Home For Christmas Upcycled Wooden Tray

HOW TO UPCYCLE A THRIFT STORE TRAY INTO A FESTIVE DIY HOME FOR CHRISTMAS OTTOMAN TRAY.

I've had this Goodwill tray in my stash for a few years and contemplated re-donating it a few times. It definitely had seen it's better days and looked to be too much work to give a makeover. Until recently when decorating our home for the holidays and in need of a festive tray for our living room ottoman.

It was the last tray in my thrift store haul so it was either spend money buying a readymade tray or give this $2 one a festive makeover. I chose the latter because I don't call myself the interior frugalista for nothing! Plus I had a brand new Chrismas stencil I bought on clearance that I was itching to give a try.

Upcycled Home For Christmas Wooden Tray

Home For Christmas Upcycled Wooden Tray


I'm so glad I didn't donate the tray because despite looking like a lot of work to beautify, it ended up being rather easy. I'm thrilled with the results and the vintage patina works perfectly with our holiday decor. Talk about a drab to fab makeover!

Upcycled Christmas Ottoman Tray

This is what the tattered tray looked like before. The finish was very worn with lots of scratches and the black quilted vinyl was ripped and loose in some places.

Upcycled Christmas Wooden Tray Before

With a little paint and a fun vintage car Christmas stencil, it was given a brand new life and looks so festive on our living room ottoman.

Upcycled Christmas Wooden Tray After

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Here's how I made it in 7 easy steps

I was dreading removing the tattered vinyl from the tray but it practically fell out with a little help from a retractable utility knife. That made the makeover much quicker than anticipated and very little sanding was required to remove the old glue.

7 Steps To Upcycle A Thrift Store Tray For Christmas

Step 1 - Cleaning and prepping the wooden tray

After the vinyl was removed, a mouse sander was used to remove the old glue and smooth the surface on the base of the tray. Then the tray got a good scrubbing with Simple Green cleaner/degreaser.

Step 2 - Priming the wooden tray

Instead of sanding the wood sides of the tray to give the paint some bite I primed the entire tray with Dixie Belle Paint Company Slick Stick. It not only provides a good base for the glossy finish but also will help prevent paint bleed (where the tannins in the wood cause yellow or pink spots through the paint).

Step 3 - Painting the wooden tray

Using paint that I had on hand, I painted the outside of the tray with Dixie Belle Chalk Finish Paint in Barn Red and the inside with white Behr white chalk decorative paint. Both took two coats to cover the old finish.

Step 4 - Stenciling the tray

Like I mentioned earlier, I was itching to use this vintage car Christmas stencil (not an affiliate link) that I bought last summer. Christmas truck stencils (aff link) are very popular this time of year so I love that the stencil I used is a vintage car.

Starting with the areas on the stencil that I wanted to be painted red, I masked off the adjacent parts so I wouldn't overlap the paint. Some people are stencil swirlers and others pouncers, I pounced the paint with these stencil brushes. Whichever way you choose, the trick is offloading most of the paint from the brush onto a paper towel to avoid paint bleed.

Step 5 - Paint colors for stenciling the tray

I used four acrylic craft paint colors to stencil; Holiday Red for the car and lettering, Burnt Umber for the tree trunk, Black for the tires, both Holiday Green and Kelly Green for the Christmas tree to give it some depth.

Step 6 - Distressing the Christmas tray

Once the paint was dry I distressed the stencil with 220 grit sandpaper to give it a time-worn look. When using the mouse sander on the base of the tray I couldn't get a perfectly smooth finish. When distressing with the sandpaper, wherever there was texture from the residual glue, little white specs were appearing. I panicked at first until deciding they resembled falling snowflakes. Yeah, that's it, big.fluffy.snowflakes, right? 😉

Step 7 - Aging the Christmas tray

The painted tray was looking a little too new and pristine for my tastes so I gave it an aged patina with dark wax. Brushed over the entire tray and the excess wiped off with a lint-free rag. Perfect!

Upcycled Christmas Coffee Table Tray

Can you see in the photo above the white specs...ahem...snowflakes on the car and tree?

I hope I've inspired you to give an old tray you are no longer using a festive makeover for the holidays. Why have a perfectly good tray collecting dust when it could be so pretty and useful again!

I'd be so thankful if you pinned this idea or shared it with a friend. With gratitude! -Marie


Upcycled Wooden Home For Christmas Tray

If you have any questions about this tray makeover, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

One of my favorite things to makeover are thrift store trays and I've done many over the years. You can find them here on my tray makeovers page. Press here for more DIY Christmas decor inspiration.

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.


18 comments

  1. What a gorgeous holiday project, Marie! I love how you aged the tray to give it a much-loved look, truly stunning!

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    1. Thank you so much Cyna & Irena, I'm glad you like it! As soon as I applied the dark wax it immediately took on that vintage look that I love so much and works well with the vintage car stencil.

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  2. LOVE your tray Marie! That stencil is the best--I have one with a truck, but I'm diggin' the antique car:) Fun post--

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    1. Thank you very much, Diana! I know, right! The vintage trucks are abundant this time of year so I was thrilled to find a stencil with a vintage car.

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  3. Marie this is so nice. You did a great job of re loving this tray into a beautiful piece for Christmas. Your tree in the background looks so pretty too. Have a good weekend.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Thank you Kris, I'm so happy with the vintage charm of our new holiday tray. Glad you like our eclectic Christmas tree too. Have a great weekend to you as well and hugs backatcha! xo

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  4. Yup, those are snowflakes for sure ;-) Love how your tray turned out Marie. That little red truck is always a winner at Christmas time.

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    1. Right!!! Thanks Michelle 😊 What I love about this stencil is that instead of a vintage truck it's a vintage station wagon. You don't see those often.

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  5. Your tray is beautiful and festive. I'm so impressed that you can recycle an old tray that was ready for the trash and create a beautiful useful new tray. Way to go!

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    1. Thank you so much, Judee! I'm glad that I was able to finally give the last tray in my thrift store stash a makeover for our home.

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  6. This tray is so cute! I love the trend right now of the red trucks everywhere. Was thinking about adding it to my theme being that the colors are perfect, but didn't get to add any this year. You'll be featured today at this week's Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Link Party (5pm EST).

    Alexandra
    EyeLoveKnots.com

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    1. I know, right, you see the red trucks everywhere, and I love that I found a vintage car stencil instead. Thank you so much for the feature, Alexandra, much appreciated!

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  7. Marie,
    I love your tray and that vintage red truck is adorable. You always create such lovely pieces.
    Congratulations, you are being featured on Over The Moon Linky party. I hope you stop by. https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2019/12/over-moon-linky-party_22.html
    Hugs,
    Bev

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    1. Thank you so much, Bev for featuring the tray! See you at the party 😊

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  8. Good morning, Marie. Happy new year! I’m featuring your post this morning on the TFT party. Thanks so much for joining us and Sharing!
    Theresa.

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    1. Happy New Year, Theresa! Thank you so much for the feature - see you at the party 😀

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I always enjoy hearing from you so please don't be shy! I read and reply to every single comment.