Old Tray Makeover

7 Materials
90 Minutes

I transformed this little old tray with a distressed paint finish and a farmhouse style font. This has sweet memories for me from when I was little because it came from my grandparents house. My sister and I used to have so much fun pretend playing that we were running a cafe and we would use this every time. I couldn’t resist keeping it but I also love that I’ve been able to change it so it blends in with my decor now.

This is the before picture of the tray. Due to the finish I didn’t prep the surface other than cleaning, but since I was using chalk paint I had no issues with the paint adhering to the surface. I already had all the material required for this project so there was no cost involved for the transformation.

I applied two coats of chalk paint which gave good coverage.

To distress I used the wet distressing method which worked so well and was so much easier to get a great distressed finish than using sandpaper. I simply got a wet cloth, rubbed the areas that I wanted to remove the paint with the cloth and the finish underneath came through easily.

I printed out the text in my chosen font to apply to the tray.

I transferred the lettering onto the surface by tracing the letters on the reverse side of the paper using a pencil.

I then placed the paper on the tray facing upwards traced over the letters to transfer the pencil to create an outline. 

Using a brown acrylic paint I carefully painted over the outline of the letters. 

Using a sponge I then applied two coats of wax to seal the paint. Once dry I buffed the surface using a lint free cloth.

Over the clear wax I carefully applied dark wax using a sponge. I just used this to highlight detailed areas of the tray but also to create a more aged look over the surface. This followed more buffing using a lint free cloth achieve a smooth finish.

The finished result! I’m so happy with how it turned out.

I also love how versatile it is for adding to decor for every season!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Sue in wy
    Sue in wy
    on Dec 4, 2019

    Wonderful project! What type of material is the original tray? It looks like sterling.....

    • Annie
      on Dec 23, 2019

      It looks bit like an Italian Florentine tray which is made from wood and painted in gold quite a collector's piece could be early 19th century

  • Beth
    on Dec 19, 2019

    Very cute! What font did you use? I love it!

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