DIY Painted Styrofoam Buoy Wreath

Coastal and nautical decor are so popular right now. This simple to make wreath would look nice in coastal colors like turquoise, blues, and tans. Or, get a nautical look with red, navy, and white. Really any color would be great and you would still get that coastal look because it's well...buoys. I chose pastels for this wreath because it was getting close to Easter. I love the way it turned out.

You will need a couple of supplies for this project that you may not be familiar with. I grew up and still live in a small coastal area where boats are used as much for livelihood as they are for pleasure. Buoys and nylon rope are everyday items here and readily available.

If you are unable to purchase these items locally you can order buoys, nylon rope, and liquid rope whipping from Ace Marine Rigging and Supply (252-726-6620), a small store with great customer service and everyday low prices. I paid $2.55 for each buoy and $.18 per foot for the rope. You can also find them on Amazon, but they will be more expensive.

Part of the buoy selection at my local Ace Supply

You will need:

6- 7" Styrofoam buoys (sometimes called Styrofoam floats)
Craft paints and paint brush
15' 3/8" Nylon rope
Sharp knife or hobby knife (like X-Acto)
Liquid Rope Whipping (in clear or white)
4½ feet of ¼" ID 3/8" OD Vinyl tubing
Sharpie or other type of marker
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Strong transparent tape, like packing tape
Optional: 5 foot stiff wire

A little info about the supplies...

These are the buoys I purchased.

Notice that piece sticking out from the middle? You can cut if off or leave it. I found it comes in handy when painting as I can use it as sort of a handle. When assembling the wreath I just turn these toward the back. Sometimes the buoys don't have them.

You need to know that you can't just cut nylon rope like regular rope. See the black piece of electrical tape on the end of this rope? This rope was taped and cut with a specialized heat cutter to prevent fraying. Nylon rope will immediately begin to unravel when cut. Don't worry, I'll show you what to do to prevent your rope from fraying.

You need something to help the wreath keep its shape. I found vinyl tubing works great. Available at most hardware stores.

Because it was spring and close to Easter, I chose to use pastels.
Choose the right paint! Most spray paints and some other paints contain chemicals that will actually cause the Styrofoam to melt. Craft paints, like the ones shown here, will work fine.

This is Dip-It Whip-It by Starbrite. It is the liquid rope whipping that I used. You will need either the white or clear.

Now that you have everything you need, lets begin...

Start by painting your buoys. I like leaving the ring around the middle white but paint it any way you like. Paint two coats letting each coat dry thoroughly.

You will need seven pieces of rope, each about 7" long. You need just enough to wrap around the tubing exactly three times. These go between the buoys on the tubing. Measure your rope and use the Sharpie to mark.

Stir or shake your liquid rope whipping well and use the included brush to paint all around the rope on the marks you made and about 1/2" up sides.

Cut the rope on your marks. If it starts to fray, apply more liquid whipping and let dry before trying again.

After the liquid whipping has dried dip each end, covering about 3/4" of rope. Wait five minutes and dip again. Let dry overnight.

Thread the painted buoys onto the tubing but do not cut off any excess tubing yet. Wrap one piece of the prepared rope pieces around the tubing between each buoy and use hot glue gun to secure. Be careful, remember the glue is really hot. Try to keep the rope from getting glued to the tubing, you just want to glue the wrapped rope to itself. Wrap another piece of rope before the first buoy and after the last buoy on the tubing. Slide the buoys and wrapped rope close together on tubing.

Cut the vinyl tubing allowing a few inches extra. Overlap the tubing and tape together with clear packing tape or other strong tape.

Optional: If you want even more support for your wreath, insert about 5' of stiff wire all the way through the tubing. (Note: I paid $1.25 for this at my local hardware store.) Twist the wire to close the circle and then use to secure rope bow.

Use the remaining rope to make a bow. Tie a knot about 6" from each end of rope,either brush liquid rope whipping or apply hot glue under the knot to hold knot and allow to dry. Wrap the rope around the joined section of tubing and make your bow, allowing ends under the knots to fray.

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