One day last week, I was trolling the clearance section at Target. I had some time to kill and thought I might come away with some cute decorative items for our living room post-nook revamp. Alas, I had no such luck. But I did spot this tray.
$35. I snapped a photo (that wouldn’t upload for some reason, so here’s a web version of the same thing) because I knew I had something just like it at home! Mine is octagonal, not a hexagon, but still! In fact, the tray was on my list of things to get rid of as part of my 30-day challenge, but like my Glorious Amaryllis (which is huge now btw!) it seems this Nate Berkus tray inspired me to save my tray’s life. (I personify my decor… don’t judge.) If you don’t happen to have a random geometric-shaped tray, you can still do this project. Just use a normal tray, draw a hexgon on it and then do the paint detailing inside that! I think that would be pretty too.
Mine, however, was black and sorta yucky. It was from a fruit basket we’d been given. The fruit basket itself was divine. It had crackers and cheese and Covered Bridge Chips! If you aren’t from the Maritimes and have never had Covered Bridge Chips, you must! They are the best indulgence Okay, back to the tray…how did I get so far off track here? I must be hungry.
I dug around in our cupboard of paint and stain items that survived the big freeze of 2014 (ugh) and found some Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut finish. It was unopened. I can’t remember what I bought it for, but I decided to give it a whirl. Slopped it on with a crummy synthetic brush. Let it sit like that for three or so minutes and then wiped it off, following the wood grain, with a clean rag.
I am in love with the results! This product is great! It wasn’t super stinky or anything! But, it is oil based, so if you get it on your hands, you’ll need mineral spirits or turpentine to get it off. I had neither, so I scrubbed until I got through to the next layer of skin. I don’t recommend that.
I let it sit like that while I was at work so the stain would settle and then I went about drawing my Nate design. It took a few tries and mine is obviously not exactly like the inspiration tray, but eventually I got to something resembling it. I traced it with my acrylic white paint using a small-ish brush and then I filled it in with a larger brush.
Two coats later and I decided to sand it down just a wee bit to blend things and soften some of the brush strokes. Of course, I had to add some gold, so I traced the paint with my gold sharpie paint pen. Then, my trusty old Polycrylic Minwax came out. One quick coat of that and 20 minutes later it was dry and gorgeous.
How do you feel about ‘knocking-off’ big designer items? Is it cool to do that? Or is it kind of like stealing a copyright? I’m not sure how I feel about it. Though, I guess imitation is one of the highest forms of flattery.
Quick update on a few other things – I’m into my second week of my 30-day challenge and I have some weird items coming up…so wait for that post… haha. I’m also hoping to press on and finish up the spare room in the next few weeks. I’m assembling materials for another exciting furniture reclaim. I’ve been toiling over how to tackle this one for months and finally, I’ve gathered enough inspiration that I have a sense of where I’d like to go with it. If all goes according to plan, it might be shareable sometime next week!
And one other thing – this coffee table! Doing up this little tray makes me feel like I need to prioritize this terrible table. Any ideas on what to do with it? Stain it? Paint it? Stencil it? Mod Podge it with fabric? I’m stumped. It’s pretty banged up, but I think a makeover could help it for a bit longer.
And of course, the nook. The ex-nook. The newly-planked wall. It’s painted. We are awaiting trim and a mantle. An update on that is also pending.
Take good care… thanks for reading,
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