Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turning a Thrifted Frame into a Pretty Little Tray

I am going to tell you how I turned this

Into this:

But first, a story.

I have this coffee table I bought at the same time as my end tables.

In all of her pine-y glory.
Long story short, she got the same treatment as the end tables, minus the glazing since I ran out of a steam the day I did the end tables. Those legs, once painted, seemed daunting to me (I mean, I was working in my garage in 95 degree heat and humidity...yuck!).

I'm filled with indecision about this coffee table because when I initially painted it, I will admit that the weather wasn't ideal for spray painting: a temperature in the low, chilly 50s with a lot of wind. Add in the fact that the wood soaked up the paint differently in some spots, and I wound up with a pretty uneven paint job on the top surface of the table.

Not to mention the fact that I spray painted all of the tables in Rustoleum's Heirloom White when I thought we were getting navy blue sofas, but this was not to be the case and is a story for another day. (Also, pardon me while I CONTAIN MY RAGE).

So, bad paint job + awesome choice in paint color but unfortunate couch circumstances + splotchy paint finish = anxious Brittany with a table that needs some work.

Right now my living room has: white curtains, white couches, white tables. Too much white.

Ah well, you live and you learn, right? 

I'm liking the look of upholstered ottomans in lieu of coffee tables, but our sofas have recliners built-in. I feel like that might be redundant. Or, I might just do it anyway, for aesthetic purposes.

Anyway. I digress. This is actually the story of a squirrel. I know you all want to hear about the squirrel:


A sad, faded woodland creature in a frame with a whole lot of potential. Tray-like potential, if you will.

To distract myself from the terrible finish on the top of my coffee table and my paralysis when it comes to deciding what to do about it, I have been searching the local thrift stores for an actual tray to sit on top of it for weeks now. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and whip one up myself.

You might have seen Martha's tutorial on turning a picture frame into a tray. If you Google enough, you'll find tutorials on plenty of blogs, too.

Mr. Squirrel was $2.99, I picked up the fabric quarter at Joann on sale for a little over $1.00, used Martha Stewart craft paint in Wedding Cake that I already had on hand, and pulled a foam brush from my stash. Not pictured is my cheapo glue gun.

Total for this project: $5.00, give or take.

I took the frame apart.

Not going to lie, tearing off this paper had me a little creeped out.
I mean...what could be hiding under it?

And wiped down the glass and the frame itself. I kept the cardboard backing of the frame and set it aside.

I applied three coats of the craft paint to the frame.

And then distressed it a bit with some sandpaper to let some of the wood peek through.

I also promise I am not trying to subliminally advertise Whole Foods to you.

Then I turned my focus to what was going inside of the frame, so I grabbed my fabric and wrapped it around the existing cardboard backing, used a few dabs of hot glue to secure it, and trimmed the excess away.

Good crafters might iron their fabric before doing this, but I'm a rebel.

A photo from my morning room floor.
Hello, linoleum. I hate you.

Then I carefully reassembled my frame: glass first, then fabric-wrapped cardboard. I left handles off, because I don't really think they're necessary, but I know I could always find a sweet pair and screw them onto each side.

I tacked down a sheet of felt to the back of the frame with a couple of dots of glue to keep it from scratching my table top. You know, in case I decide that I'm okay with being surrounded by a sea of white painted furniture surrounding my white-but-you-were-supposed-to-be-navy couch.

That glass is so clean my naked windows are reflecting pretty nicely in it!
I'm really excited because if I really wanted to (and I'm sure I will), I can easy change out the fabric wrapped cardboard and replace it with a new fabric wrapped onto a new piece of cardboard. Or maybe turn it into a mirror. Or maybe a chalkboard. All I have to do is pull off the felt. So versatile, friends!

I see myself filling this tray with lots of pillar candles (probably of the flameless variety because even though Peyton's pyromania hasn't emerged yet, she does take after her father and I know it's only a matter of time), or filling it with candy corn at Halloween and ornaments at Christmas. So many possibilities.

AAAAAND...this tray can stay put whether or not I repaint or upholster that table into an ottoman. It's like win-win-win over here.

In the meantime, I set some covered in lace and twine I made for the wedding on the tray. I can't bring myself to throw them away, so I have a feeling those jars will be floating around my house until I die.


  1. Love how your tray turned out!!!! Pinned to my beachy board:) I did something similar and made a note board earlier this year. I posted anchor dress to Wow Wed. Stop over:)

    1. Thanks for your kind words and the pin :) A note board is a great idea!

  2. What a great idea, I LOVE how this turned out, so cute! Thanks for linking up to our Crafty Thursday Obsessions linky party!!

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for hosting such a great party and thanks for stopping by! :)


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