Upcycling a Boat Oar as a Nautical Coat Rack

Upcycling a Boat Oar as a Nautical Coat Rack

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 boat oar or wood paddle that I recently acquired. It was the perfect size to upcycle into a nautical coat rack for the cabin.

The wood paddle was well-loved, having pushed and pulled water off the side of someone’s canoe or row boat for a long time.

It wasn’t just in bad shape…in fact, you could say it was in oar-able shape!

Boat oar or wood paddle that is cracked and needs a makeover

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

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.

Resurfacing a Boat Oar

Before I begin, here’s a close up of the paddle portion after I picked it up from this favorite Etsy shop of mine. Rough, rough shape…

How to refinish a wood paddle that is old and damaged

It was a splinter waiting to happen!

So, I needed to start by giving it a good sanding-down. First, I started with an 80-grit disk and went back over it with a 220-grit until it was clean and smooth to the touch.

Sanding down a boat oar before using wood conditioner

Initially, I figured I’d stain it- after all, I *love* a good wood stain. But the oar was begging for restorative 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.

Wood conditioner on a wood paddle to resurface the wood

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

Transforming a boat oar into a nautical coat rack

I let the newly conditioned oar rest overnight before finishing its makeover!

Wooden Oar Decor with Nautical Stripes

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).

Painting stripes on a row boat oar

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. First, I started with the middle stripe in white.

Masking tape as stencils for painting stripes on a wooden paddle

Next, I finished the nautical stripes with the blue paint on either side of the white.

Decorating a wood paddle with nautical stripes

And then it was MY turn to breathe a sigh of relief when I removed the tape! Because the nautical stripes turned out just about as perfect as could be!

Nautical stripes on wooden oar decor

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.

Now it was time finish the coat rack with the appropriate hardware.

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

Making a DIY rustic coat rack from a wooden paddle

Upcycling a Boat Oar as a Nautical Coat Rack

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

DIY rustic coat rack with a row boat oar

I really do feel like I revived that row boat oar from something unwanted into something gorgeous! It works perfectly as a nautical coat rack in a rustic setting, like the cabin.

Repurposing a wood paddle as wooden oar decor and rustic coat rack
Here’s a photo of it in my in-laws’ cabin! The photo is actually from the Zillow listing because they’ve decided to put it on the market.

rustic coat hooks on a wooden oar

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!

DIY Cabin Decor with Hudson Bay stripes on white dishes

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





PIN ME!Rustic coat rack as cabin decor or lodge decor

Nautical coat rack with a row boat oar or wood paddle

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. 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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    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!


  1. […] Upcycling a Boat Oar as a Nautical Coat Rack […]

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.