Upcycling with Paint

Outdated Tray Tables Get A Rustic Chic Makeover

We have had these tray table for 16 years now, and the style doesn’t necessarily go with the rest of our current decor.  The stained finish is a reddish mahogany color that clashes with the other wood finishes in my home.  My husband and children use them almost every day, so I couldn’t just get rid of them without considerable protest.  I thought of replacing them, but they are still in really good condition.  The only problem is the color, so out came the chalk paint and a little creativity!

I used a sanding block to ruff up the entire tray table and remove the glossy finish.  Then I applied two coats of Rust-oleum Chalk Paint in the color charcoal.  Chalk paint dries really fast, so I only waited approximately twenty to thirty minutes in between coats.  After the final coat of charcoal paint had dried, I decided to paint the top a lighter color called linen white also by Rust-oleum.  

 In our neighborhood, we have a variety of wild life, which became the inspiration for these tray tables. I began to look for monochomatic pictures of different wild life.  I found silhouettes of some of my favorite creatures at http://www.thegraphicsfairy.com   that were perfect for this project. 

The deer I scaled to fit the full size of a standard 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper.  The rabbit I wanted to have more than one image, so I saved the original and duplicated it to make a mirror image. 

 I wanted to use multiple birds, so I printed each one individually, cut them down, and placed them where I wanted on the top of the tray table.

 Now, there are many ways to transfer the image.  You can use Decoupage image transfer medium, make a stencil, or use carbon copy paper just to name a few.  I decided to do a homemade version of carbon copy paper, since I didn’t have any on hand.  All you need is to print out the image.  Then on the back side of the paper, color with pencil along the boarder of the image.

 Next, I flipped the paper back over, so I could see the original black and white copy and traced along the edges.  I used the pencil that I colored the backside of the image with, but you could use a colored pen to make it easier to see the lines you are drawing.  You will want to make sure you use a fair amount of pressure on the pen or pencil when tracing, but not to much that you dent the wood underneath.    

After I completely traced the images, I filled them in with the same charcoal chalk paint that I used to paint the base of the tray table.  I have a pretty steady hand when it comes to painting, but it does not have to be absolutely perfect.  Since I am going for the faded weathered look, I will be sanding to distress the finish, anyways.

When the images were completely dry, I took out my sanding block and gave a light sanding along the edges and over the entire tray top.  Then I used a dry cloth to clean off the powdery dust.  I repeated this process several times until I was satisfied with the look.  There isn’t a right or wrong amount of distressing.  It’s all about what you want.  Also, if you feel you sanded off too much, just had more paint , let it dry, and lightly sand to smooth out the texture.  I find this Rust-oleum brand chalk paint gives a very smooth texture after sanding.  

I repeated these steps for each of the tray tables.  After letting the chalk paint cure for twenty-four hours, I applied three thin coats of a water-based sealer to all three tray tables by Dixie Bell Paint called Gatorhide. This makes it water-resistant and easy to clean without damaging the finish.  Unlike wax sealers, you will not have to re-apply the Gatorhide in order to maintain the finish.  Also, it is completely cured in twenty-four hours.  

Now, my husband is happy to have his tray tables back, and I am happy that they look fabulous!  Let me know what you think about this project by leaving your comments below.


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