Whether you are planning a nautical theme party or enhancing your home decor, I've put together some of my favorite DIY beach decor and nautical do-it-yourself projects and ideas for tasteful accents that are sure to please. Specifically, these DIY projects:
  • Hanging Decorations
    • Life Ring Door Wreath
    • Painted Nautical Signal Flags
    • Mod-Podge Nautical Cutouts on Canvas
    • Starfish Wall Dangle 
    • Sisal-Wrapped Porthole Mirror
  • Tableware
    • Nautical Napkin Rings
    • Nautical Drinking Cups
    • Nautical Coasters
  • Tabletop Accents
    • Decorative Wrapped Candles
    • Sand & Shell Layered Vase
    • How to Tie a Monkey’s Fist Knot 
    • Beachy Wine Bottles
  • Nautical Displays
    • Faux Pier Pilings
    • Seashell Mantel Display

Hanging Decorations

DIY Life-Ring Door “Wreath”
Photo:  Pinterest.com

Personalize the poop deck with a wall hanging life ring, and add your beach or nautical theme party slogan in block letters. Add nautical accents like realistic fish netting and bleached starfish and seashells to make a spectacular impression. 

You will need:
  • 14”-20” Hanging Life Ring/Preserver Genuine
  • Heavy Gauge Fish Net
  • Roll of thick cotton rope
  • Hot Glue
  • Printed text in desired font
  • Craft knife/scissors
  • Acrylic paint
  • Foam paint applicator
  • Optional: 6”-8” Bleached Finger Starfish, Resin Painted Sea Turtles, colorful seashells, fish/crab replicas, etc.
For Lettering:
  1. Print message in desired font on copy paper.
  2. Cut along the outlines using craft knife and/or scissors, leaving paper in tact to create a stencil.
  3. Position stencil as desired on life ring; use tape to hold in place.
  4. Using a foam applicator, spread paint in thin layers across the stencil, brushing lightly to keep edges from bleeding under.
  5. Let dry for at least 4 hours, or per package instructions, before decorating further.
Other decorations:
  1. Lay ring on a flat surface and position decorations as desired.
  2. Use pea-sized dabs of hot glue to attach decorations to ring.
Decorating Tip: If using fish net, wrap it around the ring and apply hot glue on the back for a neater appearance.

DIY Painted Nautical Signal Flags
Signal the start of a fabulous party with chic and attractive themed decor, like hand-painted nautical flag canvases. These super-easy designs will impress your guests with your creativity and enhance the atmosphere with these one-of-a-kind decorations. Meanings @ gettysburgflags.com.

You will need:
  • Pre-stretched primed canvas or canvas board, in desired size(s)
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Colorless Acrylic Paint
  • Medium Sponge Paint Applicator
  • Painter’s tape Pencil
  • Razor blade
  • Small plastic spoon
  • Optional: Small paintbrush for touch-ups, stencil
  1. Paint the canvas with colorless medium, then allow to dry completely.
  2. Create design template using painters tape to block out outlines that you do not want to paint; for larger areas, cut copy paper to shape and affix with tape.
  3. Burnish the edges of the tape with a plastic spoon before applying paint.
  4. Using foam applicator, apply thin layers of paint to desired opacity; let dry completely before removing tape.
  5. Pressing VERY lightly, drag the corner of a (new) razorblade down the length of the masking tape to prevent the paint from chipping when tape is removed.
  6. Pull tape away from the canvas at a 45 degree angle, pulling gently and slowly.
DIY Mod-Podge Nautical Cut-outs on Canvas 
Source: ModPodgeRocksBlog.com

You will need:
  • Scrapbook paper – colors of your choice
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  • Canvases – set of 4, 6?x6?
  • Nautical silhouette clip art – you’ll need to have these sized to your canvases
  • Acrylic paint in the colors of your choice
  • Foam paint applicator
  • Stencil tape
  • Scissors/Craft knife
  1. Find an image of the motif you want to use; print it on colorful scrapbook paper and make sure it fits well inside your canvas.
  2. Tape the scrapbook paper down using painter’s tape to a rubber cutting mat suitable for handling a craft knife.
  3. Spread the paint in thin, even lines in multiple coats to achieve desired opacity. Let each coat dry before applying the next one.
  4. Using the craft knife and/or scissors, cut around the outlines of the shapes you want to use; in this method, you will use the cutouts, not the stencil.
  5. Once shapes are cut out, use Mod Podge to affix them to the canvas and let dry.
  6. If desired, spread the whole surface with glossy Mod Podge for improved permanence.
DIY Starfish Wall Dangle 

You will need:
  • Starfish, real/bleached or imitation
  • Twine
  • Optional: Hot glue?
  1. Cut two 4.5-foot lengths of twine.
  2. Fold the strings in half, then 4” from the folded end tie a know to create a loop.
  3. Wrap each string around one of the starfish arms, once or several times as desired.
  4. Tie a knot around the back of the starfish at various lengths so that the starfish hang at different heights.
  5. Reinforce the wrapped twine with hot glue if desired.
DIY Sisal-Wrapped Porthole Mirror 
Source: Makinghomebase.com

