Project #9: Painted Tray


So, I like to think this is the perfect tray for breakfast in bed after a Spartan victory.  Not that I ever make breakfast in bed… in fact, the Sunday after a college football game, it is unlikely I’m awake before lunch time.  Anyway, this is a super cheap project.  If you already have craft paint, the whole thing is less than $5.  If you have to buy the paint, it’ll be more like $8.

Supplies: This is pretty basic stuff… you need a wooden tray (available at pretty much any craft store – take your pick.  I got this one at Hobby Lobby for like 3 bucks), paint, the crackle medium (see photo below), and varnish.  You’ll also want a couple of cheapo foam paint brushes.  I used a nicer brush to freehand the Spartan head… but if you’re more of a stencil person, the cheapo foam brushes will be good.

Start by painting the the entire tray in the color you want to show through the cracks in the paint.  I chose white.  This needs a heavy coat, possibly two coats.  Let it dry completely (as you can see – it’s still wet in the photo.  I took the photo as I was painting, but let it dry overnight.)

Next, apply the crackle medium.  Here’s a photo of it and one of how it goes on clear:

It is important that you do not let the crackle medium dry completely.  You need to move to the next step when the crackle medium is still tacky – the bottle this says should be about 15-40 minutes.  Then, you paint your contrast color on (here, green.)  The crackles will start to appear in just a few minutes, and will follow the direction of your brush strokes.  The “painting green” photo on the left below is a bit blurry – I had to try and take it with my left hand while painting with my right – it didn’t go well.  As you can see in the photo on the right, the cracks start to appear pretty much right away (the paint is still wet.)

Now, it’s time for the extra special decor! Wait until the green coat dries and add a little flair.  I did the Spartan head freehand.  If you are not artsy, or not feeling brave, you can make yourself a stencil with your printer, cardstock, and an exacto knife.  I won’t say this Spartan head is the greatest work of art ever, but I’m generally happy with how it turned out.

Finally, slap a little varnish on it to seal in all the paint.  I used inexpensive satin varnish that is the same brand as the craft acrylic paint.  Follow the instructions on the bottle to apply.  The varnish might look a little cloudy when you apply it (notice the grayish look on the foam brush.)  I did two coats.  Be sure to allow the varnish to dry completely before using your tray (duh.)

Last but not least, GO GREEN!



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