Normally when I hear the phrase “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” I think, nope, it’s all junk and perhaps Mr. Another Man needs some intervention for his hoarding issues. However, while strolling the neighborhood the other day, I came across a piece of someone’s junk that I knew had a bit of treasure potential.

The poor discarded thing that had been left by the side of the road with a free sign on it like an ugly child  had once been a serving tray. From the amount of dirt crusted into its corners, I think its previous owner had been serving up mud pies to someone. With a bit of scrubbing, the dirt was washed away to reveal that the tray was in really good shape. It just need a bit of Tammie Treatment.

“You’ve got potential, kid!”

I scoured through my acrylic craft paints (most of them discards from some project my mom had attempted) and found a big bottle of glossy royal blue that would make a perfect background for what I had in mind: a colorful tray with a collage in the base.

After a couple coats in the base, it was time to drag out my Future Collage Folder that’s chock full of magazine scraps. At first I had thought of just laying down some funky patterns for the tray’s collage, but I had forgotten about the treasure trove Mr. Husband had provided a few weeks previous: an old art print catalog for me to cut up!

And when I say “catalog,” I’m not talking about some flimsy LL Bean thing. This was a bound hardback book with super heavy slick paper and full color images of art ranging from ancient to modern, from impressionism to abstract, from Vermeer to Van Gogh. With scissors in hand, I had gleefully gone through the 500 or so pages cutting out anything and everything that grabbed my eye then tucked the massive pile I ended up with away in my Future Collage Folder.

Decisions, decisions.

I started by pulling out anything that went along with the blue I had used. I was looking for pieces that would work well together and had a similar color scheme before I picked out the trim colors for the rest of the tray. After much debate, and after seeing how many pictures I could squeeze into the base, I decided to go with trim colors of pink, bright green, and purple.

You can see the green peeking out from the handles.

Luckily, it’s been very dry in Portland, so my layers of paint dried in little time and I was able to start gluing. This was the worst part. My pictures kept buckling and I was worried about smoothing them out too much for fear of them tearing or wearing away the image. Eventually (after much cursing at myself and my glue) I got everything flattened (well, flat enough). Finally, I coated the base with a layer of clear acrylic to make sure everything stays in place.

Oooh, pretty!

After a few touch ups and a bit of drying time, I had a new treasure! Tray bien, indeed!!

Hmm, she has that Art Critic look in her eye.

Thanks for stopping by. See you Saturday with Finn McSpool’s day of Celtic fun at the Portland Highland Games!


14 thoughts on “One Man’s Junk Is My “Tray” Bien Treasure

    1. Thanks, Olga! It was a fun project that came together just as I’d imagined when I first saw the tray…which is amazing, because usually my projects don’t turn out as wonderful as I envision they will.

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  1. It’s not just tray bien, it’s tray belle and tray utile as well! (I think the entire Francophone world just collectively shuddered 😆) That tray is so lucky you happened along to give it a new lease of life – and isn’t it satisfying to get something so cool for free? Now, you probably want to give it a test run, so I’ll be right over for cocktails!

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    1. Ooh, that be a more exciting reincarnation for it than the tray is currently experiencing. Right now I’ve just got it loaded with art supplies to haul from one room of the house to the other. And, yes, I’m sure the Academie Francaise members are probably about to whack me on the head with a baguette for my linguistic digressions!


      1. Aaah, the old baguette whack… Can there be any more feared punishment? 😂 And art supply haulage is a worthy task as well – probably more fitting, after you used a collage of artworks to decorate it!

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