Breakfast tray to Bed desk?

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:

Bean's tray before

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.

Laptop tray on bed

Laptop tray with bear claw ready to eat on bed yummy

I think it looks great!  Best of all is J loves it.