By Kelli Hall, Minted Event Stylist
I love a pretty serving tray, especially one that’s both colorful and versatile. Check out this simple DIY project for a reusable patterned tray–lined with a paper of your choosing and made to swap prints whenever the right mood (or party) strikes.
I created this tray to use for serving cocktails at a recent wedding. It has only three basic parts and was crafted with the purpose of taking on a new look at any gathering. I simply lift the top plastic layer and insert a different piece of patterned paper to give it updated personality.
• A simple white tray with an edge (I like this one from Zak designs)
• A single sheet of Lexan or acrylic
• A piece of patterned paper
To ensure the best fit, Purchase a white tray first. I purchased mine from Amazon, and the inner boundaries exactly fit a 16.5 x 11″ sheet. Using these measurements, I ordered a custom piece of acrylic from Tap Plastics. They sell a clear sheet (perfectly sized) for less than $10. You can also buy these sheets at hardware supply stores. After you have the tray and cut acrylic on hand, cut a sheet of patterned paper to the same dimensions as the acrylic sheet. Lay the paper in the tray and place the clear plastic sheet on top of the paper. That’s it! The friction between the paper and the other surfaces keeps the top sheet from sliding around.
Once you have the tray and acrylic sheet, you can use it over and over. Pull out the old paper and try different printed materials to mix up the look. Experiment with newspaper, photos, wrapping paper, wallpaper or fabric. If you’re going for something less tailored, try pressing a pretty hand linen between the acrylic and tray–letting the fabric corners hang out for easy style. It’s also the perfect way to protect and show off a vintage linen on your bar tray.
If you’re not in a mood to wait on or cut acrylic, It’s possible to use extra heavy acetate sheets from a craft store and trim them with scissors, but the result is cloudy and not long-wearing. Since I designed this to use over and over again, I chose to fit the tray with a more permanent clear sheet.
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