Make Her Day With A DIY Decoupage Tray

By Carla Jordan


This Mother's Day (or any day!),  give her something more personal and lasting than a mug or flowers.  Treat her to a DIY decoupage tray made with your own hands.  Designed by Laura Brewer, Studio Primrose owner (and an Olde Century Colors dealer), this tray is fun and easy to create, especially with the help of Olde Century Colors products.

"I really enjoy painting with Olde Century Color milk paints," says Brewer.  "Because they're so heavily pigmented, I'm always amazed at how little paint is needed to achieve the coverage I want for my projects."

Bring your mom or wife breakfast in bed for a stylish start to her day that she'll never forget!


Supplies needed

1 Pint Olde Century Colors Walnut Gel Stain #4004
1 pint Olde Century Colors Moravian White Simulated Milk Paint #3015

2.2 ounce bottle Olde Century Colors Olde Parchment Simulated Milk Paint #3000

1 pint Olde Century Colors Satin #3019C or Matte #3018G water-based Water-Based Varnish

14" x 18" rectangular unfinished wood tray (or make your own from 1/2-inch birch plywood)

1/2"-width unfinished decorative molding:  2 pieces cut 9"-inches long, 2 pieces cut 12"-inches long

Four 1-1/2" diameter wood knobs or balls for tray feet


DAP Strong Stick Instant Grab adhesive

Decoupage glue

Vaseline® petroleum jelly

1-1/2” soft bristle brushes

Squeegee or brayer roller

8-1/2" x 12” sheet of scrapbook paper

220 and 320 grit sandpaper


Shallow bowl of water

Small container for mixing paint


Vintage spoons (or decorative handles)

4 short screws



Laura Brewer,

Laura Brewer,

•Stain plywood with Walnut gel stain. Apply a second coat if desired.  Let dry.

•Lightly sand tray with sandpaper, then wipe off dust with cheesecloth.

•In a small container, mix 8 parts Moravian White simulated milk paint to 1 part Olde Parchment simulated milk paint. Set aside.

•To create a “chipped” or “distressed” look, rub a very small amount of Vaseline on areas of the tray where you want paint to chip/distress away.

•Paint tray on both sides, including feet; and trim. Apply 2-3 coats of paint depending upon look desired, drying thoroughly between coats.

•Lightly sand tray, feet and trim to create distressed edges that let the first layer of paint or stain come through (Laura used both 220 and 320 sandpaper to vary the look).

Laura Brewer,

•Use a ruler to measure and mark the tray with pencil, 3-inches from each edge. Cut the paper to fit.

Laura Brewer,


Place paper on tray to verify that it's measured correctly and the image is centered on the tray; then make a pencil mark at each corner of the paper on tray.

•Dip paper into water (this makes it easier to work with), then lay it face up on paper towels. Dab excess water with a sponge.

Laura Brewer,

•Apply thick, even coat of decoupage paste to back side of paper. Then place paper, pasted side down, on tray surface using pencil marks on tray for placement guidance.

•Use squeegee/brayer roller to adhere paper to tray (this also pushes excess glue/air bubbles from under the paper while creating a nice smooth surface). Wipe any excess paste away from edges and painted surface with a damp piece of cheesecloth.  Let dry.

Laura Brewer,

•To seal surface, apply a coat of the decoupage paste to the top of paper. Let dry.

•Apply a minimum of three coats of varnish (Satin or Matte depending upon desired sheen) to entire surface of tray (front and back); plus ball feet and trim. Let dry.

•Glue trim to surface with Strong Stick Instant Grab adhesive to create a "frame" about the decoupaged image.  Trim should slightly overlap the decoupaged image to hide its edge. Let dry.
•Bend spoons to create a small arch and drill holes into spoons and tray.

Laura Brewer,

•Attach spoons to tray with screws.

Laura Brewer,

Affix wood knobs/balls to underside of tray with Strong Stick Instant Grab adhesive to create "feet."  Let dry.

 Laura Brewer,

This delightful DIY tray also makes a charming wedding, birthday and hostess gift, so make several and have them ready to give whenever a special occasion comes your way.





About the Author

Carla Jordan is a nationally published design, cooking/entertaining and lifestyle writer.  Her work can be found in well-regarded magazines and newspapers; as well as online.  She resides in a Dallas-area home of many colors because she can't resist painting this, that and everything.