Nautical art using wavey painter's tape

May 02, 2014

I found a ship’s wheel at HomeGoods years ago – knowing the direction I wanted to go in this room even back then. It’s been sitting under his sink for all those years. I actually forgot about it till I cleaned out the cabinet late last year. Awesome.

I held it up on the wall and it felt a little sparse all by itself, so I decided to add a little somethin’ behind it. It started with some scrap wood in the garage – don’t they all? I don’t throw wood away and this is why.

I cut it down to 24 by 24 inches using my jigsaw. I’m horrible at cutting straight lines but I’m getting a bit better. To get a good line to follow, I measure my distance every few inches along the wood, then use something long and straight (like scrap wood) to make my line:

cutting straight line with jigsaw cutting straight line with jigsaw

If I take my time I can get a fairly straight line with the jigsaw:

using a jigsaw

Not perfect like a table saw would cut, but decent. This is why they invent wonderful things like caulk. :)

This is more of a particle board than a nice finished wood but it’s all I had in the right size, so to smooth it out a bit I sanded it down and then used some spackle to fill in the bigger divots:


I didn’t fill everything because I didn’t mind it having a slight texture. After another sanding it was ready for primer and paint. I did one coat of primer and two coats of the almost white color I used in the mud room. It has a ever-so-slight grey undertone to it but if you just look at it, it looks white. I’m planning on using this color in the bathroom since I have some leftover.

I wanted to add some fun so I picked one of the FrogTape shape tapes to use. I haven’t used the wave design yet and I thought the bathroom would be the perfect place! I started by putting the first length of the tape right in the middle of the board. Then I measured about two inches down for each one, but I wasn’t crazy particular about it:

wave painter's tape

The goal was to make them the same distance from both the top and the bottom.

I made sure to press the tape down really well – I was a little nervous about this wood and it’s rough texture and potential seepage. After it was sealed well I gave it a few coats of a blue color I’m hoping to use on the vanity in the bathroom. Usually I like to pull up my tape when the paint is wet, but when you have to do multiple coats you just have to wait it out. It’s SO hard to wait to see how the lines look! :)

Thankfully they were PERFECT!:

wave painter's tape

I added some lattice wood around the edges as a “frame” of sorts and then laid the whole thing on the floor to see where I wanted the wheel to sit on the board:

DIY nautical art

And I LOVED it! So preppy, so fresh! Love that blue too, it’s a definite for the vanity.

Here it’s hung with a nail but I later went back and put a little cleat on the back of the wheel instead. That nail was bugging me. Details. :)

I went ahead and painted the one wall (the wall I may knock down much later) and was surprised at how much better it looked without all that yellow. The yellow tone wasn’t doing any favors without any natural light in there.

I hung the wheel on that wall and it was a perfect fit!:

DIY nautical art

I just think it’s adorable, really. The waves totally make it.

Have you done any fun projects like this lately? This one will set the tone for the whole room – now I can’t wait to get started!

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  1. It's adorable! I love that shade of blue. Can't wait to see what it looks like all done. And I can't believe how fast they grow up. *wipes away tear* :)

  2. So, so cute. Love how you put this together. Kid spaces are so fun.

  3. Sarah, I love this project! It looks perfect in that area. I can't wait to see everything finished. You are such an inspiration. I am moving into a new house, so I am going to be referring to your blog for a lot of the things I want to do. Thanks!

  4. Looks SO cute! Now with this new theme, you may decide you want to relocate the oar from your powder room wall into his bathroom. :)

  5. What is the name of the blue paint?

  6. Love that wavy background!! And that wheel is outrageously cool.

    I used the chevron Shape Tape I got at Haven last year to do a cute edge on a drop cloth tablecloth I made for our screened porch. I was AMAZED at how well the delicate tape adhered to that very nubby fabric. No bleeding at all! It really is an amazing product :)

  7. This is so cute! What a great idea!!

  8. This is so fun! I love the waves :)
    I haven't been able to find any of the shaped tape anywhere near me. boo hoo.
    Have a great weekend!

  9. Who knew the frog tape had a shape tape. Love your finished project, well worth the work involved. Ship wheel loves the waves!

  10. I love this!! I've never heard of or seen the shape tape! I'm going to have to go find some!

    Gorgeous project! My blogs more craft focused (as of now), but I'll have some wood projects soon! Check it out !

  11. Such a great little project! Looks like you need that color blue for your desk!!

  12. Your shapes really made the project. It is so cute. Great job!

  13. this is SO CUTE!! The blue waves behind it really take on an ocean wave feel in the context with the ship's wheel. Very awesome!! Love it!

  14. Love it Sarah - perfect for a boys bathroom or a coastal themed room. I wish I could find the wavy and chevron Frog Tape here in Canada but I've yet to be successful.
    Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

  15. Wow, I love the way that turned out! It was a great idea you had, Sarah!

  16. I have that same ship's wheel but never knew what to do with it. Thanks for the idea. My husband liked it too. That will have to be my future project.

  17. Ships wheel on the board looks awesome, love it and fact it's a really nice size. thought out might be lots smaller until I saw photo on wall. The color is perfect. Your son will love his new grown up bathroom. Happy weekend


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