Upcycle an old tray using spray paint


If there's one thing I love, it's upcycling* – the pleasure of taking something that's ready to go in the dustbin and making it into something shiny, new and useful. 

And that's exactly what I've done with a grotty old tray I've been using to carry my tea backwards and forwards to the work kitchen for the last seven years. The tray belonged to a couple of chaps I worked with when I first joined the magazine in 2010, and when they left three years ago, it became my prized possession.

Since then I've received quite a lot of flack for using a tray. Turns out, it's not considered 'cool'. But, never one to follow the crowd, I 1) continue to use the tray and 2) secretly laugh as I watch people struggling to carry three cups of tea, a bowl of porridge and two bottles of water in their hands/arms/mouth. Tray-life will catch on soon, I'm sure… 

But, despite loving my tray so much, it was in serious need of some TLC (as you can see from the before picture). So last weekend, I decided to jazz it up using bright copper spray paint and gloss.

It's super easy to do – and now the tea run in the morning is that little bit more joyful. To me, anyway. 

You will need:

An old tray
Masking tape
Copper spray paint (I used Rust-oleum Bright Copper Metallic Spray Paint, 400ml, £9.49, Homebase)
Clear gloss (I used Rust-oleum Polyurethane Gloss Spray Paint in Clear, 400ml, £9.49, Homebase)

First, give the old tray a good wash with soap and water and leave it to dry fully.

Cover any surfaces with dust sheets or newspaper, then begin to mask off the areas of your tray that you DON'T want painted. I chose to do a simple diagonal stripe design, so roughly measured where each stripe would be then covered the rest of the board in masking tape.

When you're happy with your design, give the can of spray paint a good shake, then, holding in 30cm away from the tray, lightly cover the entire tray using a back and forth motion.

It's a good idea to work outside or with lots of windows open because the paint fumes are pretty intense!

Wait a few minutes and then cover it again. After about an hour, when the paint is completely dry to touch, carefully remove the masking tape.

Cover the top of the board with two coats of gloss spray. Then, when that's dry to touch, cover the underside of the tray with gloss too. Leave to fully dry over night, then it's ready to use!

* there are of course many things I love. Like wine. And cake. And sometimes cats. And always Matt. And definitely crafts. And my family and so on and so forth. But for the purpose of today's post, let's say that one thing is UPCYCLING.

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