Thursday, July 19, 2012

{Thriftaholics} Vintage Letter Tray Upcycle Makeover

This past week one of my really good friends from Beautifully Blended Victoria and I decided to do a DIY night. We listened to the band Bellarive, ate cookie dough, made cookies with what was left of the cookie dough, and made vintage letter trays(or maybe they're called letter drawers?) into shelves.

I found these trays at a yard sale, where they were free! Well, they were free because it was my dads yard sale and he gave them to me. He's been reading my blog and thought I could do something with them. 
What do I say to that? I sure can!

So, my brilliant friend and I brainstorm. What do we come up with? Little shelves. My friend made one of hers into a little knick-knack holder and the other into an earring holder. I made one of mine into an earring holder and I'm going to keep the other one as a hanging decoration for now.

Here's how we made them... 


  • Spray Paint
  • Trays
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Embellishments

Step 1: Spray Paint
Spray the areas of the drawer you wish to be painted. Make sure you use smooth even strokes. If you spray in one spot it'll blob and not look even.
*If you are putting paper on the inside you don't need to tape the inside off. (we were kindly showed this by my mom after we taped it off)

Step 2: Measure
Make sure you measure where you put the paper. If you are putting the paper on the inside then measure the inside, if you are putting it on the edges then measure the outside. (In this picture we measured the outside for the edges) 

Step 3: Cut
Cut your paper according to your measurements. Make sure you keep the pattern of the paper facing the way you want it. 
If you mess up just use your scrap pieces and put them along the sides first (so they will be behind the main paper).

Step 4: Layout
Layout your paper and embellishments where you want them. This keeps us from getting confused and frustrated about layout later (just trust me on this one, its from experience)

Step 5 (Optional): Stiffen the Paper
Use clear spray paint and spray your paper. This stiffens it just a little to help the Mod-Podge from taking the ink. 

Step 6: Mod Podge Time
Mod Podge everything on! The Mod Podge has instructions on the back but I can give you the basic idea. You paint the Mod Podge on the drawer (not the paper). More is better. Place the paper where you want it. When you get it where you want it. Smooth the bubbles and wrinkles out by using the little Mod Podge smoother thing (the little black rectangle thing in picture #1). Make sure you start from the middle and go out. Wait at least fifteen minutes for it to dry then paint all over the top of the paper with Mod Podge. Yep! Just go for it and cover all of it with Mod Podge (don't worry it dries clear).  

Step 7: Decorate 
After the Mod-Podge is dry, take what ever embellishments you have and put them on wherever you want them. 
For example, I used a hot glue gun to glue lace on to hold my earrings. 

Step 8 (Optional): Hang it
You can hang your new shelf however you want to, if you want to. You can use picture hangers, ribbon, etc. You can even just screw it in the wall or leave it sitting somewhere.
I'll use ribbon (or lace). Simply hot glue one end of your ribbon to the corner of the box (on the back). Without twisting it, do the same to the other side. Now, hang it on a nail from the middle of the ribbon. Tada! You've got a hanging shelf.  

Step 9: Stuff it
Now, once everything is dry, use it for whatever you want to use it for. That is, if you want to use it for anything.
I'm using one of mine for an earring holder. The other I might just hang for decoration. 
Remember that you can add embellishments at any time. If you just want to hang it for decoration right now then make it into something later, go for it! 

I hope you enjoyed this DIY project! If you do this yourself I'd love to see it. Email me at with the subject: DIY Shelf. Also email me if you need any help and I will respond as soon as I can. Have fun!   

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  1. Great repurposing of tray.Thanks for linking up at Friday Fun Party. Have a nice weekend!

  2. These are soo stinking adorable! Love the lacy earring holder.. such a great idea! I am your newest follower.. hope you hop over to my under 300 followers blog hop @
    Amie @ Pinkapotamus

  3. Fun ideas! Please come hang out and link up to our link party "Home is Where the Heart is" Please feel free to link up any posts you might want to share! :)

  4. Love the earring holder! That's super cool. Thank you for sharing at our Pinteresting Party!


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