How to Upcycle Vintage TV Trays

Prettify a pair of "seen better days" TV trays. Great to use for travel, camping, extra crafting space or even an on the fly bedside table.

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How to Upcycle Vintage TV Trays
24 Steps
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I was gifted this lovely pair of vintage TV trays.

I was gifted this lovely pair of vintage TV trays.

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I love the vintage look, but these were a little gnarly, rust spots and staining that just wouldn't scrub off. So I decided to upcycle them to use in our vintage airstream.

I love the vintage look, but these were a little gnarly, rust spots and staining that just wouldn't scrub off. So I decided to upcycle them to use in our vintage airstream.

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First I scrubbed them down really good with soap, water and a scotch pad.

First I scrubbed them down really good with soap, water and a scotch pad.

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After they were completely dry, I removed the tray portion for painting.

After they were completely dry, I removed the tray portion for painting.

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I painted just the outer rim with a satin black spray paint.

I painted just the outer rim with a satin black spray paint.

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While waiting for the paint to dry, I prepped my collage material. I'm using a collection of vintage travel ephemera (to coordinate with my airstream renovation).

While waiting for the paint to dry, I prepped my collage material. I'm using a collection of vintage travel ephemera (to coordinate with my airstream renovation).

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Any paper material will work; magazines, photos, maps, vintage ephemera, scrapbook paper, etc.

Any paper material will work; magazines, photos, maps, vintage ephemera, scrapbook paper, etc.

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I wanted all my ephemera pieces to blend together and have a cohesive look, so I applied the following technique to all the pieces: First, I sanded them a little.

I wanted all my ephemera pieces to blend together and have a cohesive look, so I applied the following technique to all the pieces: First, I sanded them a little.

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Then brushed on a light coat of whitewash paint.

Then brushed on a light coat of whitewash paint.

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(Watered down off-white paint for whitewashing)

(Watered down off-white paint for whitewashing)

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I then wiped the whitewash paint off with a dry cloth. I repeated this a couple times to achieve the softness I was looking for.

I then wiped the whitewash paint off with a dry cloth. I repeated this a couple times to achieve the softness I was looking for.

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These are "before" the sanding and whitewash process.

These are "before" the sanding and whitewash process.

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And this is "after". You can see how they are a little softer and blend together nicely.

And this is "after". You can see how they are a little softer and blend together nicely.

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Once my spray painted trays were dry, I laid out the prepared ephemera pieces and arranged them in a nice collage.

Once my spray painted trays were dry, I laid out the prepared ephemera pieces and arranged them in a nice collage.

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Then I applied my adhesive medium. I brushed the adhesive on the back side, piece by piece and laid into place. I then brushed a whole coat of adhesive medium over the top of the entire collage.

Then I applied my adhesive medium. I brushed the adhesive on the back side, piece by piece and laid into place. I then brushed a whole coat of adhesive medium over the top of the entire collage.

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While my collage was drying....I used a hammered metal finish spray paint to paint the leg portion of the trays.

While my collage was drying....I used a hammered metal finish spray paint to paint the leg portion of the trays.

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Spray, and let dry.

Spray, and let dry.

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Once the collaged trays are dry (it's best to wait a day or so), spray with a clear sealer.

Once the collaged trays are dry (it's best to wait a day or so), spray with a clear sealer.

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Once everything is dry, snap the trays in place.

Once everything is dry, snap the trays in place.

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Fold up for easy storage.

Fold up for easy storage.

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Collage a vintage picnic basket too for a great glamping set!

Collage a vintage picnic basket too for a great glamping set!

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Now I'm on the hunt for more trays! Can't wait to apply this collage technique with vintage maps!! :)

Now I'm on the hunt for more trays! Can't wait to apply this collage technique with vintage maps!! :)

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Before and after.

Before and after.

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