A new tray table

The other day I sold the butler tray I had listed on etsy. I had listed it as a custom order – which it is – but I still had one sitting in our living room which had never been used as a tray but just had stuff sitting on it. It had been dusted regularly but other than that stuff really just sat there. So instead of having the customer wait until a new one was built I sent this one out. I’ve never heard from her again so I assume that’s a good sign and she liked it. Also I assume it means the table made it there okay – when we built it we had not anticipated that it would actually be quite a pain to ship because it’s so big and most boxes are either too small for it or way too big. So we ended up bubble-wrapping the whole monstrosity and off to the post office it went.

Anyways, I’m babbling. The point is, the tray was gone and the spot where it used to sit looked very empty. So we decided to build a new one.

Here it is, in all its “naked” glory, ready to get dressed :-) Before I got to it, though, I wiped some Shellac all over it to seal the knots. This way, the knots will not start bleeding through over time.


I’m using Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg on the inside. To make it more interesting I poured a bit of Old White on a paper plate and whenever I needed to reload the brush with Duck Egg I dipped the side of the brush into the Old White. The colors then get blended in the painting process.

Tray 1

As you constantly have different ratios of Duck Egg and Old White on your brush the paint job looks a bit uneven throughout, which is just what I was going for. It makes it look a bit more like authentic old furniture.



For the outside I chose Annie Sloan’s French Linen. It’s a beautiful grey and perfect if you’re trying to achieve a driftwood effect.

Once the whole outside was painted I left it to dry over night (mainly because it was late when I was done, letting it dry for an hour should be fine). I then put very little Old White on a paint brush and kind of dry brushed a small area.

In comes the secret weapon :-) See the purple and white package on the table? Baby wipes! They’re perfect for this (although a damp lint free rag will do, too). I lightly wiped over the the area I’d dry brushed and spread the Old White around until I was happy with the look. This works better if the paint is still moist so I would recommend working in sections.

Driftwood 1

Once that was done I let it dry and then gave it a coat of clear wax. And this is now where the fun begins. I dipped a rag into some dark wax and randomly put streaks on a small section and then wiped them off in one direction. This way there are dark streaks added to the light ones and it gives the whole piece more depth and a wonderfully warm and driftwoody look. Again, working in sections is important so the wax doesn’t dry or else you’re left with the streaks you put on.

Driftwood 2

And here we go…



Now for the inside, I wanted it nice and beachy so it would match the driftwood outside. First it got a coat of clear wax and then I did the thing that I LOVE to do. I color waxed. I mixed some clear wax with some Old White (about equal parts but I really just eyeball it) and then brushed it all over with a wax brush.


It gives any color this beautifully soft and mellow look. I admit, I went all out there this time, if it was for a customer I would probably have exercised a bit more restraint. But I like it this way :-)


So there it is, tray all done. Now all I need to do is wait patiently for the hubby to assemble the stand…


… and our empty spot in the living room can be filled again :-)

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