Thrift Store Serving Tray Make-over

7 Materials
90 Minutes

Last year I came across a $4 serving tray at a thrift store and it dawned on me that my 10 year old has never experienced breakfast in bed! So I brought it home, cleaned it up, and surprised her with breakfast in bed the following morning. She was delighted! 😊 After breakfast, I put the tray out in the garage and it’s been sitting there ever since.

I was looking for something to use as a laptop tray and this serving tray seemed like the logical choice. My daughter had expressed interest in working on a project together, so I thought this piece would be perfect. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but then I remembered I had received an epoxy resin kit awhile back. I had planned on making coasters or jewelry with my daughter, but because we didn’t have any silicone molds, that sat in storage for many months as well. So I decided we would use this for our make-over. 

The first thing we did was paint out the top of the serving tray white, to fade out the mac tac flowers. The cheapest white I had on hand was primer, so we used that.  Once it was dry I gave it a quick spray with satin clear to help prevent the paint from scratching while we were doing the other steps.

Coat of white

We decided to attempt a beach/ocean theme. Because we only had a very small amount of epoxy resin (8 oz) we painted over the white, in the same colours we were planning to use in the epoxy. I used unicorn spit for the two shades of blue and a gold paint for the sand. We poured the three colours on the surface.  

Background colours

We used a chip brush to spread out the gold. For the spit, I sprayed them with distilled water and used my hand to smear the colours from side to side. We used a paper towel to remove as much of the stain and paint from the frame as possible, before it dried on.

Spit smear

Once that was dry we mixed the epoxy resin together and separated into four cups. Then we added the powdered tints for the colours we wanted.  

Epoxy colours

We poured the three colours over top of the matching paint colour and used the stir sticks to spread it out to the edges.


Then we added a few lines of white and tried to blend them in using a heat gun. It started smoking immediately! I think because we had such a small amount of epoxy resin. So we switched to a hair-dryer, using the cool setting. This worked much better.  

The last step was to paint the frame. My daughter lost interest at this point – so I did the final step without her. LOL I gave it a light sanding and painted it dark blue.  

Blue frame

And while we didn’t quite nail the ocean/beach we were after, we still love the way it turned out! And even more special because we made it together.  

So glossy!

And when I’m not using it, I just fold the legs up and lean it up against the wall to double as art. 😊  

I didn’t spend anything on this make-over, so I based my make-over cost on the average cost of the materials used. It's amazing what you can do with supplies you may already have!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Linda Hunt
    Linda Hunt
    on Sep 24, 2020

    Well that is grand! What a lovely way to gift it to your daughter too as she will never forget that morning. Now, please allow me to be rude and ask where did you find the lamp??? It is speaking to me very strongly. lol. Regards, Linda

    • Valerie Burge
      Valerie Burge
      on Sep 24, 2020

      I'm glad you found the answer on my projects page! :). I love auctions and thrift stores. Lol

Join the conversation

4 of 34 comments
  • Sue
    on Sep 26, 2020

    I had bought 2 of them for eating meals at the tv and the legs were annoying. I had put them away and really can't recall what all else we didn't like but hubby especially didn't like them so when the VETS pickup was coming around I donated them. I know they will go to someone who will make good use of them maybe even someone who sees your beautiful tray and do something like that themselves. Mine had thin wood for the plates to sit on not like yours but the frames and legs were good solid wood. I just didn't have a use for them. I have to get rid of things!

    • Valerie Burge
      Valerie Burge
      on Sep 26, 2020

      Great you donated them. I know people with back problems seem to like this style. I'm sure they will be appreciated. :)

  • Nancy
    on Sep 26, 2020

    I'm afraid that I have to disagree with you, I think you did 'nail it' with your design! Great job! Inspirational!

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