A tray was top on J’s (#1) list. Right away I thought of a breakfast tray I had in the garage. It was given to us and was in good shape. Here’s a picture of the tray with the legs folded under the tray:
I knew with a little work it could look great. Some of the nails had come loose so first I fixed those and applied a little wood glue to the corners, clamped the whole thing together and left it to dry overnight. After removing the clamps, I used my Dremel to distress the wood by running a bit over it to produce some gashes and grooves.
I mostly used the round sanding head on the Dremel and just went to town. Once I liked the way things looked, I sanded everything lightly with 220 grit paper. Next, I applied stain. I could have first used pre-conditioner but I was out. For this project it worked out skipping this step. I didn’t want an even stain, I wanted the wood to look old.
I used four to five coats of Minwax Special Walnut. The last two coats were applied to just a few areas and wiped off right away. After letting everything dry for two full days, I brushed on two light coats of water-based poly to seal everything.
Once the tray had fully gassed off, I brought it inside. The white top was in decent shape but I had something more fun in mind. Lowes sells and cuts plexiglass. For $10 I bought a sheet and had them cut it to size. I had bought this beautiful paper at World Market in Denver back in 2011! (#hoarder) I thought it would be perfect for this project. I trimmed the paper to fit just inside the tray beneath the clear plexiglass. I didn’t want to attach it permanently just in case we decide to change things out down the road.
I think it looks great! Best of all is J loves it.