Easy-Peasy Holiday Gifts: Tray Chic

I’m baaack (with another easy gift tutorial)! Today, I’m going to show you how I transformed some ugly-duckling thrift store metal trays into some fun and exciting gifts.

First of all, I found these (ahem) beauties at a thrift store for $1.50 each. There were 12 trays in a set, but I could only think of 4 people to make trays for… so I got 5. I went home and scrubbed them clean (since they had a little nasty on them…). Then I pulled out one of my favorite craft items; white high-gloss spray paint.

I took 10.7 seconds to spray paint all 5 trays. I let them dry for oh… half an hour, and then went back and sprayed the back of each tray. I like to use spray paint when possible because it makes things look shiny and smooth, you don’t see any brush strokes, and it dries super quickly. Plus, spray paint works on pretty much any material- in this case metal.
Yes, my kitty looooves to help with arts and crafts...
Now that my trays were all dry, I brought them inside and got to work pretty-ing them up. I planned to use craft paper and my number 2 favorite craft item: mod podge!
I measured out a pattern for the inside of the tray, using an old paper bag. Since the edges of my tray were rounded, this was a little trickier than straight edges. 
I'm sorry if you don't have a kitten to check your measurements... in that case, the project may be a bit more difficult for you...
After my pattern (aka paper bag) was cut out, I traced it on the BACK of the craft paper. I tried to keep in mind each person’s color preferences and home decors when choosing the paper…

Then, quite similar to the coaster project, I applied a thin coat of mod podge to the interior of each tray and fit the craft paper in. I made sure to smooth out any air bubbles at this time. Then I waited 20 minutes and painted another coat of mod podge over the top, to seal the paper. I applied 2 more top coats in this manner.

Now the trays are ready for use! While I wouldn’t recommend using them to serve food (I don’t know how safe it is to ingest spray paint or mod podge, plus they might not hold up well to the elements of your dishwasher…), trays can serve many purposes in your home.
You can use them to hold jewelry,

To put some fun votive holders on,

To stack your coasters (that some thoughtful friend made for you after following this tutorial),
To hold your mail,
To serve a little snack,
To carry condiments,
or you could use one on you night table,

The possibilities are quite endless…
I like to think everything looks better sitting on a tray.
For example, take our office tray-

I happen to believe our phone and pencil holder looks so much more fabulous sitting on a tray, then just sitting on the desk, all by themselves. They are like a little tray family… (Okay,  perhaps I'm going a little too far.) However, things look purposeful and connected when placed on a tray.

If you're fresh out of ugly thrift store metal trays, you can follow the exact same steps and use wooden trays instead. (I found this a two-pack of wooden trays at Michael’s last summer for around $2.50…)

So there you go… another cheap and easy craft that you can use as a gift. The next one in our little series involves candy (and no mod podge!) so get excited!!

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