In contrast to the elaborate quilting project in last week’s post, here’s a deliciously simple craft hack you can make in a day.

I recently bought some beautiful Nina Campbell wallpaper to decorate a panel in our spare bedroom (makeover coming next!).  I had a piece of it leftover that seemed too lovely to waste, so I bought an inexpensive Ikea tray and used the wallpaper as an insert to the base, painted the outside and created a gorgeous oversized tray that’s perfect for breakfast in bed, drinks outside …or anything in between!

Here’s what you’ll need:

A round, square or rectangular tray.  Round trays are arguably slightly harder to work with because you have to measure a circumference and use the tray itself as your template, but I fell in love with the dipped curves of the Skala tray.  It’s huge at 44cm wide, with lovely handles – and very inexpensive, so you don’t have to worry about ruining it.

  • Sanding paper to lightly sand the edges of your tray before painting
  • Eggshell or other wood paint in a colour of your choice
  • A length of wallpaper wide enough to cover the diameter of your tray
  • Adhesive medium or wallpaper paste to apply the paper
  • Varnish to coat your tray to protect it from spills and stains when in use.  I used matt varnish because I like the flat finish.

Start by sanding your tray and then applying two coats of your chosen paint, following manufacturers instructions carefully re drying time.  If you’re using the same tray as me you might have to sand lightly between coats to remove any drips or build up of paint around the handles.

Paint the whole outside of the tray and about an inch into the inside base, making sure the paint is flat when dry, sanding away any bumps or brushstrokes; you want the decoupage surface to be totally even and flat.

Whilst your paint is drying, you can cut out your wallpaper.  You want your paper to fill the inside of the tray with a couple of millimetres distance between the edge of the paper and side of the tray, to avoid it butting up and peeling over time.  To cut mine, I traced around the outside of the tray and then trimmed the circle by 1cm as I cut it to ensure it was fractionally smaller than the tray base (remember to allow for the width of the sides; the inner base will be smaller than the outside measurement).

Then, coat the inside of your tray with adhesive.  I use Golden Matte Medium for all papercrafting and decoupage, but wallpaper paste would work too – just make sure you remove any lumps.

Carefully place the wallpaper insert into the base of your tray and then use a damp cloth or decoupage roller to ensure all bubbles are eased out and the paper is lying completely flat.  Now leave it to dry and resist the urge to touch it or rearrange it!

You’re nearly there!  Once the paper is completely dry, apply 3-4 coats of varnish, applying thinly each time and leaving to dry thoroughly in between coats.  Doing so will mean you can wipe the tray clean repeatedly and not worry about drink or food spills; I wanted this tray to be immune to the hurly-burly of daily life and not something I had to be precious about!

So now you have it; a designer-looking stylish tray from a very inexpensive-but-beautifully-designed starting point.  Do let me know if you give this a whirl and send me a pic of how your project turned out (use the link top right on the home page).

Have a wonderful week, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.