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UWYG Project 4 – Make Rustic Wood Trays from Scrap Wood

Make a tray out of scrap wood tutorial by Cheltenham RoadI have a billion projects going on at once.  It’s great and I thought “oh perfect I’ll be able to post regularly and a often!”  My goal was to do posts on Mon, Wed and Friday.

Happy Friday everyone…….and welcome to my second post of the week -because I think hat having goals is awesome but meeting them is totally over rated.

So you may recall my whole Use What You’ve Got Challenge started when I decided that, rather than trashing this old dresser, I’d see what I could make out of it.  Trash To Treasure Dresser Project Cheltenham Road The first thing I made out of it was a big pile of crap.scrapwood pileSo many possibilities! (including tetanus – man there were a lot of old rusty nails)

I thought the (former) sides of the drawers  might make good trays so I grabbed them and a few lengths of  1/2″ x 1.5″ lattice strips that were leftover from a previous project.Scrap Wood Tray by Cheltenham RoadI sanded and painted the scrap a basic white.*Image Transfer Tray Tutorial by Chelteham Road I decided to make them speak French and after perusing the ever-valuable Graphics Fairy website I had a couple of fun designs and one of my own creation.

Once the paint had thoroughly dried I printed out my reversed graphic and taped it in placeImage Transfer to Wood Tutorial Cheltenham RoadI’ve become a fan of my semi-dangerous Lenk tool – it’s easy to use once you get the hang of it (you can my more detailed Lenk tutorial here) Lenk Tool for Image Transfer  Tray Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadAfter the transfer was done I sanded away around the edges of the piece and sealed the whole thing with a coat of Matt Mod Podge.  French Flower Market Graphic Image transfer to wood tutorial by Cheltenham RoadI’d previously cut and painted the lattice pieces for the edges so now I just  glued and nailed them into place.  I opted for simple butt joints rather than miters.

My intention was to pour a coat of Envirotex Lite on the trays so I needed to really make sure the seal between the base and the sides was solid.  Envirotex is awesome but it will find any tiny gap and pour through it with alarming and messy speed.  I just ran a bead of Mod Podge along the inside edge filling in any voids or gaps.  The Mod Podge will dry totally clear so, once the Envirotex is poured you’ll never see it.Seal the edge with Mod PodgeAlso, because I recently found out that Envirotex won’t stick to basic, transparent tape I ran some along the edges on the bottom just in case I’d missed any gaps with the Mod Podge.Tray Tutorial Cheltenham Road After all the Mod Podge sealing was dry I poured the Envirotex.  Envirotex is easy to work with but only if you follow the manufacturers directions to the letter.

For efficiency I actually made three at once in different colorsFrench Ephemera Scrap Wood Trays TutorialFrench Flower Market Scrap Wood Tray by Cheltenham RoadAnd I used the leftover drawer handles from the dressers for the tray handles.DIY Tray Project from Salvaged Wood by Cheltenham RoadSo that’s Use What You’ve Got project number 3!Image Transfer to DIY Salvaged Wood Trays by Cheltenham Road

*Other thoughts and a Learning Curve:

1) The Lenk tool is great but it does work via heat.   For my first attempt I had under-painted the tray base.  I did a coat of green paint then white paint then sanded away the white so some of the green showed through.  It looked great but the heat from the Lenk tool melted the paint a bit and caused discoloration and a tackiness so I had to sand everything off and start again.

2) My graphics are printed with a laser printer.  I don’t believe the Lenk transfer process will work with an ink-jet.

Knick of Time Inspiration PartyHome Stories tutorials-tips-button

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

17 responses »

  1. Brilliant! Great color choices and your attention to detail makes me so proud of you!

  2. LOVE the trays! Such a great use for scrap wood.

    After your post on the Link heat transfer tool, I had to order one from Amazon! Some of my more detailed signs are just a nightmare to paint, so I’m hoping this new tool will give me some options – and speed up my production rate! I’ve been reading a lot about heat presses for wood, but everything is SO pricey!

    I rarely post, but love your blog. Your designs are out of this world gorgeous! – Dez 😀

    • thanks Dez! Your signs and coasters are great! I hope the lenk tool works for you. It is, admittedly, kind of crude and I’ve had to learn how to work with it but I have been pleased and find it really useful. If you have any questions as you go don’t hesitate to ask.

  3. These turned out beautiful! I have one of those heat transfer tools, but I didn’t have nearly as much success with it. I guess I should locate it, and give it another try!

  4. Jackie @ Refurbished Goods

    Well done! Using what you have forces you to be so much more creative no? Each time you post about your Lenk tool I am tempted to get one. I have done various transfers onto wood and the results are not always successful.

  5. HI there,
    These look great. I have tried using that tool for transfers and had varying success. Often I find that it discolours the paint just slightly so that it is obvious that it is a transfer around the print. Is there any way to avoid this? (Does it feel a little strange that you have someone from New Zealand asking you for DIY advice? I really enjoy all your projects and your great writing by the way.)

    • Hi Ruth. Yes, the world-wideness of the world wide web still kind of amazes me. The Lenk can be tricky I agree. This was the first time I had any paint discoloration myself but it has worked perfectly every other time. I’ve discovered that the paint has to be both very dry (like several days) and well sanded. I wish we had some control over the heat as I think that’s a huge factor. I heat the tool up and then “burn off” a lot of the heat by pressing it on a scrap piece of wood which really seems to do the trick. The key for me is remembering to do it again if I’ve set the tool aside for a bit (like when I’m starting to peel away the paper) and then pick it up again – it has heated back up of course so I have to do the burn off routine… but I tend to forget Don’t know if that will help at all but that’s how I’ve figured out how to do it.

  6. Why do the French get all the pretty trays? 🙂 Those are very nice, and your tutorial is super-easy to follow. I remember someone saying once that the inkjet printer would work, but you’d have to spray the paper with adhesive first, I think. If I find the source, I’ll post it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Awesome trays! Love them!

  8. Wonderful! I always love your creations. Perhaps some paints are not compatible with the high heat (as you mentioned). Like all finishes, etc. one should always try out a little sample with the same wood, paint and tools before trying it on the final project. Can save a lot of disappointment as well as ruined projects. I learned the hard way.

  9. I love these–they are beautiful, and I love the concept of uwyg. Congratulations.

  10. LOVE what you did with that dresser…
    seriously, drawer sides made into great looking trays AND with the drawer handles, awesome repurposing. As always, it’s an extra treat to get the how-to along with your hilariousness!

    (Also love your CR stamp on the photos, way to own it!!! 😘)

  11. Awesome! Love your scrap wood projects and your tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Inspiration Party.

  12. These are fantastic! I’ve never heard of a Lenk tool and now I want one. I love that you were able to repurpose that broken dresser into something beautiful!
    I host a link party called Your Turn To Shine every Thursday. If you ever feel like stopping by and sharing some of your projects I would really love to have you. Hope you’re having a great week!

  13. These are beautiful!! Great job!


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