Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Retired Paddle

4-minute read

Do you have a beloved canoe or kayak paddle that’s served its years faithfully, but you just can’t see it go? Repurpose it!

5 painted canoe paddles

(Photo courtesy of Les Voyageurs)

There are several fun ways you can use retired wood paddles to keep them around longer, especially for home decor. Not only will your paddle serve a new purpose, it’ll be a constant reminder of the many adventures you experienced with it.

Ways to Repurpose a Retired Paddle

Granted it’ll be many years before your Bending Branches wood paddle will be ready for retirement. But maybe you have one you bought 30 years ago, or you had the good fortune to pick one up at a garage sale or thrift store.

Here are a couple ideas we found online that are easy and inexpensive:

Pinterest post: paddle used to display a house number

Found on Pinterest: Use your retired paddle for your house number. Buy metal numbers at your local hardware store and attach them to the paddle blade. Everyone who comes to your door will know you’re a paddler.

Canoe Museum of Canada photo of canoe paddle converted to a coat rack

Found at Canada’s Canoe Museum: Use your retired paddle as a coat rack. Add some metal hooks and hang on it the wall in a kitchen, entryway, bathroom or bedroom.

Etsy post of engraved canoe paddle blades

Found on Etsy: This seller custom engraves canoe paddle blades for home decor. Maybe someone local to you has the equipment to do this for you, or you could woodburn a design, scene or lettering yourself.

 Pinterest post of two wood canoe paddles used as a mount for picture frames

Found on Pinterest: Get a pair of paddles (or separate the halves of a wood kayak paddle), connect them together, add hooks or other fasteners and use them to hold picture frames, like the one above. Clever!

And, of course, you can simply hang a retired paddle as-is on a wall or stand it up in a corner. It will add interest to that space and bring back great memories.

If you’re more ambitious and have several paddles, you can craft furniture out of your retired wood paddles, like these folks have done:

Amazon post of a headboard made of wood canoe paddles

Found on Amazon: Hand-make a headboard for a bed using canoe paddles. Headboards like this one can be twin, full, queen or king-size, depending on how many paddles you have available.

Pinterest post of a rocking chair made partly of wood canoe paddles

Found on Pinterest: Make a chair using several paddles as the backrest. It doesn’t look like this shop, Woodland Creek Furniture, makes them anymore…but why not you? Plans for an Adirondack chair would work nicely, and are widely available.

Ways to Repurpose or Personalize a Current Paddle

You don’t have to wait until your paddle is ready for retirement! Many canoeists find unique ways to repurpose or personalize the paddles they actively use, too.

One of the great benefits of choosing a wood paddle that’s hand-crafted by our team here at Bending Branches is that it’s beautiful enough to use as wall art.

The wood blends we use not only contribute to a paddle’s strength and light weight, but to its great looks. Whether it’s during the off-season or even in-between paddle trips, give your paddle a spot in your home or office that shows it off, as shown below:

wood kayak paddle having above interior door in a home

Our Impression wood kayak paddle (photo courtesy of Wool and Flax Living)

Bending Branches canoe paddle hanging on the wall of an office

Our Viper wood canoe paddle (photo courtesy of Jason Choate)

There are some super fun ways our customers have made their paddle their own by personalizing it in some way.

For example, the photo at the top of this post shows a few samples of the way participants of Les Voyageurs’ canoe programs painted their own paddles. This is an ongoing tradition with their trips.

Here’s what another Branches customer did with some of our Beavertail paddles:

Bending Branches Beavertail wood canoe paddles painting in stripes

Pretty cool, eh?

Another customer ordered an unfinished paddle from us, then had their son’s new paddle painted by his grandma to commemorate the many miles of paddling he’d already done in his young life (you can read this family's inspiring story here).

Young man with his hand-painted canoe paddle

(photos courtesy of Jody Miles)

(NOTE: If you want to decorate your own Bending Branches paddle, be aware it may affect the warranty. Feel free to contact our Customer Service team if you have questions.)

Are you feeling inspired, yet?! Happy crafting!

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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