Paper Potential – Customized Serving Tray

Decorative paper is a great way to convert something boring and bland into something unique and customized.  I found this inexpensive but uninspired serving tray at IKEA.  It functioned just fine but it wasn’t much to look at, so I decided to give it a make-over.  I choose my favourite Katazome-shi and got to work!

For this project I used Katazome-shi 63W, ModPodge, a paint brush, a ruler, an X-Acto knife, a cutting mat and small Phillips-head screwdriver.

Begin by disassembling your tray.  Choose an end and remove all four screws.  You only need to take off one side to slide out the masonite bottom of the tray.  With the bottom board separate, it will be much easier to measure and apply the paper without getting ModPodge all over the sides of the tray.

Once your tray is apart, measure the size of the bottom board.  I measured mine to be 13×20.5 inches.  Use your ruler and X-Acto knife to cut your decorative paper to size.  Always cut on a cutting mat and don’t forget to use the guide lines on your mat to get an accurate 90 degree angle cut.

With your paper ready, it is time to start gluing.  The great thing about ModPodge is that it is an adhesive as well as a top coat.  It may appear opaque to begin with but when applied correctly it will dry completely clear.

Protect your work surface with some scrap paper or newsprint.  ModPodge can get a bit messy!  Start applying the ModPodge in the centre of the backside of your paper.  Brush the podge outward from the middle towards the edges. The best way to be sure it is fully covered without any missed spots is to go right off the edge with your brush.  Don’t worry about making a mess as the scrap paper you laid down first will protect your work surface!  Once the whole area is covered, apply the sticky side of the paper to the tray board.  Smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles gently with your fingers.  The paper should be completley flat against the board and glued down in every area.

Wait for 5-10 minutes for the glue to dry a bit. Only then will it be safe to begin laying on a top coat.  Apply the ModPodge over the top of the decorative paper in the same fashion as before; start in the middle and brush outwards towards the edge.  Apply the podge thinly and quickly–it is best not to labour over the strokes.  ModPodge drys quite fast and interference with partially dry podge can effect the clarity of the finish.  This is the same reason it is best to do several thin coats instead of one thick one.  Thick podge has a hard time drying and sometimes the lower layer of the opaque wet podge can get entombed and refuse to dry clear.

You must wait for the first coat to completely dry before adding a second.  This will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the conditions of your workspace.  Once you can no longer see any milky strokes, it is time for the next coat.  Repeat the process for at least 4-5 coats.  The more coats you apply, the more durable and glossy your tray will become.  After your final coat has dried fully, reassemble your tray.  It is wise to let your tray cure for 48 hours before use in order to ensure that any moisture will not reactivate the ModPodge.  After that, put your lovely decorative tray to use!

Take something average and make it make it your own.  Instead of using just one paper, you could even create a collage of all your complimentary favourites.  There is so much potential in any artistic situation when you just add paper!

…and now, it’s tea-time!



5 Responses to “Paper Potential – Customized Serving Tray”

  1. […] Customized serving tray at The Paper Place […]

  2. Andrea says:

    Great tutorial! I have been thinking of decoupauging my boring tea tray and am glad I found your tutorial. I didn’t think to take the tray apart, but that makes a whole lot more sense than trying to decoupage the tray without messing up the sides.

  3. I love the pattern you chose! This is definitely a project on my to-do list! :)

  4. Faith says:

    This is the bees-knees! I wonder, how archival is mod podge…?


Leave a Reply