Rustic Coat Rack and Nautical Wall Decor with an Oar / Wooden Paddle

Rustic Coat Rack and Nautical Wall Decor with an Oar / Wooden Paddle

I’ve hinted at it on Facebook and here on the blog that I would start focusing on cabin-themed projects this year. My in-laws built a GORGEOUS cabin in the North Georgia mountains, which means I get to add a new facet to my blog! And I’m kicking off that trend with this oar / wooden paddle that I got from Maliasmark. It was the perfect size to upcycle into a rustic coat rack for the cabin, as well as nautical wall decor.

Flea market treasures that Maliasmark found including a vintage oar

The oar / wooden paddle was well-loved, having pushed and pulled water off the side of someone’s canoe for a long time. It wasn’t just in bad shape…in fact, you could say it was in oar-able shape!

Wooden paddle or wooden oar to be refinished and upcycled into rustic home decor by Sadie Seasongoods

But I had faith that with a little TLC and some upcycling magic, I would refinish this wooden paddle into cabin wall decor that was both functional and decorative. 

Salvaging a wooden paddle or old oar by upcycling it into a rustic coat rack for a river cabin by Sadie Seasongoods

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Upcycling an Oar or Wooden Paddle into a Rustic Coat Rack

Because it was a splinter waiting to happen, I gave it a good sanding-down. I started with an 80-grit disk and went back over it with a 120-grit until it was clean and smooth to the touch.

Sanding down a wooden paddle or oar before refinishing it with Boos board cream by Sadie Seasongoods

Initially, I figured I’d stain it- after all, I *love* a good wood stain. But the oar was begging for moisture- years of river/lake life had dried it out terribly.

So, I applied some of my favorite wood conditioner, which I have on hand for my cutting boards. And the wood conditioner transformed it beautifully, right before my eyes…

Rehydrating the wood from a vintage oar with Boos board cream before upcycling it into a rustic coat rack by Sadie Seasongoods

I swear you could hear the wooden paddle breathe a sigh of relief…

To add just a touch of color, I decided to stencil on some nautical stripes to the paddle. I used painter’s tape to create adhesive stencils for my stripes – a wide center stripe and narrower stripes on the sides.

Stenciling stripes onto a wooden paddle for nautical wall decor and a rustic coat rack by Sadie Seasongoods

Ironically, I chose craft paint in blue that perfectly matched my painter’s tape! But regardless, I carefully stippled a scant amount of white and blue craft paint between the adhesive stencils. I started in the middle with white paint first…

Using painters tape to make adhesive stencils for nautical stripes on a wooden paddle for cabin wall decor by Sadie Seasongoods

And then finished the nautical stripes with the blue paint on either side of the white.

Stenciling stripes on a wooden paddle to create a rustic coat rack and nautical wall decor by Sadie Seasongoods

And then it was MY turn to breathe a sigh of relief when I removed the tape! Not only would the oar become a rustic coat rack, but it would serve as nautical wall decor, too.

Nautical wall decor and rustic coat rack by adding stripes to a wooden paddle using adhesive stencils by Sadie Seasongoods

After the nautical stripes had dried, I gave the entire wooden paddle two light coats of a spray-on top coat to seal and protect it. Then it was time finish my rustic coat rack with the appropriate hardware!

Transforming an Oar into a Rustic Coat Rack and Nautical Wall Decor

First, we spaced out for coat hooks to the front of the handle of the oar and screwed them in. Then, we flipped it over and attached two D-rings to the handle and paddle.

Adding D-ring hangers and coat hooks to a wooden paddle for rustic home decor or nautical wall decor by Sadie Seasongoods

Final result? A rustic coat rack for and and all mountain cabin wearables and carryables (flannels, scarves, fishing nets, etc.).

Upcycling a wooden paddle or oar into a rustic coat rack and cabin wall decor with nautical stripes by Sadie Seasongoods

I really do feel like we revived that oar  / wooden paddle from something unwanted into something gorgeous! It works perfectly as a wall-mounted coat rack as well as rustic home decor or cabin wall decor.

How to transform a wooden paddle or oar into a rustic coat rack and nautical decor for a mountain cabin in Georgia by Sadie Seasongoods

You can now find this project hanging in the main floor laundry room in the mountain cabin!

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea for cabin decor, then you may also be interested in my Hudson’s Bay blanket inspired rustic home decor project, too!

Hudson Bay Blanket as inspiration for lodge decor or mountain cabin decor with this upcycling idea by Sadie Seasongoods

Craft on!


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  1. Fonda Rush says

    Nice job! Sure, I’d be into some cabin accessories! I hope we get to see pictures of said cabin.

  2. Love it! Hope the people with the cabin appreciate it too!

  3. chris aka monkey says

    i think cabin is the original decor and has stood the test of time love this oar xx

  4. girlfromwva says

    that is SO nice! really like it!

  5. Looking forward to more cabin decor. That oar is awesome. Oh, and so is your sense of humor 🙂

  6. Visiting from Funky Junk – pinned, great idea, love stripes.

  7. Turned out great!

  8. acraftymix says

    I am so stealing this idea Sarah. Wow, very creative and it looks stunning

  9. What a neat idea!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  10. Aww so cute! I love it!

  11. Love your oar coat rack. It is perfect for a lakeside cabin.. Thank you for sharing at the Snickerdoodle Create~Bake~Make link party!

  12. Hi. Twochicksandamom chose this awesome upcycle as a Feature at Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Link Party today. Please stop by!

  13. diyadulation says

    What a gorgeous upcycle! I would love to have one of these on my wall. Now I need to go find an oar. Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday.

  14. I love it it Sarah! You do a great job staging your photos too!

  15. This is so fun!!! Thanks for sharing Sarah!

  16. Again you have knocked this repurpose out of the park Sarah!! So clever! My son would just love this in his bedroom!

    Thank you so much for sharing your awesome project with us over at Waste Not Wednesday!

  17. Great cabin decor and functional too. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  18. Hi Sarah! Love this project! It’s wonderful turning an old vintage or antique piece into something functional as well as beautiful! I have a set of oars myself that I’ve been trying to decide what to do with and creating a coat hook/rack is a great idea. I’m just wondering about your experience attaching the hooks to your oar which looks old as mine are and I’m worried about cracking the wood when drilling and/or screwing the hooks on. Appreciate any tips you could provide. Regards, Sara

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Hi, Sara! We didn’t have any issues with that- but perhaps conditioning (i.e., moisturizing) the wood first helped? We did drill small pilot holes first- not very deep, and we used a regular screwdriver to attach the hooks. Hopefully that helps!


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