You will need:  
  • Small circular mirror, casing detached
  • Sisal rope
  • Cardboard boxes or cardboard cake plate
  • Gorilla glue
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors
  • Wallhanger hook
  • Optional: Staples/stapler
  1. If not using cardboard cake plates, cut circles out of cardboard sheets with diameters of at least 6” in excess of mirror size.
  2. Affix mirror to the center of the circle with gorilla glue, and reinforce with hot glue if desired.
  3. Cut the end of the sisal rope at a sharp angle, then fasten to the board up against the side of the mirror with hot glue.
  4. Continue wrapping and gluing until entire board is covered.
  5. Affix wall hook to the back firmly, using glue and/or staples if desired.

Handcrafted details adorning the tablescape lend a rustic nostalgia for beach & boating days gone by without committing the error of over-decorating.

DIY Nautical Napkin Rings
DIY: Homedit.com

You will need:
  • Roll of thick cotton rope
  • Twine/cotton string
  • Hot Glue
  • Optional: Resin Painted Sea Turtles, colorful seashells, bleached starfish/sandollars, fish/crab replicas, etc.
  1. Cut three pieces of 17” thick cotton rope; double or triple for a thicker napkin ring if desired using 6 or 9 pieces or rope.
  2. Wrap a piece of cotton string or twine around the pieces to bind the thicker rope together, about 1” from the top and tie off in a knot.
  3. Braid the pieces of rope for 6 inches.
  4. Loop the braid so that the unbound side of the braid meets the knot at the other end, and bind them all tightly with the thin string.
  5. Tie off with a knot on the underside of the loop.
  6. Cut the ends of thick rope and thin string very short, and reinforce with glue if desired.
  7. Apply fabric or hot glue on the flat, wrapped portion of the braided napkin ring, and glue a shell or other ocean-themed decoration onto the ring.
DIY Nautical Drinking Cups
Source: Bigdotofhappiness.com

You will need:
  • Twine 
  • Glass milk bottles
  • Lifesavers
  • Hot glue
  1. Cut a length of twine 18 - 24 inches and fold in half.
  2. Thread the folded portion through a Lifesaver.
  3. Place the loose ends of the twine through  the loop and pull tight, arranging loop and Lifesaver text in desired orientation.
  4. Hold the Lifesaver at the front and wrap one end of the twine clockwise, then the other end counter clockwise.
  5. Continue wrapping until you  have the desired amount around the neck of your glass milk bottle jar.
  6. Tie off tightly with a knot pulled tight, adding a dab of hot glue to reinforce.
  7. Embellish with red striped straws, name cards, or other nautical party supplies.
DIY Nautical Coasters 
Source: Theshabbycreekcottage.com

You will need:
  • Sisal rope
  • Small terracotta planter saucers
  • Felt
  • Hot glue
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Clothespin
  • Optional: Spray paint
  1. If desired, spray paint the saucers in desired color and allow to dry completely (24 hours) before proceeding.
  2. Once saucer is desired color, lay the felt across the bottom surface of the upturned saucer, then trace around the raised edge with chalk.
  3. Cut out the circle with scissors, and attach to the saucer with hot glue. 
  4. Cut a length of 25” of sisal rope.
  5. Place a dab of hot glue at one end of the sisal rope, fold to begin spiral, and hold with a clothespin until hot glue cools completely.
  6. Proceed to wrap sisal rope around itself to create a spiral and reinforce it every few inches with a dab of hot glue to secure.
  7. Reinforce the tail end of the spiral with a generous amount of glue.
  8. Spread glue in the bottom of the saucer, then place the sisal rope spiral into the center. 
Tabletop Accents

DIY Decorative Wrapped Candles
You will need:?
  • Pillar candles, preferably in glass jar
  • Twine Seashells
  • Decorative stones/glass marbles
  • Hot Glue Decorative Platter, such as 13” Silver-Plated Serving Tray
  • Optional: Resin Painted Sea Turtles, bleached coral, small starfish/sandollars, ocean life replicas
  1. Place a dab of hot glue near the top of where you want the twine wrapping to start and affix the free end of the twine.
  2. Wrap over the beginning end of the twine to keep it in place, and continue wrapping until desired thickness is reached.
  3. Fasten the final end of the twine with hot glue to the back of the candleholder.
  4. Use hot glue to affix decorations to the twine as desired.
  5. Place candles on a silver tray, and add rocks, shells, etc. to enhance the decoration.
DIY Sand and Shell Layered Vase 
Source: Pinterest.com

Add attractive beach shells, colorful pebbles, and natural sand to glass vases to introduce natural textures in simple, standalone decorations that are perfect for any surface. 

