The television tray is a charmingly outdated invention, but it still appeals to me. Ironically, the last thing I want to do with this tray is use it for its main purpose, which is dining. Don’t get me wrong, I can rival any fifties family when it comes to eating meals in front of the television. I prefer to hold my plate — usually heaped with pizza or a burrito — in my lap. I also slouch and slurp my drinks. I’m your basic etiquette nightmare.
I would love to own a set of these folding trays for other uses, especially if they were as beautiful as Ashley’s version. Ashley’s instructions are super easy to follow, and I love her choice of color pallete and graphic floral design. This tray table would make a cute foldaway surface for writing and crafting, or would look great as a side table for stashing your keys and mail. Personally, I would love to use it for serving cocktails or hors d’oeuvres at a party. You get to show it off as you mingle and carry around drinks, and you have the perfect place to set it down when you need to freshen up. Now that’s good fifties etiquette. — Kate
CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!
I have always liked the mix of vintage and modern. There are many modern replications of vintage items, but I find it especially fun to give something old a new life. Recently, I spotted a metal tray on my neighbor’s front porch, destined for the trash. It is now a quaint little “desk” for schoolwork in our living room. These types of trays and TV stands can be found in flea markets, garage sales, estate sales and thrift shops. Here are some simple steps for using a paper stencil to give your metal trays a makeover. Enjoy! — Ashley
- old tray and stand
- sandpaper (fine grit)
- rust primer spray paint (available at hardware stores)
- patterned paper
- x-acto knife and sharp blade
- re-positionable adhesive
- colored spray paint (you need a color for the base and one for the pattern design)
- scrap paper and cardboard
Step 1: Clean the tray thoroughly. Using a fine sandpaper or sanding brick, lightly sand the entire surface, removing all loose paint and rust. Using painter’s tape, cover any areas that you do not want painted.
Step 2: Spray with a rust primer.
Step 3: Spray with spray paint, following the manufacturer’s recommended dry times and recoat times. This step usually needs to take place within an hour of when the primer was put on.
Step 4: Create your paper stencil. I choose to use a scrapbooking paper with a floral design. Using an x-acto knife, I cut out each section to create my stencil.
Step 5: Apply re-positionable adhesive to the back of your paper stencil and press firmly down on the tray. Make sure each area is firmly adhered.
Step 6: Cover all areas of the tray that you do not want painted with the second color. Once you have covered the stencil area with spray paint, remove the paper, tape and stencil by gently pulling it up.
Enjoy your new tray!