Wednesday, October 5

Day 5 - Tray Makeover

Welcome back! Today we are going to do a super quick & easy (and cheap!) project to make the most of the valuable space on the coffee table. 

Our coffee table is pretty much the central hub of our house. It's where we drop things when we come in, where we play games, where we eat (I know, we're bad), and where we put our feet when we kick back & read a book. We built the coffee table last year when we were renting a house and it has served us well ever since (this pic is actually from our old house, I need to get some living room pics of the new place). Since the table is used for so many things, its space is at a premium.

Way back at the beginning of summer I picked up this tray at a yard sale. I had been on the lookout for something like this to corral remotes and such on the coffee table, and when I got this little guy for $0.50 I knew he would be perfect for the job. I also knew he would need a makeover because that rose pattern just wasn't doing anything for me. I like the color of the sides of the tray, so I only had to address the bottom.

I considered using paper or fabric to line the bottom. The tray was wide enough that I would need 2 pieces of paper and have a seam between the pages, so I decided to go with fabric for a more uniform look. I started by making a template of the tray bottom.. I used sheets of paper taped together and folded it to the right size.

Then I used that template to cut out a square from a piece of scrap fabric that went well with the tray color. I couldn't find my fabric scissors so I hacked at it with regular scissors until I finally had decent edges. I would not recommend this approach. Unless you lose your fabric scissors. Then all bets are off.

I applied a thin coat of modpodge to the bottom of the tray.

Next laid in the fabric, smoothing out any bubbles (which was harder than I expected it to be).
Then I let it dry.

Once it was dry, I put another thin coat of modpodge over the fabric to seal it, then let it dry again.

After it dried, the modpodge was really rough so I ran over it with a fine sandpaper to get it nice and smooth.

And that was  it. I'm really happy with how it turned out, and how easy it was! Now I know right where the remotes and coasters are. No more fishing around for them! And it instantly looks tidier than having them spread all around.

Project Cost:
$0.50 - tray from a yard sale
$0 - fabric (leftover from pillow cases)
$0 - Modpodge (leftover from college)
Total - $0.50

Here it is on the shelf of the coffee table.

The only thing I would do differently next time is start with a layer of white fabric before using my patterned fabric. The original design of the tray barely shows through my fabric, and I think a layer of white fabric would have prevented that. But hey, we learn as we go, and I think this went pretty well for a first time. :)

So how about you? What is the most used surface in your home? And how do you make the most of that space?

**One last piece of business - the winner of the red bag giveaway was Auntie J! Congrats, Auntie J, and thanks to all who entered!


  1. Looks great! I love trays and use them all over the house. Have only painted them so far, but your fabric lined tray is inspiring me to do something different next time.

  2. Our most used space is a fabric covered Ikea ottoman. I bought it large so we could use it for a coffee table - but it's still not large enough since we usually have laptops on it, too.

    I really like your fabric idea. i keep hearing the wonders of Modge Podge - but so far all I've done with it is make Epsom Salt candles for gifts.

    1. Dana... Hw do you make Epsom salt candlestick?!?!