Nautical Serving Tray DIY

Today I am going to share a quick DIY project that you can do in about an hour including dry time (that is, if your cats don't mess up your first stencil and make you do a few extra coats of paint). I've had this wooden serving tray from Michael's stashed away waiting to be painted for quite some time, but it did not get done until today.

Serving trays can be used all sorts of ways. Organizing clutter on a coffee table or dresser, carrying or corralling drinks, holding mail, and of course, serving breakfast in bed to your favorite person.

I hadn't decided what color I wanted to paint as the base. I had originally thought about doing a navy blue, but I didn't really want to buy more paint than what I already have stashed in the house. Then my mom found an old can of paint from way back in 2004 when they painted our bathroom.

This is a very bright turquoise color. Very bright- not the best for large spaces, but for a small serving tray it's perfect.

I set up my little work space in the dining room and grabbed my supplies. For this project I used a wooden tray from Michael's ($5) that I had stashed in the house. I also used these Martha Stewart paint sponges, which worked perfectly for the stencil and for the bigger areas. The pack came with two sponges for about $8.

I also used some nautical rope (also at Michael's). They had two different sizes, but for this project I went with the smaller size. It was about $5 a pack.

I also needed to use some stencils, but I hadn't decided which design I wanted. I finally settled on this set, which included an anchor, some rope, and a star.

Lastly, I needed a hot glue gun for when I got to the rope portion of the project. This mini one was super cheap when I got it, and the mini glue sticks are about $2 a pack.

I did two base coats of the blue paint from the bathroom. It didn't take more than 10 minutes to dry with the dining room fan on. Now I had to decide where I wanted the stencil. I decided to use the anchor, since I'd already have rope on the tray, and the star didn't really say "nautical" to me.


Definitely not...

Bingo. Time to start patting the stencil with some leftover white paint from the cabinet project from so long ago.


Oops. Just a tad over, but no where near as bad as what the cats did right after I lifted the stencil. I was about to put the lid on the paint can when they ran across the table, bumped into me, and then made white paint drip all over the blue potion of this. I started all over, and then waited for the paint to dry completely before lifting the stencil. I also made sure that I didn't drip any more paint on the fresh coat of blue.

Now came the rope. Originally I had planned to put the rope around the bottom outside edge, but it turned out that bending it around the edges was not really going to work. The rope was a bit too thick, and the edges a bit too square. So I improvised, as the tray was still a bit plain.

First I cut the rope with a pair of poultry shears (I know all of the chefs out there are cringing- but these were bought at the dollar tree. I have a pair in the knife block that are only used as intended). Then I used the hot glue gun to prevent fraying by coating the cut edges of the rope.

I then wrapped each piece around the top inside of the handles. Each piece was a little less than a yard long. I also hot glued the end of each piece to the wood, trying to make sure that all ends were glued on the inside of the tray (one piece was just shy of the length needed to do this). Also noticed some white paint on some of the rope- oops.

Then voila, the final product!

Overall, I'm very happy with how this project turned out. I'm planning on putting either some polyurethane or clear resin over the bottom portion to protect the stencil design, but I have to do a little more research on the coloration changes and everything that each can cause. Plus, I have polyurethane in my stash but not resin. And even a small container of resin costs over $20 at Michael's (yikes)!

Aaron even said that it looked like something "straight out of Target" that I would have bought and brought home. I think that means that this project is a success!

Also, I've created a Facebook page so that you all can stay up to date on new blog posts, thrifty finds, and other home goodies. Like it, share it, and comment at the following link: Chirp Facebook Page


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