Do It Yourself- Tray Time Warp!

The Find
I happened to come across a previously used tray at a thrift store. It looked very dated. Literally. The date it said on it was 1994, but I saw potential. The tray was made of wood, a pretty standard design; rectangular wood base, and wood sides with built in handles. The sides were painted blue and the base was painted with a design which at one time was very popular and quite nice, in 1994. So naturally, the tray had to be brought up to speed on how trays look in 2011. 

Here it is before the time warp:

The Plan
The plan was to make this tray into something more modern for a housewarming gift for my friend and colleague, Marinelle.  Marinelle and I always talk about projects we have on the go, future projects, house plans (being that she is a new homeowner- Congrats!), and favourite decor items. Being that she is a new homeowner, we spent many hours (and work shifts) talking about her decor scheme which included many earth elements such as natural wood grain and birch trees.  These conversations lead to the idea of refinishing a tray by modernizing it with some black paint and woodgrain. Also after conversations of D.I.Y/refinishing projects, I thought it would be suitable to actually refinish something for her, by myself.

What was Needed
  • 1Tray
  • Sand paper
  • High gloss black paint (if it is being used on surfaces exposed to moisture, find the appropriate paint)
  • Wall Paper (faux wood grain finish)
  • Water for wallpaper application
  • Wall paper glue
  • 1 cutting board (kitchen cutting board or one used for fabric)
  • Exacto knife
  • Scissors
  • Long ruler, if not a meter stick
  • Flat edge/ smoother
  • A handy pencil
The Task
First I had to sand the tray down, yes thats right, the bunnies had to go.  Once the tray was sanded down enough to create a surface where wallpaper could be applied, it was good. Next I painted the sides of the tray a high-gloss black. I waited for it to dry and did another coat and I let it dry for the rest of the day. The next day I had to 'lay' the wallpaper.  This was the hardest part of the whole task because I had a hard time cutting the wall paper to fit the inset of the tray exactly. It only took two times to get it right but it was still a long tedious process. Cutting the paper exactly, and smoothing the the paper over the glue evenly, all before the glue dries and I loose patience.

Done with tools.

The Finished Product


The new, modern tray.

Post time warp... pre-party!

Lessons Learned:
  • Do more small projects. They are fun and it is so easy to get creative with them!
  • Learn how to wallpaper!
Check out what Miss Marinelle is up to... Miss Marinelle

Thanks Marinelle for all your encouragement and motivation.


  1. OMG Lorrie!!! Wow what a transformation!!! That looked like it was soo much work! Great job!!! I bet you can't wait for summer time,,garage sales baby!!


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