How to Paint a Wooden Tray

Written by diana prince
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How to Paint a Wooden Tray
Paint a wooden tray in a solid colour or with a decorative pattern. (paint brushes image by Bionic Media from

Wooden trays are items commonly found in the home, often used for carrying tea or holding items for display. A hand-painted wooden tray can make for an interesting focal piece in your home or as a lovely gift idea. You can paint a wooden tray any colour you want, and the process can be fairly simple as long as you have the proper supplies.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Concentrated wood cleaner
  • Rag
  • All-purpose acrylic sealer
  • Acrylic paint set
  • 1 cup clear epoxy paint
  • Paintbrushes, large and small

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  1. 1

    Sand over the surface of the tray lightly with 180-grit sandpaper to remove any nicks or other imperfections from the wood.

  2. 2

    Dab a small amount of a concentrated wood cleaning solution onto a rag and wipe it over the entire surface of the wood to remove any dust and dirt.

  3. 3

    Rub an acrylic sealer over the wood to seal the wood and wait for it to dry completely.

  4. 4

    Dip a large paintbrush into white acrylic paint and brush over the surface of the wood. You may want to repeat with a second coat to ensure a solid, even finish.

  5. 5

    Wait for the paint to dry completely and paint over with a small paintbrush and the desired colours of paint. You can add stripes, swirls or other decorative strokes until you achieve the desired look.

  6. 6

    Wait for the paint to dry completely.

  7. 7

    Dip a large paintbrush into clear epoxy paint and brush over the entire surface of the wood. This adds a sheen to the wooden tray and protects the paintwork underneath.

Tips and warnings

  • Glue on gems or beads for decoration after painting with regular wood adhesive or hot glue.
  • You can découpage the tray after painting to add decorative images across the surface of the tray.
  • You can substitute a different colour of paint in place of the white as the base coat, and use as few or as many different colours as you want in the overall design.

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