From Drab to Fab! TV Tray Makeover

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Last semester my roommate realized how little space we have on our desks at school if we have our laptops on them. And she was totally right! I always have to put my things at odd angles just to get everything I need to do my homework on my desk. Then she had the brilliant idea of using a redone TV tray! So I basically stole her idea, but I know she doesn’t mind.

Here are the super simple DIY steps!


TV Tray

Paint sample of your choice-I used Valspar Satin in Beach Blanket. You really only need a sample size, no need for anything bigger. Mine was $2.98 at Lowe’s. Or you could use acrylic/craft paint.

Fine Grain Sandpaper (optional)


Stencil (optional)

Paint for stencil (optional)

Stencil Brush (strongly recommended if using stencil)

Water Based Polyurethane Finish (recommended)

What to do:

I first started off by wiping the entire tray down with a damp cloth because it was a little dusty. You will want to do this if you don’t plan on sanding it.

I sanded mine off just slightly, legs included, so there would be a rougher surface for the paint to stick to.It doesn’t require much sanding at all. Just a few strokes over the whole thing. After sanding it I wiped the entire thing down again to get all the sand dust off of it.

Then I moved to painting my base color. Warning: It is fairly annoying to paint the legs, if you are seasoned painter it would be easier. Mine do not look perfect, but you cannot tell unless you are really close up to it. I put 2 coats on the legs and 3 on the top, but it just depends on what color and paint you use as to how well it cover the original color.

Once the base color was try I placed my stencil where I wanted it. I found my stencil and stencil brush at Hobby Lobby, but you can find them just about anywhere. I did have to stencil twice. The first time I used a foam brush and the paint got under the stencil so I painted over it and did it again with a stencil brush. That worked MUCH better! If you have never used a stencil brush go to and look up some videos. They are very helpful!

After all the paint has dried you can apply the finish. I do recommend using the finish to help it last longer, prevent things from sticking to it, watermarks, etc. Be sure to read the directions on the can and I do suggests doing the number of coats the can recommends. This will help it from being streaky.

Now you are done! This is a great quick update to an otherwise boring piece of furniture that can be done in one day. And most come in sets so you can mix and match colors or patterns!

I can’t wait to use mine at school next year! And here is my before and after pictures again. It was hard to get good lightly, but it is a mint green color and dark gray for the bird.

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I have FINALLY gotten to check off 2 of my items on my summer bucket list! It took quite sometime, but I finally finished redoing my nightstand and my grandma’s old desk. I had a couple hiccups along the way, but it was actually really really simple!

Here is what the pieces looked like before hand



The desk does have drawers with it, but I forgot to get a picture until I had already taken them out.


2in angled brush

1 Quart Valspar Interior Semi Gloss Paint (Desk-Dove White, Nightstand-Ocean Storm and Honey Glaze)

Sander/Sandpaper (if desired or needed)

Polyurethane Finish- Water Based

How to:

My dad and I originally started with sanding both surfaces, but randomly he thought why not see if it sticks without sanding it. So we tried in an unnoticeable stop if the paint would cover the stain and stick without sanding. And it did! So we did not have to sand it down. However, I do think it would help if you sanded the entire piece. Even just a little bit would help.

I applied 2 coats of the Ocean Storm, 3 coats of the Honey Glaze, and 3 of the Dove White. How many coats to apply will depend on how dark the stain is, how dark the paint is, and what you think looks best. Using an angled brush will help with getting into the detailed parts of the furniture. I also did not have to use a primer because the paint was a paint + primer mix.

Once the piece has completely dried apply a polyurethane finish to at least to top surface and surfaces that will have things placed on. So for my project I applied it to the writing surface of the desk, the top of the nightstand, and the yellow shelf of the nightstand. The first time I apply the finish I used an oil based finish, which left my items yellow. Meaning I had to resand them to take off the finish and reapply a new water based finish.

However, if you have experience with an oil based finish and like it, by all means use it. I just did not get good results with it. Just follow the directions on the can for the finish.

Now you are all done! And you have a beautiful updated piece of furniture!

Here is my finished product!

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This past weekend was FILLED with joy! It all started on Friday. Henry and I made some finishing touches to my desk and nightstand then had a wonderful picnic at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana.

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Although our picnic consisted of fried chicken, chips, and watermelon we had a gorgeous view!

Later that night my new favorite person was welcomed into the world! Connor Ried Swango was born Friday Night, weighing 7lb 6oz and 19 inches long! He is absolutely perfect!! I cannot wait to go to Searcy in a few weeks to see him!

Then Saturday morning Mom, Dad, Henry and I all headed to Trenton, MO to see my grandma. On the way we stopped at Hannibal, MO (Mark Twain’s hometown) to have lunch and do some antique shopping. I wound up buying 22 Mason Jars from a little shop in town. The best part was with the price I bought all of them for they were about $2.75/jar AND there was a mix of different ones. My favorite are the blue ones of course! What do I need 22 Mason Jars for you ask? Well, one day I will get married, shocker I know!, and I plan to use them as decorations.

It was so wonderful getting to see my grandma and to have her meet Henry. I wanted them to meet before her health took a turn for the worst, which hopefully wont be for sometime. It was a short, but fun visit with her and my aunt!