Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Long Awaited Painted Tray Post

I know I promised this post as part of DIY week about a month and a half ago, but I got a little lazy after our spontaneous D.C. mini vacation. That doesn't mean I didn't do it.

The reason I never told the story of the painted tray is it didn't turn out very well. It didn't turn out at all. I screwed it up and never finished it. But we're all about honesty over here at the Woodward Place, so I decided to share what went down:

The tray in question is a terra cotta potting tray that I bought at Michaels a long, long time ago. I spray painted it white and used it to corral candles and keep melted wax off our counters. It was perfect. Then it was boring.

"How hard could it be to paint a tray," I thought. "I could always stencil it," I thought.

Apparently, I am completely unaware of how expensive stencils are. Since I couldn't find one I loved and didn't want to spend a ton on one I'm just okay with, I decided that was out.

Plan B was to grid out the tray and paint a simple, albeit handmade chevron pattern.

Step 1. Draw grid.

Alright. That wasn't so hard.

Step 2. Attach the lines on a diagonal.

So far, so good. Cool and full of character. Just gotta keep this up.

Step 3. Because that looks awesome, adding vertical lines to make it more of a geometric grid would be more awesome. Right?

Mmmm, not so much. But I'm committed now.

Step 4. Be brave, keep going.

Oh, wrong choice. That only emphasizes the imperfections.

Step 5: Abandon all steps and try to salvage this project.

Since I also couldn't figure out how to finish the edges and I thought, "maybe a border will hide the ugly parts." After taping it off and hoping for a relatively smooth line, this is what I got:

Here's the second time I thought, "maybe a border will hide the ugly parts." Feeling like a genius, I broke out my gold Sharpie and...

Smoother, but not opaque. Guess it's time for a new gold Sharpie. And that's as far as I got.

I'm not crazy about any part of this, so I'm not rushing to finish it. Clearly my approach of abandoning my original plan did not work out.

This was supposed to be an easy, afternoon, de-stressing DIY project but somehow it turned out as a globby, gloopy mess. As I see it, I have two options: Spray paint the whole thing (maybe not white again) or keep tinkering and hoping for artistic genius. At this point, I think any "artistic genius" is past and all that's in the future "tried to hard."

So, does any one have any ideas on what I should do next to make the painted tray interesting and not amateur hour?


  1. I like it!! I think it looking messing IS artistic! I want to do one like it! I like it best without the border, but I like that too. I may try black and white :)

    1. Thanks! It's just not quite my cup of tea (more an issue of idea vs. execution). I can't think of a better alternative and I don't totally hate it, so for now it stays.