A really fun, quick and cheap project to tackle on a rainy Sunday afternoon is transforming a metal tray with decoupage! With a bit of paint, pretty paper and some mod podge you can give a boring old tray a new life. I think trays are just so useful to have around: whether you use it for carrying things or organizing items (almost anything looks better grouped together neatly), you can never really have too many of these.
Metal trays like this are often pretty easy to find at thrift stores, I picked up this round New Mexico tray for $1.50, not bad!
When using this technique there are so many possibilities. With mod podge (decoupage glue and finish) you can adhere paper, fabric, leaves - almost anything to another material. In this case I chose to work with paper, since it's so easy, however you could just as well use a neat fabric!
I picked up this pretty paper at the craft store with a nice pattern featuring blue, golden and green tones. To create a bit of a contrast at the round edge, I bought some all purpose Martha Stewart paint in a dark blue shade in a satin finish. Apparently you can use this paint on almost any material, so I figured it should adhere fine to the metal.
So, first of all I washed the tray thoroughly to remove any dirt. Then I carefully painted the sides with the blue paint, keeping the back of the tray its original gold finish.
Once the paint was dry, I got some scrap paper and traced out the round shape from the bottom of the tray. I cut this out and checked it so it fit inside well. Then I turned my pretty paper up side down and traced around the scrap paper, then cut the round out carefully.
I checked at first to make sure it fit right. Then I added a liberal amount of the mod podge onto the tray with a brush.
I carefully put down the paper and tried to lay it down flat. Then I applied the mod podge on top of it. Here you can use a brush, however I found it easier to remove any air bubbles with my fingers. I made sure I had a nice, even layer, and then also I painted the sides with the mod podge for extra protection.
I let everything dry and then did another coat for extra durability. And that's that! Now I have a pretty tray ready to carry coffee and toast, or to use for organizing things in the cupboard in the kitchen, or why not to use to keep makeup nice and organized on. So simple, so cheap and what a difference some paint and paper can do!
Tray - $1.50
Paint - $3
Decoupage ($6 for the bottle, let's say cost = $1 since I didn't use much and I will use the remaining Mod Podge for other projects) - $1
Paper - $1.50
From now on I'm keeping an eye out for these basic metal trays everytime I check out a thrift store. This also makes such a nice gift and you can personalize it using photos, maps, or just go for the prettiest paper you can find and a matching paint for the sides!