Friday, July 10, 2009

~ A Decoupaged Wooden Tray ~

Here is a more advanced project than what I have been featuring so far...the pictures are of a work in progress my son had done in his first year at college ~

Items needed

Wooden Tray

Fine sand paper

Pencil & Ruler

Craft Knife

Cutting Board

All Purpose Acrylic Sealer

2 1/2" flat Brush

Elmer's Glue-all or PVA glue

Mixing bowl & spoon

Water based semi-gloss varnish

Computer generated designs


Damp cloth

Start by preparing your surface. Lightly sand tray with fine sand paper. You can use a tack cloth to get all the dust particles off the tray.
Seal with a all-purpose acrylic sealer, let dry.
Lightly sand again. Dust off dust particles.

Choose your freeware design and copy to your preferred design programme, make multiple copies or as in this case my son chose a Celtic design and enlarged or reworked it to fit the design into the basic space of the tray.
You could also cut designs from tissue paper as I did in my previous napkin decoupage or cut motifs from cards, wrapping paper, etc. You will also find lots of freeware designs on the internet, copy into your programme, re-size if you need to and print.

Make sure you have enough designs so that you can work a lovely display onto your tray.

Using a good craft knife and cutting board as well as a ruler to cut out your designs.
If you are using designs that need scissors, it is preferable to use embroidery scissors to be able to cut perfectly around corners and difficult shapes.

Pre-arrange your designs on your tray until you find an arrangement that you like.
Once you decoupage your design and it dries, it cannot be removed.

Water down your PVA glue slightly to the consistency of cream, mix well. Depending on how thick your glue is, add water a little at a time until you see it resembles a milky mixture.
Working from the centre of the tray, ***apply a thin coat of glue mixture, using your flat brush, to the surface of the tray where your motif is to be pasted...use a single long stroke applying the glue along the grain of the wood...this is very important!
Press down your motif in place on top of the glue and with your fingers gently press from the centre toward ends gently working out any wrinkles. Make sure your ends are sealed into the surface.
Apply one more single stroke top coat over your design according to the wood grain.
Clear up any excess glue carefully with a damp cloth. Let this dry for 24-48 hours, even more on humid days.***
You can speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer on low heat about 6-8 inches from your project but I prefer to let it dry naturally.
Continue working this way according to the directions between the *** until you have glued all your desings in place.
Do not brush any glue over areas where you have already glued as this may cause too much moisture and your designs may have air bubbles. Also too much glue may work its way into the wood grain in some places. Always let each coat dry before adding another.
After 24 hours Again using a single stroke, apply two coats to the total surface area with a soft brush, letting coats dry for 1 hour in between.
When totally dry, apply two coats of water-based semi gloss varnish, letting each coat dry in between coats.
  • You can use a spray varnish or if you use a painted varnish apply using a clean soft brush, never a roller or sponge as it forms bubbles.
  • You could also cover all the basic surface of the tray with your chosen paper rather than cut-outs. In this case the only wooden part showing would of course be the handles and sides.
  • You CAN paint the wooden item prior to decoupaging if you like. in which case use water-based acrylics.
Last but not least, use your imagination and be creative...have FUN!


  1. All I can say is, WOW!!! Abso+ultely beautiful!!! It looks like it is an inlayed pattern!!

    BTW, I like your profile picture!! It's nice to "give you a face"!!

    My compliments to Myron ... he's done a great job on the tray. Great tutorial too!
    Thanks for sharing... I like the celtic design you chose.

  3. Wow! What a lovely hand made job!!

  4. Thanks everyone for looking and commenting : )
    My son did a fine job on this tray and I have it proudly displayed on our buffet.
    I hope some of you may try this using my tutorial.
    Amber I changed my profile to add my picture as some of the kids at the summer club wanted to peek in to read more about decoupage and I thought they would find me more easily if they saw my picture : )

  5. Hello Doreen, What is the type of sealant you put on your wooden tray right after you sand it?
    Thank you,

  6. Hi Pamela,

    My son had made this quite a few years ago. After the project had dried, he had applied two coats of a water-based semi gloss varnish, letting each coat dry in between coats. You could also use a spray varnish. Either way you will be sealing your project. I hope this helps answer your question.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, your input and time are greatly appreciated.

Related Posts with Thumbnails