Easily transform an old thrift store wood tray into a book page monogrammed tray using old book pages and simple painting and decoupage techniques.
After discussing all the ways to use thrift store trays for organizing, I thought I should try my hand at transforming a tray into something a bit more decorative.
And what better way than using some of the pages I’ve found in used books we just talked about?
Wood trays are a dime a dozen at thrift stores and most of the time are crying out for a facelift. Well, if wood can cry, that is. And if you can hear it.
Ahem, onto the project at hand – how to make a book page tray (oh, and it can be made with or without a monogram – that’s totally up to you).
Book Page Monogrammed Tray
Here’s the tray I started with. This was as “before” as I got with the photos, apparently.
It started out as a basic blond wood tray, except that it is big and well made, heavy and substantial. For these reasons I paid $3.99 for it (the smaller, lighter-weight trays can usually be bought for about $1), knowing with a bit of craftiness it could become something special.
Besides the used wood tray, you’ll need:
- Black spray paint
- Creamy white craft paint
- Tan craft paint (optional)
- Foam paint brushes
- Sanding block
- Old book pages
- Tea bag & paint brush (optional)
- Mod-Podge (or regular glue thinned with water)
- Printed out monogram & scissors
- Clear spray coating
1. Spray paint the tray. As you can see in the photo above, the first thing to do is give it a base coat of black spray paint. Don’t bother spraying the inside because you will be covering it with book pages.
2. Create a layered painted surface (optional). You may want to leave your tray black, but I wanted a more worn looking finish that would bring in black, white and tan to coordinate with the pages and our living room.
After the initial black coat, brush on a coat of creamy white and sand the entire surface to show some of the wood and black layers. This is an experiment-as-you-go project – if you like it, leave it. I didn’t think enough black showed through, so I dry-brushed on a bit more black.
Then white seemed too stark with the vintage looking book pages, so I finished painting the tray by rubbing on some tan acrylic craft paint that I had thinned with water (I used an old rag).
Again, you may or may not want to replicate this – play around with it to get a look you like. It’s only paint!
3. Tea stain the book pages (optional). Make a tea stain by steeping a bag of tea in about 1/4 cup of water. Apply with a large, soft brush to the pages and let dry. (This is optional depending on how new your pages are – if they are already “tea stained” you can skip this.)
4. Trim and cut the pages. Cut the margins off all the pages and then cut the pages in half so you can apply them in different directions.
Why do you need to cut them?
So they don’t look like pages torn out of a book and stuck on a tray, ha.
Plus, I thought someone would try to read them if they were bigger. And believe me, you do not want to read these pages – it’s the reason I didn’t feel bad about tearing the book up. At. All.
5. Glue pages to tray. Use Mod-Podge to glue the pages down, alternating the direction of the words.
I just eyeballed it and tried to make sure the tray looked even – not all the corner pieces in the same direction, etc.
TIP: I find it a lot easier to work with the Mod-Podge if I thin it with a bit of water first.
In fact, the whole time I was using it, I was thinking that it seems just like our craft paper floor technique…and why can’t I just use Elmer’s glue like I do with that? Because that Mod-Podge stuff is ridiculously expensive for basically glue.
I think when I run out of this container, I’m going to try thinned regular glue. (Update: it totally works and is an option for you.)
6. Make optional monogram. After finishing with the book pages, print out a large letter for your monogram, use scissors to cut it out, and then glue it down with a bit more Mod-Podge.
TIP: Choose a font that is big enough and connected everywhere to make the cutting easier.
7. Spray clear coating over tray. When everything is dried on the tray, spray a clear protective coating over the whole thing to protect it from any food or spills.
And that’s it! I’m loving how it turned out and now want to paint, sand, glaze and decoupage anything else I can find. Which I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing soon- ha!
Have you have made over any trays? What have you done – paint? tile? decoupage?
This is day 26 in our series (you can click on the button to see all the posts in the category). If you’re wondering what’s up, you can read the introduction to 31 Days of Thrift Store Transformations here.