How to Tie a Monkey’s Fist Knot 
Here's how: Animatedknots.com

Impress your guests with a nautical-themed party trick by learning to tie your own monkey’s fist knot. Use sisal or cotton rope to turn it into a DIY decoration!

DIY Beachy Wine Bottles 
Source: Betweennapsontheporch.com

You will need:
  • Wine bottles, preferably colorful glass
  • Jute, twine, raffia, cotton, or other natural fiber string
  • Foam cork board
  • Drill/drillbit
  • Hot glue
  • Nylon thread
  • Decorations: Seashells, starfish, driftwood, sea glass, ocean creature replicas, etc.
  1. Lay shells on a foam cork board, then drill a small hole high up on the underside.
  2. Link the shells together by threading them all through one continuous piece of nylon thread, tying off each one so they are properly spaced.
  3. Place a dab of hot glue on the neck of the bottle and affix the nylon thread, as well as the end of a piece of raffia and/or jute (for wrapping).
  4. Wrap to desired thickness, then fasten the final end with another dab of hot glue.
  5. If using starfish, make a cleaner impression using raffia knotted several times in the back (instead of wrapping around nylon thread).
  6. Attach in the manner described above, wrapping additional twine/jute/raffia/etc. around the neck to secure.
Nautical Displays

DIY Faux Pier Pilings 

You will need : 
  • 4” Conduit (PVC or Fiberglass)
  • Liquid Nails Panel Adhesive Monster Mud (or joint compound + latex paint)
  • Wood or Drywall Screws
  • Latex paint in colors of choice
  • Hot glue
  • Plastic Spoon & Cup
  • Optional: ¾” Manila Rope Barnacles (bought or cast yourself)
  1. Cut the conduit to desired length. Suggested heights for cluster of three: 33", 26" & 17"
  2. Use screws such as 1 ½” drywall screws to attach each of the pilings together.
  3. Cut cardboard disks to use for the tops of the pilings and attach with hot glue.
  4. Mix pre-made Monster Mud with Liquid Nails Panel Adhesive at a ratio of 1:1 (1 part MM to 1 part LN) in a plastic cup.
  5. Alternatively, create your own “Monster Mud” using joint compound and latex paint in a ratio of 4:1.
  6. Apply the MM / LN mixture with the back of a spoon following the “grain” of your piling. To create a rugged appearance, leave the ridges created by the spoon and keep them all going in the same direction. Let dry for 24 hours.
  7. Add a dark paint “wash” to your surface in a 1:1 water-to-paint ratio.
  8. Use a lighter color to dry brush everything to make the “wood” grain really pop.
  9. Optional: Add Manila Rope, glue on barnacles and/or add some water stains to the lower part of the pilings if desired.
DIY Seashell Mantel Display
Source: Furniture-pellet-pellets-pallet-palle.blogspot.com

DIY Starfish Garland 

Give background walls a makeover by incorporating the elegance of oceanic life into a unique and creative display. The rustic textures of undyed twine and natural sea shells tie nicely into a beach or nautical theme, lending sophisticated visual impact through simplicity of design. 

You will need: 
  • Twine
  • 6-8 Starfish
  • O-rings
  • Hot glue
  • Optional: Seashells, small drillbit/drill
  1. Cut an 8-foot length of twine.
  2. Six inches in from one side, place a dab of hot glue on the back of one of the starfish arms and fasten to the twine. Allow to harden.?
  3. Then, wrap the long side of the twine around the starfish three or four times.
  4. Place another dab of hot glue on the back side of the starfish on top of the wrapped twine, and tie a knot.
  5. Repeat at 1-foot intervals with remaining starfish.
  6. Once decorations have been strung and affixed, tie an O-ring to each end of the garland to make for easy hanging.
  • Drill a hole one the right and left sides at the widest part of a scallop shell by placing the shell scoop-side up on a corkboard.
  • Then string the shells along the twine in between the starfish for an extra touch of elegance.
  • Sea glass is another attractive option, and can be wrapped similar or drilled into with the above methods.
DIY Framed Sea Shells

You will need:
  • 5”x7” Wooden Picture Frames with removable glass
  • Cardstock or thin cardboard, such as from a cereal box
  • Old newspaper articles, glossary, index, encyclopedia
  • Seashells
  • Double-sided tape
  • Hot Glue
  • Scissors/craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  1. Remove the glass from standalone picture frames, and measure the dimensions of the backing.
  2. Cut a piece of cardstock to match those dimensions for each frame.
  3. Place strips of double-sided tape along the sides of the cardboard pieces and in rows across the middle, and attach to the text pages.
  4. Using scissors or a craft knife, cut the pages down to the size of the cardboard. Insert into picture frame.
  5. Use hot glue to affix shells in desired formation to the display side of the frame.
What are some of your favorite DIY beach eecor & nautical do-it-yourself projects that you have created?

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