How To Paint A Paddle: Art at the Cottage in Six Easy Steps

Paint your own paddle by following these six easy steps—created for MuskokaStyle by artist and author Wendie Donabie.


  • Wooden paddle – unfinished or varnished
  • Acrylic paint and foam applicator or brushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • 150 or 180 with grit Sandpaper or a palm sander
  • Spray on clear varnish


  1. Sand the varnish off the portion of the paddle you plan to paint. Remove any dust.
  2. Apply a thin layer of wood sealer, e.g. Artist’s quality GOLDEN GAC 100.
  3. Sketch a design on paper. There are lots of pattern examples online. Find something colourful that you like.
  4. Use the tape to create straight edges and block out areas you want to leave the natural colour of the wood. Or freehand draw your design very lightly with a pencil. NOTE: Pencil marks may show through the paint.
  5. Apply craft paint you can purchase at the Dollar Store or better-quality acrylics from an art store if you plan to do a more detailed painting.
  6. Wait 24 hours to ensure the paint is dry, and apply a quality brushed-on or spray varnish or urethane over the painted area. NOTE: If you started with an unfinished paddle, varnish or urethane the entire paddle.

It’s easy and you’ll have a creation of your own to hang on a wall in your cottage, home or boathouse!

Paddle Art by Wendie Donabie

Black Bear Swimming - Paddle_Wendie Donabie
Spotted Turtle on Paddle_ Wendie Donabie
Wendie Donabie

About the Author: Muskoka writer and visual artist Wendie Donabie paints pictures with words and flavours her creations  with alliteration, similes and metaphors. When words won’t do the job, she turns to her easel and paints what stirs her heart and soul – most often her love of the natural world. Wendie has published work in magazines and in poetry and literary collections. At this time, she is working on a murder mystery set in a forested resort area somewhere in North America. Wendie is co-founder of Muskoka Authors Association, operates Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery and is one of the organizers of  ARTrail Muskoka. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and

Photos courtesy of Wendie Donabie, Drew Beamer, & Clark Street Mercantile

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