Any time I see a wooden tray in good condition at a thrift store, estate sale or charity shop, I buy it immediately. We use trays ALL the time. They’re lightweight, easy to clean and the handles make using it for multiple serving options totally fantastic. We use this tray so much I leave it on the coffee station for quick access.
Well, a few weeks ago when we were having a low key crab boil along with an easy summer inspired tablescape a makeshift ice bucket was slowly leaking on the tray. I didn’t even realize it until we were cleaning up and I noticed the wood rippling and starting to split.
I really wanted to save the tray so I slowly started taking the wood pieces off the bottom. If you decide to do this at home, you need to make sure you use caution and care. These wood pieces can be unpredictable and fly in all sorts of directions and splinters can happen so make sure you’re using safety googles and everything.
At first, I was able to pick the broken wood pieces off but some of them started to stick so I used a straight edge to help.
Once all of the wood on the bottom of the tray was removed I gave the entire piece a good sanding.
Given we use this tray on so many different surfaces I knew I wanted to keep a mix of light woodgrain and white. I really wanted it to be gray but I’m holding out hope we’ll be painting the kitchen cabinets gray soon. Fingers crossed. The kitchen cabinets are currently maple so I decided to stain the bottom of the tray with a homemade coffee and tea stain.
Coffee grounds help give a bit of age to a diy stain. I knew the coffee grounds would be crazy messy so I placed the tray in a galvanized bucket and then rubbed the grounds all over the bottom of the tray. They dried this way in the sun for about an hour.
While the coffee grounds were drying on the tray I was inside steeping 5 tea bags. Use caution and care as tea will be hot and could cause burns. Once the tea had cooled, I dipped a paint brush into the tea and brushed the tea stain directly onto the tray.
I let the tea stain completely dry in the sun after each application. Once I achieved the color I wanted, I used a brush to remove the coffee grounds. This is the bottom of the tray after approximately 6 stain applications.
With the bottom of the tray in place I decided to white wash the edges. White washing is when you water down white paint, apply the watered paint directly to the piece you’re working on, allow to the paint to sit but not set then wipe the excess paint off with a cloth.
After you’ve achieved the white wash color you’re after, you need to add a waterproof protective top coat like a polyurethane or polycrylic. Sealing the stain is a must because you don’t want the stain to come off on your napkins or other items if/when the bottom of the tray gets wet.
I’m super excited I was able to save this little treasure. This is one of those projects that is relatively easy, budget friendly and can be completed in an afternoon. We’ve already put it to use too…
See you guys back here tomorrow. I’ve been in the kitchen baking moist rise and shine muffins to help make the morning rush so much easier.