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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