I was looking for a project that I could send to my Dad for his birthday. I only had a few days before his birthday and I had to mail him a gift. He's very picky about gifts and I knew he wanted something homemade - he always wants something homemade. ;) Thanks to Academy Sports being open till 10pm on a Friday night I found just the right gift! A Large Mouth Bass Decor Oar!
1) Random cardboard or towels to cover the floor and walls from spray paint
2) Sanding Block -I used a lower grit to get the clear coat and paint, already on the oar, off.
3) Wooden oar from the local sporting goods store. Get the smallest they offer - mine is 3 feet tall.
4) White Matte Spray Paint - any brand will do. As always use indoor for inside projects and outdoor - well you get it.
5) polyurethane stain - any brand works, but you want one with a lighter stain to let the white underneath show through.
6) Rags - some fabric you don't mind getting ruined to wipe down the stained oar before it dries.
8) Acrylic paints - any brand.
9) Paint brushes
10) Clear Top Coat Spray Paint - any brand. To cover that acrylic paint that runs away at the sight of water.
11) eye hook - the smaller the better.
12) Fishing Bobbers - I went with the more traditional. Actually if you fish - take a few from what you have on hand! That's what I did.
13) Twine - I wrapped this around the handle, so you will probably want 4 or 5 feet - but that depends on how you want to decorate your oar.
15) Clear strong glue - I used gorilla glue. You need it to be clear. This goes on every knot you make to secure it in place.
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Step 1: Paint and Stain Your Oar
I laid down some random cardboard I had left over and covered the floor of my work space. Then used a low grit sanding block to remove the clear coat and paint they had put on the oar before I bought it. The clear coat was really thick. Next time I'll probably pick up a power sander and save a few hours. Wipe down the oar and remove any dust particles from sanding. I also recommend shaking out the cardboard you laid down.
Lay down the oar and spray paint the first side. It's okay if it's not perfect. Once side one is dry, took me a few hours, flip and paint side two. Check for drips! Can't say this enough. They will show and will show even more once stain has been added to the oar. Once the whole thing has dried overnight, sand down all edges and any place you think would have gotten warn from use. You want some of the white paint removed, but not a lot. Make the oar look warn, but not broken. Then wipe down the dust.
Next use a rag stain the oar. I went light on the stain, making sure to really hit the spots where the wood underneath showed through the white paint. I wanted to age the whole piece with this. It's up to your discretion. I used two rags one to add stain and one to remove it. It's not a hard process, it just takes time to get it to look the way you want. Go with your gut! Let that dry overnight. Do not sand after you have stained the oar. This will seal the wood underneath - remember we took off the factory clear seal that they had on it.
Step 2: Paint a Fish!
I went online and found a picture of a Large Mouth Bass - really any fish your Dad likes to catch would work. I drew the fish onto the large paddle portion of the oar using a pencil. Draw the fish with it's mouth open chasing a lure. This is how we will later add the twine and bobbers to the oar. Once I was happy with the image, I then started painting it with the acrylics. I won't go into much detail about how I did this, but it's really up to you how you want this to look. I tired for a semi-realistic looking fish. Just make sure to have the fish with it's mouth open chasing a lure. Let this dry for a few hours.
Once dry, spray a clear coat over the whole oar to seal it. Acrylics start to run at the thought of water, this will stop that from happening. I went with a matte finish because I didn't want the shiny coat to interfere with my rustic looking oar and take away from my painting.
Spray both sides, letting them dry a few hours in between and then let the whole thing dry overnight.
Optional: If you are worried about making the fish look perfect, get some carbon paper at your local craft store. Lay a sheet down on the wide end of the paddle and then take an image printed from the internet (with the image of your fish on it) and tape it down over the carbon paper using the painters tape. Trace all the lines around your fish, making sure to get a thick line around each and go through the carbon paper. Remove the tape, image, and carbon paper. Boom! you have traced the image of the fish you'd like to paint onto the oar!
Step 3: Hook, Line, and Sinker!
In the hook part of your painting, right where you would actually add the hook to the line from your fishing pole, I screwed in the tiny eye hook. This gave the lure a 3D effect - oooooo. From that eye hook I tied (using, of course, a fisherman's knot) one end of the twine. I then ran the twine around the handle of the oar multiple times. I randomly placed a few bobbers on the twine as I went along. Once I was toward the end of the the oar I wrapped the twine around the handle a few more times and tied it off. I then cut the knot short to the actually knot so I didn't leave a tail. This is where the glue comes in handy, use it to secure the knot in place. I used it on all the knots I made on this, because it is clear - it won't show.
You can stop here, but I went ahead and used some extra twine and tied a loop around the end of the handle and another at the top of the handle (just before the paddle part). I then ran the twine up a bit and made a way to hang the oar. Originally I left the twine as one long piece, but because the paddle part is much heavier you need something to balance out the other side. So I cut the twine in half. The last photo shows it the best.
Once it all is dry, wrap it up and give it away! It makes a cool fathers day gift or birthday gift. I had to mail mine to my dad. That was crazy finding a shipping box! He's got it hanging on the railing in his family room and it goes great with the beach decor my parents have.