Hot Off the Worktable: Decorative Wooden Trays With Trail Art & Photos

Wooden trays for my exhibit.

Just a few decorative trays with art and photos from the Panhandle Trail for my exhibit this weekend, another idea I’ve had in mind for the past few shows. The larger trays are 10 x 14 and the smaller tray is 8 x 12, and made of lightweight unfinished wood. I used a wash of navy blue for the tray with “Dusk in the Woods” at the top, and a wash of olive green for “Woodland Sunflowers” at the bottom left, so that the woodgrain shows through.

I had initially planned to fully paint them in these colors and looked forward to the look of it. I use the wash of thinned paint as a primer before painting, but I so liked the way it looked that I let it sit overnight so I could think about it. I still liked it in the morning, and that’s how they are.

The smaller tray has the image “Three Sunflowers” and initially I was going to use either the olive green or a rich brown, but I decided to add a little luster to those sunflowers and used an opaque metallic copper paint for all the copperish tones in the painting. I think it captures the warm early autumn afternoon when I took the photo.

These trays are purely decorative because they are made with lightweight wood which is especially thin inside the bottom so you can’t carry dishes to the table in them, but I have used them for carrying linens and flatware and lightweight things like breadbaskets. They do protect a countertop and also decorate a desk, used for papers. I am always on the lookout for more fully usable trays.

I paint the outside and inside, then adhere a print of the image on my high quality art paper. When it’s dry I give them several coats of a light matte varnish to protect the image and the wood so they are waterproof for condensation from glassware, and can be lightly wiped down with a damp rag and mild detergent.

I will list them after the show and may be making more. The large trays are typically $20.00 each and the smaller ones $15.00. If you are interested please let me know—I love to hear feedback as well.

In my studio

Of course, I had to wait for Mimi to have a nap in them.

Mimi insists on a nap in the tray.

You can see all the help my studio cats give me—can you find Mimi in this photo?

Settling in to keep my things company.

Read more about the exhibit here.

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