During my last Goodwill run, I was getting disappointed that wasn’t finding anything interesting enough to take home with me. Then I found this Bentwood tray hiding underneath some old baskets, and it was priced just $2.99. Perfect!
The surface of the tray had some staining and water damage, but the cut-out handles have such a great mid-century shape that I knew I could find a way to make the tray work. I might have been able to sand down the tray and refinish it, but this Bentwood tray is made from several thin layers of wood that were formed to the tray shape and then stacked and glued. Too much sanding and I might have gone right through the top layer of wood and made a big mess.
While there are some people who would yell at me for painting a vintage tray, they aren’t the ones who found it at Goodwill. So there.
I have tried and loved DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint before using it for this project. It is the same kind of paint that I used to repaint the old dining chair in our living room a pretty blue-green color. For this tray, I deliberately chose colors that would both work in an ombre and that felt like autumn colors. From left to right, the colors are: Timeless, Smitten, Heritage, and Inheritance.
I used painter’s tape to create a geometric pattern all over the tray. I used scraps of tape to space out the stripes, so I didn’t have to do any actual measuring at all. Just be sure to run your finger over all the tape edges before you begin painting, to prevent paint from bleeding under the tape.
I used foam pouncers to apply the chalky finish paint to the tray. Americana Chalky Finish paint doesn’t require any priming or sanding, so it is perfect for a project like this. The paint colors fall into a gradient pattern, but I don’t think they are too cliché ombre.
While the paint was still wet, I carefully removed the painter’s tape and touched up any paint that had bled or splattered where it shouldn’t have. I love the warm colors next to the dark wood tone. I think the colors do look a bit retro, but the triangle stripes make the tray look more modern.
To protect the paint from chipping, I applied a coat of clear Americana Creme Wax. You just wipe it on, let it dry, and then buff it to whatever sheen you like best.
The more you buff, the shinier the wax finish will be. Here I have buffed the half of the tray in the foreground and not the back, so you can see the difference between the two.
The chalky finish paint isn’t food safe, so I won’t serve any food directly on the tray. I think it’s more of a decorative tray than a serving tray anyway.
The tray is an eye catching way to display fall decorations on our dining room table. If you would like to try it out for yourself, Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint is available in Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, A.C. Moore, and other stores. Visit the DecoArt Chalky Finish website for more chalk paint ideas and inspiration.
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