Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Have you ever found a tray on the curbside? Here’s how a rescued tray gets a DIY makeover.

I’ve always been a little jealous of people who find fabulous castoffs on the side of the road. When a neighbor up the street decluttered, it was rescue/restore heaven. I found the perfect project: a rescued tray gets a DIY makeover using decoupage.

I’ve always loved blue and white. Lately, I’ve become gaga over the chinoiserie pattern.

DIY Makeover: Rescued Tray Decoupage

This post contains affiliate links to products used in the completion of this project. If you should order any product from this site, I may receive compensation, but you do not pay a penny more.

Every DIY makeover has an inspiration piece, right?

DIY Makeover Inspiration

A few months ago I found these beautiful blue and white chinoiserie vase patterned napkins online. I ordered them faster than you can say chinoiserie. 

These napkins would be perfect for a chinoiserie project. (These napkins are currently out of stock, but they are from Amazon ~ Boston International IHR Rosanne Beck Collections Cocktail Beverage Paper Napkins, 5″ x 5″, Blue and White Urns.)

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Now all I needed was a decorative accessory that would lend itself to being rescued and restored ~ using decoupage. 

On one of our morning walks in June, a neighbor had set out a ton of stuff for bulk pickup. Sweet Shark walked right on by, but this girl had to stop and explore. 

I found several great items, including this tray. It was in perfect condition, but it was painted black on the bottom and silver on the top and sides. The perfect candidate for a DIY makeover.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Painting My Curbside Tray

My vision did not include silver and black. My vision was white  

The first step was to spray paint the tray with Lacquer Paint in White Perfection from Amy Howard at Home. This paint gives a very smooth and shiny finish.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Adding Blue and White Napkin Design to the Tray

For the decorative part of this rescued tray DIY makeover, I gathered my supplies:

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

When I opened the napkins, I loved the vase design and the blue border. For this project, I would need 2 napkins.

In most decoupage projects, the napkins are either torn or cut into pieces. For this DIY project, I would use 2 napkins laid flat on the tray. This would be a different process.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

The napkins fit the tray top to bottom. From side to side, I would have to adjust the width and the design.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

First, I cut off the horizontal blue border of one napkin so that it wouldn’t show through the top napkin.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Laying one napkin on top of the other, I cut out some of the pattern from the other napkin.

Then I gently removed the back 2 layers of the napkin away, leaving just the front one with the design.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

I poured some of the Mod Podge into a plastic tray.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Next, I applied Mod Podge on one side of the tray with a large chip brush.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Then, I placed the first napkin on the tray, making sure the corners of the napkin fit in the corners of the tray. I tried to get the napkin as straight as possible.

Then also using the chip brush, I brushed more Mod Podge across the top of the napkin.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

As you can see, in a couple of places the napkin tore. I could patch those later.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Next, I brushed Mod Podge on the other side of the tray. Then I laid the top napkin on the tray, trying to line up the pattern as best I could.

Fitting 2 large napkin on the Mod Podge was hard than laying down small pieces of torn or cut pieces.

Maybe I should have cut the center of the napkin into smaller pieces  

You can see how nicely the vase pattern looks on the sides, but it’s not lined up in the center.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

To patch the 2 places where the napkin tore, I cut small pieces of napkin to patch it up and applied with Mod Podge.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover
Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Since I planned to set decorative items on the tray, I used 2 coats of Mod Podge to seal the napkins. Here the tray looks white before the Mod Podge dries.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

After I applied the 2nd sealer coat of Mod Podge, I allowed the tray to dry overnight. In the morning the blue color was bright and clear.

Displaying the Rescued Tray 

The first use for my rescued tray was as “art” on our bookcase. It’s just a tad too small for this area.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover
Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

I really intended the rescued tray for our coffee table.  A simple arrangement without additional pattern was needed.

My ceramic apple and pear along with a blue candle on a cupcake stand were just enough to fill the tray and not cover the chinoiserie decoupage pattern..

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover
Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover
Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

I recently purchased a beautiful chinoiserie~style ginger jar and a pair of candleholders online. I was anxious to use them in a display. 

For this arrangement, I set them on a gold~rimmed cake stand and added a blue candle. The lovely blue and white pattern of the rescued tray speaks for itself.

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover
Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

My impression of this project? I love the blue and white colors and the versatility of the tray for display. I do wish that I had cut the center sections of the napkins into smaller sections so that there would be less overlap of the design.

I’m still happy with the results. Since I already had all the supplies and the tray was free, I can’t complain.

Here are some more decoupage projects:

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover
Rescued Tray Gets DIY Makeover

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30 Comments

  1. I can’t pass up anything blue and white. Where did you find those napkins! They definitely made the tray. Thanks for being in the hop. I love to see all the ideas, since I’m not very crafty myself.

  2. This turned out amazing. Love your color choices and isn’t Mod Podge so great?!!! Thanks for the shout out, you’re so sweet. Looks amazing, great tutorial, thanks for sharing, and wonderful crafting with you friend.

  3. This is a great makeover Carol, and you have to love free! Those napkins are so cute, I love to decoupage, I need to shop my house to find a new project! Enjoy your pretty blue and white tray!

  4. This is so lovely, Carol–now, I am on the lookout for pretty napkins! Pinned and tweeted! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

  5. I love decoupage, too, Carol! Your tray looks exquisite in the lovely chinoiserie design napkins you added! And it looks awesome beside your other pieces! It’s certainly a beautiful addition to your decor!

    1. Thank you, Gail. the more you have, the more you want. More looks better than less when it comes to blue and white.

  6. Hi Carol, I’ve got a thing for mod podge, and pretty paper napkins. Add in a cast-off tray and you’ve got my attention! Love the way it turned out.
    Hugs,
    Rachelle

  7. Beautiful tray, Carol! I always love blue and white and those napkins are perfect. By the way, I’m not one of those people who finds treasures on the side of the road…I wish! Maybe I need to pay more attention! Great to hop with you again!
    Shelley

    1. Shelley, I’ve never been lucky with finding castoffs. With stay~at~home, people in our neighborhood were cleaning out their homes. Lucky me!

  8. I really like your collection of chinoiserie and those napkins made for a great project. I love milk glass and cobalt glass but, as yet, have very little chinoiserie.

  9. That tray is a winner! If you had wanted to remove the napkin that tore and start over, how much trouble would it be? I want to decoupage the top of a silver flatware chest and know I will mess up at some point! Thanks for the tutorial!

  10. There are so many beautiful napkins out there, it’s no wonder they’re so great to craft with. It’s almost a shame to just use them for dinner and toss. Your tray is beautiful!

  11. It looks like decoupage is the word of the day! Interesting because I am starting a decoupage project today myself! I think this turned out lovely and would look perfect in my living room, too! Thanks for hopping with us dear friend!

  12. Carol, I really need to get my hands on some pretty napkins! After seeing the gorgeous results from you and Mary’s crafting projects this month, I’m hooked. I love mod podge but have yet to try it with napkins. Your tray looks fantastic! It’s always fun to hop with you, my friend!

  13. I love your diy project. The tray came out so beautiful. I really love the blue and white. So fun hopping with you. Hope you’re well Sweet Friend.

  14. I love what you did with this tray, and the colors are beautiful! I remember being introduced to Mod Podge at age 10. I created my first DIY, attaching patches of fabric on a Cool Whip container!

    1. Kim, age 10!! That’s awesome to start with DIY at so young an age. And you made use of an item usually discarded.

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