Up-cycled Serving Tray

Up-cycled Serving Tray

upcycled serving trayOne of the ways I love to relax is to sit in bed and either read a book or watch tv.  It feels a little like going to a hotel but I'm at home.  I'll often have a drink or snack, just like I would at a hotel.  The problem is I'm not the most coordinated and I tend to get crumbs all over the place so I came up with this idea of using a tray.  Whenever possible I prefer to up-cycle or reuse.  I'm also not a big fan of having the exact same thing as everyone else so I set out to find a tray I could refinish.  

I found a tray at one of the local thrift shops.  It wasn't pretty but it's functional so that was perfect!  I think it was only $3 so even better! 

The other great thing about this project is that it doesn't require any sewing so if you don't have a sewing machine or can't sew this is simple little project.


In case you're wondering, here is the list of supplies for this project:

  • Thrift store tray
  • Mod Podge (Waterproof variety)
  • Paint brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Fabric (I used recycled fabric from a skirt)
  • Scissors
  • White paint (I used baseboard paint since that's what I have on hand)
  • Exacto knife (optional)

The first thing I did was I sanded the tray.  It had a shiny finish and I find the paint sticks better if you sand it first.

Once the tray was sanded I wiped it down to get rid of the dust and then started painting.  Don't worry about going into the middle of the tray since that will be covered.  I even painted the bottom.  

It took 4 coats of paint before it covered enough. I let the tray dry for 24 hours before going on to the next step.

The next part was a little more difficult since I can be a little indecisive.  There were a few fabrics to choose from but I ended up going with the beautiful orange fabric.  You don't need to use fabric.  You could use paper instead but I use what I have on hand.

I place my tray over top the fabric and traced around it making it slightly larger than my tray.

After tracing the fabric I cut it out and then placed it inside the tray to see what it looked like.  

Next, I removed the fabric and coated the inside of the tray with Modge Podge and then placed the fabric back.  To smooth it out I used my hands but if you don't like the mess you could use stiff cardboard and or a ruler.

The fabric stretched a little over the sides but thats ok because I'll just cut away the excess once it's dry.


Now that the fabric is in place I covered it with a coat of Mod Podge to seal it.  The Mod Podge goes on white but dries clear.  And now I wait.  This variety  if Mod Podge takes 24 hours to dry.

After the Mod Podge was almost dry I realized I should have painted the inside of the tray as the colour showed through so I pulled the fabric off.

I then painted the inside of the tray and then reapplied the fabric first adding a coating of Modge Podge, the fabric, and then another coat of Modge Podge.

Now that the tray is dry I used my exacto knife to cut away the excess fabric.

And that's it!  The edges of the fabric aren't perfect but I love it!

I also made a photo frame using the same technique, the only differences is that I didn't paint the frame and I used overlapping fabrics. I think it's the perfect frame for a photo of my kids when they were much younger.

photo frame from recycled saris

1 comment

It’s good that you showed us the difference between painting the inside of the tray and not! I wouldn’t have expected that to show through as clearly, myself. It’s lucky that you were able to pull the modge-podged fabric off without ruining it!


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