Outdoor Buoy Decor

Looking for cute door decor? Check out this fun and decorative DIY wooden buoy set! A great alternative to traditional wreaths.

DIY decorative buoy set hanging on the front door with text overlay

Confession: until two days ago, my door was still sporting my spring ribbon wreath. Summer just snuck up on me this year, and I hadn’t taken the time to switch out my outdoor decor. When I finally got around to thinking about it, I decided that I didn’t want to do a traditional wreath. Don’t get me wrong, I love yarn wreaths, ribbon wreaths, floral wreaths–all sorts of circular goodness–but I was ready for a change. When I found out that my dad had a nicked up old 4 x 4 that he was willing to donate to my cause, I knew just the project for it.

old 4x4 to use for the buoy set

Who knew an ugly old piece of wood could be so inspiring? 😉 I had seen a beautiful DIY buoy project over at Tatertots and Jello that I was dying to try, so I enlisted the help of my handy hubby to cut down the wood for me.

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Materials you’ll need

  • (1) 4×4
  • Other paint for decorating
  • Miter saw
  • Paintbrush
  • Primer/base paint
  • Drill (and bit)
  • Sand paper or block
  • Sealer
  • Rope for hanging
  • Painter’s tape

How to Make a DIY Buoy Step-by-Step

1. Cut the wood.

He first cut two straight one-foot lengths. Then he used the instructions in Jen’s helpful diagram to create the buoy shape. His compound miter saw set to 10 degrees was the perfect tool for the job.

2. Drill the Holes.

He drilled a hole through the top of each one and handed them over to me to make them pretty. Believe me, they needed a lot of love:

two wooden buoys just after cutting the wood with the holes drilled in the top

3. Sand each buoy and paint.

I gave them a good sanding to get rid of some of the rough spots. I still wanted them to look worn, though, so I didn’t make them totally smooth. Then it was time to start painting. I gave them both a coat of white paint + primer.

The buoys standing up after being primed

3. Decorate.

Then it was time to mark and tape off my design, again with hubby’s help. I wanted them to be really preppy and nautical looking; buoy #1 got horizontal stripes to showcase our house number, and buoy #2 received a diagonal bar wrapping the whole way around the buoy to display our surname initial. {Oh, c’mon. You knew I was going to work in a monogram somehow! ;)} I used the same chalk transfer method that I used with my monogrammed onesies to get the outline of the letter and numbers.

buoy set with stencil marks and painter's tape before painting

Finally, finally it was painting time! I used a small brush to very carefully paint around my letter and numbers first, then proceeded to fill in the rest of my tape outline. The wood was actually harder to work with than the fabric when it came to bleeding. I don’t know if it was because the wood had so many grooves or because i didn’t press the tape down hard enough, but I definitely had some spots I needed to touch up.

The good news was that I was hoping for a “beat up,” “used” buoy look, so after a little sanding, the spots where the paint had bled weren’t nearly as noticeable.

DIY Buoy set hanging on the front door

4. Seal and hang.

I gave them a few coats of spray poly to protect them from the elements and asked hubby to hang a solid screw in the door {these babies are heavy!}. After slipping some braided rope through the holes and tying it up, the buoys were ready to be hung!

close up of decorative wooden buoys

Yay! Out with spring, in with summer! {It’s about time, right?!} And they just happen to be red, white, and blue for the 4th. I love it when things work out like that! I’m looking forward to being greeted by these sweet little buoys all summer, but with my track record, maybe I should start planning my fall door decor now… 😉

Have you ever strayed from the traditional wreath with your door decor? What creative things have you used to decorate?

Abby Lawson at Abby Organizes, justagirlandherblog.com


  1. Emily @ My Love for Words says:

    That’s a really neat idea! They look great. Well done! 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, friend! Hope you have a fabulous 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Jessica @ Decor Adventures says:

    Oh my gosh, I so have been wanting to make these, I had the same idea! Except I didn’t know how we were going to cut the wood, now I’ll have to give it a try. They came out great, and perfect colors 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Jessica! They were fun to make! And Jen’s diagram was so easy to follow for cutting the wood. {Or should I say it was so easy to pass the diagram on to hubby so he could cut the wood… ;)} Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  3. These turned out awesome, Abby! ~~Angela

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Angela! Hope your week is going well!

      ~Abby =)

  4. ingrid@nowathomemom says:

    they turned out very nice Abby! I would love to see them too when I arrive in front of my house! 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Ingrid! I was so excited to see your guest post on The DIY Dreamer this week! What fun little toy carts for Nate! Hope you have a fantastic 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Christine says:

    Oh!! I love these Abby!!!!!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks, Christine! You are so sweet! Hope you had a wonderful Canada Day!

      ~Abby =)

  6. These turned out amazing! Love them! thanks!

    Emily @ elizabethjoandesigns.com

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Emily! Hope you have a great 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Megan @ Our Pinteresting Family says:

    Your set turned out great!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much, Megan! I was just checking out your blog too…I love your gender reveal idea! Congrats on the twins! Have a fantastic 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  8. These turned out so cute! Love the details with the house number and initial.

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Anu! I love your blog and I’m so flattered that you stopped by! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Anne@DesignDreams says:

    How cute! I love that rope too!!!

    Thanks for your sweet comment on my kitchen. Have a happy 4th of July!


    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much, Anne! Hope you’re having a wonderful 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    I absolutely love this! Great job! and thank you so much for sharing it:) I have to do some of these for around our house!,

    1. abbylawson says:

      I saw that you had your eye on them for your son’s room! I can’t wait to see your take on them…I’m sure it will be lovely! Have a great weekend, Krista!

      ~Abby =)

  11. I love this! Such a unique idea! Visiting from the Inspire Me blog hop! Feel free to also link this one up at our Red, White & BBQ Ladies Only Blog Share link party which is now live! 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much for the invite, Crystal! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Sharon @ Life After Empty Nest says:

    Love anything nautical! This is a great project!!
    Happy Summer!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Nautical is everywhere these days, right?! Thanks so much for stopping by, Sharon! Hope you’re having a fun weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  13. I just LOVE these! Never would have thought to hang on the front door! How summery and fabulous!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much, Jenna! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much for the invite, Britney! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Erin@Managing the Manor says:

    Stopping by from I Heart Organizing. What a great, thrifty project! Love the festive colors and the braided rope is the perfect touch. Awesome job!


    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Erin! I’m so glad you stopped by! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Cookie 17 says:

    I really like these you did allsome job on these…Hope you keep up great work.Thank’s

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Cookie! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Jamie! I appreciate it! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

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  18. swell conditions says:

    Oooo, very cool – just my style too – thanks for the tutorial!!

  19. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    I love these so much – they are totally on my to-do list. Thanks for sharing them at our Outdoor Extravaganza link party – I’m featuring you tomorrow and sharing them on my FB page this weekend:)

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  21. Karen Taylor Howell says:

    LOVE this project! Great job! How did you tie the rope to make those interesting knots?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Karen! I just did a Google search on how to tie knots and picked the one I liked the best, lol! I’m not very technical! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

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