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Ugly dull plastic food trays have hope! You can turn them into lovely chalkboards with inspirational quotes. Perfect for any place in your house and makes for a great gift, too.
I have seen pretty plastic food trays but if you have more like a cafeteria food tray that is old and very used, fret not my friend. This is another wonderful opportunity to upcycle. Ready to get on board?
Grab these then:
I have this dull and old plastic food tray, well, I have 10 of them. The story is there were these food trays being given away that I would guess came from a cafeteria. Of course I got some because I knew I could upcycle them.
On a mission to upcycle an old and dull food tray to a chalkboard home decor.
This is the tray.
We are going to create a shapely chalkboard frame on the tray so to do that we need to prepare a cardboard template and mark measurements.
Make sure you are working on a food tray free from dust or dirt. Wipe it clean. Then measure the width and length of the tray so you can find the center and then mark it with pencil.
Place pencil marks on all sides of the food tray making quarter divisions on the tray.
Get a used cardboard and cut up a section that will fit in one of your quarter measurements on the food tray. Draw a swirly shape on that cardboard piece with a pencil. You can copy how I drew the swirl.
Cut up the swirl outline and use that shape as a frame template. Trace the template on the food tray with a white crayon.
Do the same on all the quarter sections of the food tray. Flip the frame template on the opposite side when you trace it on the section beside it.
Time to paint.
We are ready to paint the tray. Use acrylic paint and choose a color combination that you want. I chose robin egg blue and cashmere tan. Apply paint on the outer section of the frame.
Dry the first coat then apply one or two more coats until you get a solid look. I applied 3 coats for mine. First coat will look like this…
Next step is to paint chalkboard paint inside the frame. Apply 2-3 coats. Always make sure that the coat is thoroughly dry before painting on the next coat.
With a pointed paintbrush, use your second color to paint a line following the shape of the frame.
For extra protection on the acrylic paint, use any decoupage glue or Mod Podge. Remember the base which we used is plastic ( food tray) so it does not absorb acrylic paint. It would be good to seal it with the podge. DO NOT apply the podge on the black chalkboard paint inside the frame.
Try your hand at lettering.
Find an inspirational quote or maybe you already have one that you know by heart. Use chalk stick to write that on the chalkboard frame. Do not be be intimidated with all these awesome hand drawn lettering we see around. Go to Pinterest and type in “chalkboard typography” to get inspiration from. Well, that was what I did. Oh sure you will have many times you will erase and re-do the lettering, that is totally fine. Just have a rag on hand for the erasures. Unless you are great at hand drawn lettering, I envy you! I mean kudos to you! While the rest of us agonize on crafting letter A…
So I dreamed the lettering that moment and I did it! Just what the quote says …
Not quite done yet. I thought I was until I tried making the frame stand on the fireplace mantel but it kept sliding. So for some troubleshooting, here is what I did and what you will need :
Glue gun/ hot glue
Cut up the craft foam about 4 inches long. If your foam is thin then fold it a few times to bulk it up. That is what I did with mine then I used hot glue to attach it at the bottom center of the frame.
Then you would want to cover up the glue marks and the foam so simply get the acrylic paint that you used for the outer section of the frame, then paint over it.
Problem solved. This upcycled food tray chalkboard is all set. I’m giving this as a house warming gift for a friend but before I wrap it, let me show you how it will look like a as home decor.
You can totally rock this!