Wandering around markets and antique stores is one of my favourite weekend pastimes. I love the feeling of never knowing what you might stumble across! A couples of months ago we were in Olinda, in the Dandenong Mountains, for an afternoon, which has some amazing antique and curio stores. I saw this ugly tray in a store that sells a mixture of antique bits and pieces and a range of hot sauce (am I the only one who finds this odd?). I suspect that my tray is not that old, as the varnish was in fairly good condition. It was just a bit too orange for me. I bought it with images running through my head of how I could make it pretty! It helped that it was only $15.
After I brought it home, my ugly tray sat in the laundry for several months collecting dust, before I finally set to work on it. The first task was to sand it, and get rid of that awful varnish. Getting in all the grooves was difficult, but I didn’t need to do a super-thorough job, as I planned to paint it.
After sanding it all over, I gave it a few coats of my trusty antique white water based paint. I thought they tray would look great on the kitchen table, so it had to match the colour of the chairs. Once it was painted white, it was like a new tray. It looked beautifully French provincial, and for another few months, I couldn’t bring myself to do anything more to it, as I loved its simplicity.
Eventually though, I decided it would look great with a stencil pattern running down the centre. I googled “flower pattern stencil”, and after trawling through about 1000 pictures, I found the following.
I printed it out on normal paper, and cut out the design with an xacto. A thicker paper would have been better – perhaps cardstock – as by the time I cut all the bits out, the paper was a little mauled, and not quite perfect for stencilling with. Nonetheless, I pressed on, and it turned out quite well. I used some old acrylic paints I have lying around, and my finest paintbrush. It only has about 10 hairs, and was very useful for doing the touching up afterwards.
I finished with a coat of polyurethane to protect the design, and voilà! Now the tray lives on my kitchen table, and makes a brilliant photography prop for other projects (in fact, you may have seen it make an appearance before!). I love the feeling of restoring life to something that is looking a bit tired, and it was a great chance to be creative! Does anyone else share this passion? What are your favourite things you have revamped?