Bring on the flea market

Painted Oars after
Add some seaside flare to your home this summer.
Credit: Wayfair

This happens every summer. You excitedly head to flea markets and tag sales determined to transform some crappy old icebox into, say, a vanity, which will then be the impetus for your very own lifestyle brand. But instead you end up with yet another guilt-inducing dust-collector that judges you and gnaws at your creative soul every time you dig for shoes in the back of your closet, where it currently resides.

Thankfully the editors at Wayfair braved the Brimfield Antique Show — the mother of East Coast flea markets — and came up with these two ingenious and affordable (under $40!) DIY projects to warm-up your inner Martha Stewart.

Painted Oars
Project: Vintage oars get a modern makeover with beautiful graphic prints to create a beach-y focal wall.
-3 used rowing oars
-Fine grit sandpaper
-Painter’s tape
-Acrylic paint
-Paint brushes (varying sizes)
-Clear spray paint, gloss finish
-Black rope or paracord (optional)
-Nails (for hanging oars)
-Drop cloth (for painting and spraying)


Step 1
Start with the color palette and design. The editors at Wayfair drew inspiration for their color palette from by painted oars seen on Pinterest.

Step 2
Lightly sand the blades of the oars with a fine grit sandpaper. This helps to smooth out places the oars may have been chipped and gives the paint a better surface to adhere to. 

Step 3
Tape off the design for each paddle with painters tape. Some designs will have to be done in stages. Make sure to measure twice to make sure you’re getting the right line and angle. 

Step 4
Paint the oars according to your design. They used three or more coats of paint to ensure a rich color. Remove the painter’s tape before the paint completely dries to prevent the paint from chipping or pulling away with the tape.

Step 5
Once you’re happy with the design and color, apply a coat of clear gloss spray paint to each oar blade to seal and protect the paint. 

Step 6
As a finishing touch, wrap black paracord at different points along the shafts of the oars.

Hanging the Oars
Paint two inch carpentry nails black and use three nails to hang each oar. Place one nail at the throat of the paddle (where the shaft meets the blade) and two nails right below the grip of the oar (one on the top and one on the bottom) to hold the oar in place. 

Checkerboard Tray After

Checkerboard Tray
Project: An old board game now serves as a one-of-a-kind decorative tray.

-Game board
-Gold metallic spray paint
-2 metal boat cleats
-4 screws


Step 1

Wipe down the checkerboard with a wood cleaner. If desired, apply a finish to protect the wood and add a hint of shine. 

Step 2

For now, place the game board off to the side. Take the boat cleats and screws outside to paint. Choose a spray paint color that complements your decor. We chose to paint the silver boat cleats gold to create a sophisticated-glam look. Place cleats and screws on top of newspaper or a drop cloth before spraying. Follow instructions on can for painting.

Step 3

After you’ve finished painting the boat cleats, apply a layer of paint to the top of the screws. (You want to spray paint the top of the screws so they match the new color of the boat cleat.) It’s best to lay them on their side. Spray paint them once, and then roll them over 180 degrees to ensure the entire top surface is covered.

Step 4

Once the paint has dried, bring your supplies back inside and prepare the drill. Make sure the drill bit is appropriate for the size screws you’ll be using. Place each cleat on the board where you want them and mark a dot with a pencil through each opening. Remove the cleat and drill two pilot holes for your screws.

Step 5

Place the boat cleats back into position and use a hand screwdriver or screwdriver drill bit to drill the screws into place.


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