Colorful Trays – With a Twist!


I’m finally (almost) done with another painting project. I found these trays at a local store that sells castoffs from estate sales. I call it the junk store. The trays were $1.00 each and that was too good to pass up. After pondering the many ways I could cover the festive leaf motif, I settled on a can of Rust-oleum  Painter’s Touch spraypaint in Winter Grey.



After cleaning the trays, I applied four light coats of paint and could have done a few more coats to get a more even finish, but this project was more about fun than about perfection. It was tricky to keep the paint from pooling in the cracks – a good learning experience for me since spray painting is a relatively new technique in my repertoire.



It was difficult to decide on a method of adornment (so many ideas!), but ultimately  my love of words, typography, and shiny things won out. Using silver adhesive vinyl letters I purchased at Michaels and aided by a ruler, I spelled out a different word on each tray. Each word represents a color that I like and that I have strong positive associations with. I am curious to see if the word choice influences my color perception over time. The trays are all identical shades of grey, but I wonder if the “arctic white” tray will seem lighter than the “cerulean” one or if I will reach more often for the attractive, metallic-sounding “silver”.


The trays received two coats of clear polyurethane applied with a foam brush. I am still debating whether I should go back and give them a light sanding and another coat – I was a bit sloppy with the varnish.

I am looking forward to using these trays to cart my breakfast out to the patio or to use for holding crafting supplies on my lap while I watch tv. Of course trays are always a great option for entertaining – maybe my guests will be intrigued by the color wordplay.


This is another great example of a low-budget project featuring used items ripe for refinishing. There are so many possibilities in objects like this. If you like the shape of something and the function is intact, it is so easy to paint away the things you don’t like, giving old objects a new and more beautiful life.

Cost Breakdown:

  • $4.00 – Trays (used)
  • $4.50 – Spray Paint (bought at Home Depot $4.99 with a 10% off coupon)
  • $4.20 – Vinyl Letters (bought at Michaels $6.99 with a 40% off coupon)
  • on hand – polyurethane + foam brushes

Grand Total: $12.70 at a cost of roughly $3.00 per tray


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