I’ve been looking for a tray like this for some time now, but I had begun to despair that I’d have to plan a quick shopping trip to Miami just to find one. Hubby wasn’t thrilled with that idea, naturally. I was beyond surprised to walk into one of my favorite second hand stores right here not long ago and spot this mirrored tray in sort of a whitish beige color. They had it labeled as a wall mirror and while it wasn’t cheap (because anything imported is expensive here even if it’s used) it was certainly cheaper than having to book a flight to Miami. I figured hubs should be grateful. So I bought it.
The painted metal loops had plenty of nicks and scrapes and the natural gunmetal tone underneath had begun to show through so it definitely needed a quick coat of spray paint. It still had the Home Goods label with the original price on the back. That’s what it had cost new. And unfortunately that’s what it cost old too. I paid 40 dollars for it in spite of the nicks and scrapes and peeling paint. But I felt fortunate to have even found it at all.
I had originally planned to remove the mirror and spray paint the loops but it had these metal tabs soldered in place in the back and there was a very strong glue holding the backing to the tabs. The mirror wasn’t budging. So I covered it as best I could with newspaper and after sanding the loops a bit, I spray painted them in gold. And now it’s sitting my coffee table up at the mountain house.
I sent the owner of the store a photo of the tray after I painted it gold and she expressed surprise upon realizing it was not a wall mirror and mentioned something about wishing she had kept it. Oh well.
Mirrored trays add such an elegant touch to any coffee table or vanity. I think just about anything looks better if it’s placed on a tray. They seem to be back in style nowadays and I’ve noticed them popping up in magazines and decorating blogs quite a bit lately. I’ve seen so many beautiful trays in stores and on Ebay but unfortunately they tend to be really pricey. I knew there had to be a way to make my own tray for alot less so I began to search online to see if anyone had ever tried making trays at home. I was surprised to find all sorts of creative ideas and instructions for DIY trays, especially on Youtube. But the one I liked best was the one that used inexpensive metal ribbon from Hobby Lobby. (You can also find metal ribbon on Amazon but it costs more there) It’s a flexible tin strip that comes in 3 yard lengths. That’s enough for a very large tray plus a smaller one. Or two medium and a small.
Metal ribbon comes in different widths and designs so it’s just a matter of choosing the one you like best. I purchased three different kinds because I couldn’t make up my mind.
For the base of the trays I used different sized pieces of plywood. I found them easy to work with and there’s a plywood store right next door to me where they sell scrap sized pieces for just pennies. Some people prefer to use inexpensive wood frame mirrors that you can get at any dollar store, that way the mirror is already cut to size and the ribbon can be attached to the wooden frame. First the the bottom and sides of the base gets a coat of spray. I sprayed some of the pieces silver and others gold because those were the colors that I wanted the trays to be.I wanted to put little feet on the bottom of the tray so that it wouldn’t sit flat on the table. Feet also make it easier to lift up the tray when it needs to be moved. I happened to have a couple of packages of left over plastic mirror holders, the kind that are used to hold unframed mirrors against the wall. These turned out to be perfect to use as feet. They can be attached to the plywood with one small screw and spray painted the same color as the bottom of the tray. I also added tiny cork circles to avoid scratching surfaces.
A box of thumbtacks was basically the only thing I needed to attach the ribbon to the plywood. I pulled it taut as I tacked it in place so that it would go on completely straight and wouldn’t have a wavy look to it. It’s important to tack it on in a perfectly straight even line, otherwise it will start to get wavy. Some metal ribbon designs have little holes spaced evenly apart so that it’s easy to just insert the thumbtack straight into the wood through the little holes.
This is a round one
An oval gold tray holds the perfumes on my dresser
I have the feeling that I’ll be giving people trays this year for Christmas.