Serving in style

Update: I put this project and post together about a month ago but now I’m sharing it to the Fall Pinterest Challenge. Sherry (from YHL) and Katie (from Bower Power) challenged their readers to actually do one of the projects they pinned on Pinterest. I didn’t get a chance to participate in their first Pinterest Challenge but now I’m on board and plan to share my projects every time they do this fun little game.

I can mark one more item off my to-do list! For a while now I’ve wanted a serving tray, either for breakfast in bed or just to keep salsa from spilling on the couch. I found some that I really liked at Z Gallerie and West Elm but they were a little plain for my taste. I needed to find one that added a pop of color and design. Enter Pinterest (duh).

I searched for serving trays and kept seeing pins of trays with bright inset patterns and decided that DIY was, as usual, the way to go. Meet my inspiration:

While I love the simple elegance of the bottom photo, the top tray had the winning look: dark wood to match our furniture and a bright inset color. You can find the original posts about customizing with fabric here and stenciling here.

Step one was obviously to find a tray. I stopped by A.C. Moore one day after work to browse through their unfinished wood items and found something better than I had imagined: a tray with collapsible legs! Armed with paint and clear acrylic sealer, I was ready to get to it.

My work station was the shopping bag from A.C. Moore, a paper plate for paint (say that three times fast!), and a paper towel. Nothing but the finest in craft supplies. Two coats on the legs, three on the edges. Since I painted at night, everything had a full 24 hours to dry but you’d probably be safe after two hours. I also moved the legs back and forth while they dried so the paint wouldn’t stick.

I decided to try my steady hand at painting the base without painter’s tape. I had a few minor mishaps with that pretty robin’s egg blue but they were easily fixed with a small detail brush.

The stenciling was the hardest part. First attempt, I had too much paint on my brush and the design looked really gloppy. I wiped the paint off as best I could and covered the base with another coat of blue. Then, wouldn’t you know it, Young House Love posted about stenciling their office and (as usual) they provided me with expert tips. I needed to use a flat stencil brush, which was about $0.99, and lightly dab on the paint. Perfection! Well, almost. There are still a few shaky lines but it’s hard to tell unless you look really close.

Once everything was dry, I covered the whole thing with a two layers of clear acrylic sealer. This tray was under $25 thanks to the half-off coupon I used on the tray (originally $15-ish). I plan on using the paint, brushes, and acrylic spray on other projects so I didn’t mind spending a few bucks there.

Maybe I’ll get to use the pretty tray for breakfast in bed one day soon…*ahem* I’m looking at you, R!

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