of you may recall that I first tried out these paints on a Halloween project several years ago. I thought that this purple-blue shade would be ideal for the abalone look I was going for.

First, I used a regular brush to paint a coat of color shift paint inside the wooden bowl. But I could see brush marks GALORE, so I did a second coat.

Same problem. Brush marks and uneven coverage.

So, on the final coat, I used a large stencil brush to swirl on the paint. HALLELUJAH, that was the ticket!

faking the colors of abalone

Next, I let the abalone shell paint dry and buffed on a top layer of clear wax to protect it. Now I could move onto the baking soda paint for the exterior!

Baking Soda Paint

To make the baking soda paint, I purchased a sample of latex paint in a soft grey. I also grabbed baking soda, a recyclable mixing bowl, and a brush.

what is baking soda paint

After pouring some paint into the mixing bowl, I added several scoops of baking soda to the paint. I mixed and added more baking soda until I had a thick, gritty paint.

Not quite a paste- it was brushable. But a spreadable paste, if that makes sense.

And then I began to brush the baking soda paint onto the outside of the wooden bowl.

baking soda paint

I went around and around, changing the direction of my brush to get as natural a surface as possible. When I was satisfied, this is what the exterior of my large clam shell looked like.

texture of baking soda paint

HOW FABULOUS IS THAT? Very clam shelly! All from baking soda paint.

Finally, I sealed the baking soda paint with a matte topcoat to protect it.

protecting the surface of baking soda paint

Clam Shell Bowl with Baking Soda Paint

And that, my friends, is how I upcycled this wooden bowl into a large clam shell. With the help of baking soda and paint!

large clam shell

Ok- a clam shell shape with some abalone pizazz. Because we all need a little pizazz in our lives, don’t you think?

baking soda and paint to make a clam shell

I am now a true fan of baking soda paint! And I’ll definitely be trying it on future projects when I want a little texture and grit.

wooden bowl as a large clam shell


And, guess what today is? Thrift Store Decor Team Day! Check out what my gal pals have been upcycling, as well. 

thrift store recycling projects

1. Repurposed Tool Box Jewelry BoxPetticoat Junktion

2. Clam Shell Bowl with Baking Soda PaintSadie Seasongoods (that’s mine!)

3. Antique Skeleton Key MakeoverHouse of Hawthornes

4. Cutting GlassDomestically Speaking

5. Wooden Rocking Chair MakeoverMy Repurposed Life

6. DIY Lake SignOur Southern Home


If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for a clam shell bowl with a faux finish, you may also enjoy these sea glass bottles, as well!

Sea glass bottles as wine bottle crafts for coastal decor

One more thing before you go! If you’re looking for more examples of baking soda paint or other textured paint finishes, please check out these projects from my friends!

Craft on!


Want to be notified when I publish my next upcycling project tutorial?

Please subscribe here.

Join me on Social Media:

please follow sadie seasongoods on facebookplease follow sadie seasongoods on instagramfollow sadie seasongoods on pinterest






clam shell bowl

large clam shell with baking soda paint

Website | + posts

Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Once again you are killing me with your vision! I would never have thought clamshell if I’d run across that bowl! It looks great now. I am going to have to try the baking soda method!

  2. ShelleyS says

    One of my very favorite projects of your’s… EVER!

    The only issue I’d have is that I’d never want to put anything in it to hide any of that glorious interior.

    Just love it. Now I’ll be on the lookout for a similar wooden bowl at my thrift shops.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Awww, thank you!! And I know what you mean- when I was done, I was like, “Well, I guess it’ll stay an empty bowl forever!” hahaha

  3. Stunning! 👏🏻

  4. Rebecca Payne says

    I really love this idea. Great job!

  5. Cathy Razor says

    What a great finish. I decoupaged a really large wooden monkey pod platter years ago and recently found a small shell two compartment piece at a garage sale that I planned to do the same with. But, after seeing your shell I have to decided to give that a try. I really like the baking soda technique and have never heard about the shifting paint but that is just perfect. Thank you!

  6. This is beautiful! Very innovative. I have now subscribed to your email.

  7. Mary Loveland says

    Beautiful job! It is now a lovely bowl; love the color and the baking soda makes wonderful texture. Great post!

  8. fondarush says

    The color shift paint was right on to make the inside of the clam shell!

  9. Pamela Smith says

    Love, love, love this!!! I will now be on the search for a ‘clam’ bowl!!

  10. That color shift paint is so cool!!!!

  11. This is awesome! I would never have thought of this! Great job

  12. Oh my gosh Sarah!!! I think I must have some of that color shift paint! That’s awesome! Your clam shell turned out so great with the baking soda paint.



  13. I have GOT to find that paint! That’s gorgeous and your project is amazing! Pinned

  14. Wow… what an amazing finish you got out of this! That paint treatment positively glows!

  15. This is so cool! I have a very similar thrift store bowl. It would be great finished like this with shells at our beach cottage.

Have a question or like what you see? Please let me know!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.