Here are some interesting ways to update a useful tool in every household - the serving tray!
(Looking for Chris' Cut Light? Click here!)
A. Picture This Tray
1. Start with a traditional looking picture frame - paint if necessary
2. Drill holes and add handles
3. Add in a piece of decorative paper or fabric
4. Apply a coordinating wall tattoo onto the inside of the glass
6. Run a really good bead of glue around the back of the frame to secure
7. Add felt or rubber corners
8. Add an additional piece of wood to the back of the frame if you want to carry heavy items on it (optional)
2 Handles from hardware store
Fabric or wallpaper cut to size x2
Felt furniture gliders
Construction adhesive (optional)
* This is a nice way to reuse an old frame even if you don't have any art to put in it
* This is a lovely tray for your coffee table or ottoman.
* We're using an ordinary wood frame for this project. You'll want to make sure that it has a good flat surface for attaching the handles.
* We drilled a couple of holes through the frame. This is to accommodate the handles that we picked up at the hardware store.
* Attach the handles to the frame. You may find that you want to use a flat-topped screw instead of the screws that come with the handles. It depends on whether the frame will sit flat with the screws that come with the handles or not. The Hardware store will be able to help you find what you need.
* Now you can take some leftover wallpaper or even pick up a really great sheet of wrapping paper at the art store and cut it to fit the frame. You can just attach that to the backing of the frame with a little double sided tape. You could stop there if you like. But if you're feeling extra adventurous, and you know that you are, you're going to add a vinyl graphic to the inside of the glass.
* Wall decals are everywhere these days - even the big box hardware stores have a selection of them. They're meant for walls, but they'll stick to just about anything.
* We placed our decal on the inside surface so we would have a smooth surface on top of our tray. This only works with decals that are the same colour on both sides. If you have a decal that has an image printed on one side, you'll have to apply it to the top surface of the glass.
* Begin by placing the decal over the glass so you have an idea of where it will go. Then remove the backing paper and place one end of the decal on the glass. You're going to work from one side towards the other. Use a plastic putty knife to help smooth the decal onto the glass, gradually lowering the decal until the whole decal has been placed onto the glass.
* Go over the whole decal with the putty knife to fully adhere the decal and make it easier to remove the release vinyl from the front. Peel back the release vinyl and admire your beautiful work!
* If you have any tiny air bubbles under your decal, you can poke them with a pin and give them a little rub and the bubble will work itself out.
* Now you're ready to reassemble the frame. Just make sure you clean the glass before you close it up.
* Once it's closed, you can give it a good bead of a heavy duty adhesive all around the edge- especially if you have one of those frames that just have the little metal tabs to hold in the photos. This way, it'll be sturdy enough to hold anything if you want to use the tray for carrying things.
* If you're placing it on a surface you'd like to protect, you can add some felt furniture feet to the corners.
Paper: The Paper Place
Pattern: Chiyogami 086
B. Stained Bamboo Tray
1. Start with a store bought wood tray
2. Get or make a stencil of a tropical plant
3. Adhere stencil to the tray using a little repositionable spray glue
4. Remove stencil and rub away any adhesive the may have been left behind
5. Blot and gently pounce on gel stain
6. Remove stencil
7. When dry, seal and stain
Bamboo Tray x2
Foam brush and paper towel for pouncing
Varnish to seal
* Here's a way to personalize an inexpensive tray and make it look like a high end wood inlay tray.
* We've taken a store bought bamboo tray - you can definitely use any kind of wood tray for this though.
* We've printed off the image I want to use for the stencil. If you're using your home printer, you can either print it onto transparencies if you have them, or onto cardstock (that's heavier than regular paper). Otherwise, just take a printout to the copy shop and have the kid behind the counter do it for you.
* Now we're going to use our sharp artist's knife and cut out the stencil.
* Now you're going to take your stencil and spray it with a little spray glue. Don't be too heavy-handed with the glue or you'll find yourself picking off the stencil piece by piece when you try to remove it.
* Place it onto the tray. Give it a good rub so the edges stay down when you're staining.
* We used gel stain for this project. It's perfect for this because it isn't as runny as regular stain and it still gives you that translucent colour change.
* Now you're going to take some gel stain on a foam brush - you can use any colour you like - or even regular paint for that matter.
* Load up your brush and then blot it off onto a paper towel. We're blotting because you don't want too much paint on the brush as it might seep under the edges of the stencil. You want it to be almost dry.
* Now you'll tap it into the stencil and let it set up for about 3 minutes. Then you can give it a dab with a soft cloth or a dry piece of foam to remove any of the brush strokes. Then you let it dry for a few hours.
* If you want a richer colour, you can go back over it with another coat.
* When it's set, you lift off the stencil and there you have it - a perfectly stenciled tray.
* If you have any residue from the spray glue left on the tray, be sure to remove it (you can usually just rub it off - but if it's particularly stubborn, you can get a Rubber Cement lifter (it's a crepe rubber eraser) from the Art Store.
* Now you need to seal in the stain. You can use a clear coat of varnish - you need very little to cover a try like we did. You can also use a stain varnish if you like.
* We made our own stain varnish so we could have a slightly softer contrast between the stencil and the tray. We started with about 2 tablespoons of gel stain. Put it into a paper cup and "loosen it" a bit with a disposable stir stick to get out the lumps. Slowly add in some clear varnish, stirring as you add until you have about 3 parts varnish to one part gel stain.
* Then we covered the whole tray to seal in the stencil really well. You can do a couple of coats with the varnish - better to do a couple of light coats than one thick one. We used a foam brush to apply the varnish. Avoid getting any bubbles into the finish.
* And you'll end up with this beautiful tray which also looks great on a mantel or a sideboard as a decorative accent
C. Saving Slip-Ups
1. Select a plastic tray to line
2. Cover in vinyl shelf lining
3. Apply strips of rubber shelf lining with adhesive
4. Let dry
Lucite or plastic tray
Vinyl shelf lining cut to size
Squeegee or putty knife
non-slip rubber shelf lining
* This is a great solution for the age-old problem of the slippery tray. You know, those plastic trays where the martinis slide around while you're trying to get out to the patio?
* We used a simple plastic tray. You probably have something like this for your summer outdoor entertaining.
* We've used some fantastic brushed steel vinyl shelf lining. You can pick this up at the hardware store or even some of the larger grocery stores.
* We've cut a piece to the size of the inside of the tray and we're going to apply it. Peel off the backing paper and start on one edge by lining it up and then letting it fall gently into position with the help of a scraper.
* If you get any little air bubbles under the vinyl, you can use a needle to poke a tiny hole in the vinyl and then give it a little rub and no one will ever know.
* Now we're going to make it slip-proof. We've cut some strips of non-slip rubber shelf lining. It'll be right next to the vinyl shelf liner in the store.
* We're doing a kind of a tiled look here. I've taken the strips and applied some extra strong glue to the back. Then I just laid them onto the tray. Now put a couple of heavy books on this and let it dry overnight.
* The trick here is to cover enough of the tray so that nothing will fall off an edge.
* When you're done, you'll have a tray that looks very chic. Perfect for cocktails - and they won't go crashing to the floor on your way to the back deck!
And now you're on your way to becoming tray chic! It's just that easy.