Ideas to decorate a wooden tray

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A wooden tray is blank slate that you can decorate to suit an individual, a room or an event. Craft and hobby stores often have a variety of unfinished wooden trays that will suit any project. Prime and paint or stain the tray before you add the decorations and embellishments.

Photo Collage

Create a photo collage tray with favourite family photos, cutouts from calendars or magazines, or landscape images available from online resources. Spread a layer of découpage glue onto the inside base of the tray; a paint sponge works best as it leaves no bristles behind. Press the images into the glue and then smooth extra glue on top. After the first layer of découpage glue dries, add another coat for added protection.

Pressed Flowers

Decorate a finished wooden tray with real pressed flowers. Use the same découpage methods as with paper images, but use a more gentle touch when you smooth the glue on top of the flowers. Pansies and daisies press beautifully as they are already semi-flat. Cut the blossoms at the top of the stems, sandwich them in coffee filters or waxed paper and insert them in the back of a phone book or other heavy book for two weeks. Adding weight to the top of the book also helps the flowers lay flat.

Vinyl Stickers

Vinyl rub-on stickers resemble hand-painted designs. Look for these small images at craft, hobby and discount stores. Select from a wide variety of themes to decorate your wooden tray. Cut around the images and use the included craft stick to rub the sticker onto the finished wood. Coat the decorated tray with polyurethane or découpage medium for added protection.

Resin-Coated Objects

Embed objects in a layer of resin to create a personalised tray or inexpensive art for your wall. Glue shallow, three-dimensional objects to the inside base of the finished wooden tray. After the glue dries, mix and pour a layer of resin over the inside bottom of the tray. Pour enough resin to cover the top of the objects. Seashells, vintage jewellery, small rocks and old watch faces are among the items that you can embed in a resin tray.


Add colourful stripes to the inside base and the outside rim of a finished wooden tray with strands of ribbon. Cut ribbons to fit the length or width of the tray base, then glue the strips to the tray with fabric glue or viscous jeweller's glue. Add a layer of resin or découpage medium to protect the ribbon from stains.

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