Custom tray DIY

I was excited to finish this little project last week because it was for a gift for my good friend Laura. We've been working for a while on her bonus room in her new house that has an office and tv space, and I wanted to prepare a housewarming gift that took some of the elements from the room. Because we planned to upholster an ottoman coffee table in a blue floral, I used this fabric (which also appears covering some bulletin boards) to cover a tray to use for corralling remotes, snacks, etc. I just used a remnant! And I loved how it turned out so much that I bought two more trays to make one for myself and another lucky friend (yet to be determined!).

I bought the tray at Michael's Craft Store - they also have them at Joann's - in the little raw wood craft project section. They have things like plaques, letters, boxes, and little paints you can use to decorate them with. Because the tray is unfinished (and very lightweight), it was $7. Yes, SEVEN dollars.

I used a fine grit sandpaper to smooth down any splinters before applying a dark wood stain (just followed the stain directions). Took about 20 minutes, then I let it dry for two days.

I toyed with the idea of photocopying the fabric and using a print-out, but I finally opted to try using the fabric directly, and I'm so glad I did. The color is wonderfully rich. I ironed the fabric and cut it to size (see my note below) and applied using Mod Podge with a small foam brush (also from the craft store).  I applied the glue to the underside of the fabric AND to the wood of the tray before placing them together and smoothing out any bubbles. I did this in about 3 inch strips along the shorter edge.

Here's the thing (Laura, now you know...) it was REALLY hard to cut the fabric just right, and then to my chagrin, the glue did cause the fabric to shrink ever so slightly. Annoying. Next time I'll try cutting it close to size, gluing it down, and then trimming to get tight into the corners and edges using a rotary cutter. Play around with it.

After the glue dried and the fabric is attached, I applied a thin layer of Mod Podge OVER the fabric to protect it. Do this very thinly, and be sure to smooth out any bubbles or thick areas of glue. The glue won't show unless it's too thick. Otherwise it will dry clear.

Here you can see where the fabric shrunk up, along the bottom edge... (Sorry Laura!)

It's a really simple and easy project, and I felt so accomplished after finishing it. Picking a vibrant color really helped too. And staining the tray isn't the only option. Spray painting it any color would also look great.

I can't wait to tackle this again! It's so affordable (especially because it just uses a scrap of fabric and a $7 tray!) and provides chic and pretty results. Can't beat that!