Tray Chic!

Betcha think I’ve been lolling around on a chaise, popping bon-bons in my mouth!  Not a chance.  I have been very busy, but by the lack of blog posts, you would never know it. Now that the rain has stopped for a while, my attention is on gardening tasks. My flowers are going bonkers from all of heavenly moisture they have received!

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There are so many half-finished indoor projects, too!  I finally tackled one that has been underway for the last 3 months!  It is the transformation of a large wooden tray that was once attached to a metal table base.  I removed the tray from the table, because its high sides made it impractical to use as an end table.  The base now sports a piece of cement board, and is going to be given a glass tile top, whenever I get a “round tuit”.  ;>}

Before I could start re-working the tray, it became apparent that Bear (who else?) had snacked on its wooden sides, causing the veneer coating to start peeling, not to mention all of the puppy tooth marks implanted in the wood.  Hmmm…stripping the finish on this inexpensive (i.e., cheaply made) piece was not high on my list of things to do, but there were serious craters and gulleys on the surface that needed to be camouflaged. Not to mention that I had tiled the tray bottom, and there was no way to remove it without destroying the piece.

So, I decided to use a low-tech solution involving brown paper bags and homemade Modg-Podge. This technique was successfully used on a previously tacky gold picture frame on the picture below.  The result looks like leather, and I love it!


The process I employed is embarrassingly simple.  It requires only that you tear the brown paper into irregular shapes, and glue (i.e., Modge-Podge) them onto the surface, overlapping as you go.  Warning:  it looks really ugly until it dries.  (I had to stop working on the tray several times, because I couldn’t believe that the end result would be worthwhile!).


Once everything was covered, (including the tile), I had to decide how to finish it. Unlike the picture frame, which received a coat of provincial stain, I decided to just leave it the original “brown paper bag”color.

I also decided that it needed something extra to “class it up”, but didn’t want anything seasonal, since the idea was to use it on the new coffee table, in the living room, year round.  I found some beautiful luncheon napkins online; they had an old-world olive motif, and I decided to go with that look.  Like a dummy, I really did try cutting out the pieces to be decoupaged from a napkin, but that was about as much fun, and productive, as herding cats.  So, I scanned the napkin patterns into my computer, pulled the images into Microsoft Publisher (for sizing and print set-up), and then copied them on my  wonderful new HP color laser printer.

The remainder of the process involved carefully cutting out the pieces of greenery and olives, finding a pleasing arrangement for the motifs on the tray (which turned out to be the most difficult part of the whole project; I’m not sure I entirely succeeded), and decoupaging them in place.


After everything was glued down, I must be honest…It looked like a tray covered in torn brown paper bags with pictures of leaves and olives glued on.  Very disappointing, and not something I wanted to display or take credit for.  :>{

However, the enormous investment in time (not to mention Elmer’s glue!) that went into this debacle made me resolve to see it through to completion.  So, I top-coated the surface with Minwax Polyshades, and…then…a miracle occurred!  My tray went from dime-store trash to family heirloom in less than 15 minutes!

And here is the finished product, perched proudly atop the new coffee table:



What a little “shine” will do!

‘Til next time…


About vkroo

I am passionate about writing, as well as design/DIY/decorating. I decided to combine these skills in a blog, that describes the joys and challenges of transforming a shaggy, baggy elephant of a mountian house into a stunning home.
This entry was posted in decorating on a dime, life with a pup, tchotchkes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tray Chic!

  1. That tray is so cute! Feel free to check out our blog, 🙂


    • vkroo11 says:

      Thanks so much. It was touch and go for awhile, but it worked out in the end. Thanks for your interest in my blog. I’m going to check your spot out right now.


  2. That is so nice! Great idea!!!


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