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A Thrift Store Tray for All Occasions

I’m on a tray kick.

This is actually due to the fact that I got excited, bought a bunch of thrift store trays back in November but didn’t have time to do anything with them until now.  So, maybe not a tray-kick so much as a tray-delay.

Anyway, up first, this “photo-tray.”thrift-store-tray

I see these in thrift stores a lot (as if everyone suddenly realized that putting drinks down on your loved one’s face wasn’t as awesome as they’d hoped) and I’ve bought a few.  But they can be challenging – once you remove the glass, and matte you have a big gap in the grooves where those things used to go.  I’ve done various work-arounds but it’s always a bit of a hassle.

But I had an idea.

Perhaps a tray for all occasions could be fashioned?

Usually the glass is removable but on this one it wasn’t so, after sanding the wood just a bit (to give the paint something to stick to), I taped it off the glass and gave it a quick coat of spray paint.masked-and-ready-to-paint

While the tray dried, I used the original base as a guide and cut out various sheets of paper, anaglypta and wrapping paper.measure-and-cut

And now, with very little effort,  I have a changeable tray for any pretty much season or occasion.

Easter?easy-tray-makeover-by-cheltenham-road

Check!*

Having the theatre kids over for a snack?thrift-store-tray-makeover-idea-by-cheltenham-road

Check!

Feeling a need to class it up with some Vivaldi and color-coordinated fruit?a-tray-for-all-seasons

Check!

So there you go! I am covered for all occasions – as long as I have appropriate wrapping paper and/or a fair amount of advanced warning.

 

*(I may, or may not have started with Easter to justify the purchase of Peeps. 

I may or may not have subsequently realized I wanted to make smore’s but was out of conventional marshmallows. 

I then may or may not have discovered that lighting Peeps on fire produces a lot of smoke and that torching Peeps makes one feel like kind of a bad person.  

Below is a picture of happier, anticipatory times)bunny-smores

DIY Yardstick Tray with Printables

Tutorial and Free PrintablesSometimes I’m clever.

Sometimes I’m cheap (OK, a lot of the time).

Sometimes those two qualities come together and such was the case with Use What You’ve Got Project #….? (I can’t remember where I am in this series).

So, like many of us, I have, for several years, been digging all the cool stuff people are making using old, vintage yardsticks.

Also, perhaps like many of us, I have been unpleasantly surprised by the current cost of vintage yardsticks.

I mean, I get it, market demand and such but, no, dear antique-mall shop owner, I do not want to pay $10 for a HOME Depot branded yardstick. Or any yardstick really.

So what is cheapo me supposed to do?

Well, I do have a couple of rulers, scrap-wood, a scanner, rudimentary Photoshop skills, Envirotex and a deep desire to (yard) stick it to the man!

Welcome to my faux yardstick tray tutorial!

I started out by scanning two yardsticks and  a ruler I have on hand.   I used Photoshop to change the colors, add and subtract text etc until I had a good number of  “vintage” yardsticks.

So, with print outs of my rulers, a thrift store tray, some scrap MDF and Mod Podge I was off and running.DIY Yardstick Tray Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOf course -because this is the ONLY way the universe works – my tray is 14 inches long and I can only print 13.5 pieces of paper. But I was not to be deterred!

I cut the MDF into 1.5″ wide by 14″ long strips and and sliced and diced the ruler prints so they covered the entire length of each strip.

I left tiny, little gaps between each ruler and darkened that gap with a black sharpie – so it would look like two rulers butted up against each other rather than just one continuous print out.make your own vintage yardsticksAfter they dried I trimmed away the excess and fit them into the tray. It was a pretty snug fit (I actually measured correctly the first time! This is a rare event, similar to seeing a unicorn or discovering that your appliance broke down while still under warranty so let’s take a moment to celebrate) and I just used a little glue on the bottom of the tray for security.  Also the Envirotex is very strong and will hold them in place as well.

Envirotex starts out as a liquid and like any liquid it will find any tiny crack to pour through.  So using a squeeze bottle I squoze (?) a good line of Mod Podge around the edges of the trayYardstick Tray Tutorial by Cheltenham Roadand then sealed the rest.

I did two sealing coats of Mod Podge – if you miss a spot the Envirotex will discolor the paper.Mod Podge Home Decor Ruler Tray Tutorial Cheltenharm RoadAfter giving the Mod Podge overnight to fully dry all that was needed was to pour the Envirotex and let it cure.DIY Yarstick Tray tutorial

I love Envirotex and find it easy  to work with – but you do have to follow their directions very closely.

And there you go.  A “vintage” yardstick tray that doesn’t break the bank.

If you’d like to use my yardsticks you can click on the links below to save 300 dpi versions for yourself.

Free Printables – Colorful Yardsticks by Cheltenham Road

Yardstick Graphic Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road

Enjoy

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