Sometimes I just look around my house and think…what can I pour on today?
A few weeks ago, the answer to this question ended up being a set of four aging tray tables that were purchased for my husband and I as a wedding gift eleven years ago. They were just your standard, light oak tray tables, bought from Walmart, and have served us pretty well.
Except of course, they could be prettier.
Our living room is a deep, brick red with white and oak trimming, and I wanted to incorporate those colors into this pour.
Supplies I Used:
- Nicole’s Craft Paints (available at AC Moore) in Bright Red, White, Black, and Metallic Bronze.
- Floetrol (3 parts Floetrol to 1 part paint.)
- Wooden popsicle sticks for stirring
- Plastic, reusable cups for mixing
- Cardboard boxes
- Tray tables
- Wide paint brush
- Metal flake (I used bronze)
- Wide foam brush
- Polycrylic, or your choice of sealer
- Simple Green cleaner
*Note on supplies: I had originally decided to use Arteza paints, but had the same problem I experienced during my review of their products—the paint was extremely lumpy and would not mix with Floetrol. I ended up scraping the one table I poured using Arteza, and circled back to my tried and true 59 cent paints.
Floetrol is my go-to medium, I like the creamy, melted-ice-cream texture and the price point is more attainable for me than GAC800. I do recommend straining your Floetrol first to avoid any lumps.
First, I placed four medium-sized cardboard boxes about four feet away from each other on the floor of my garage and placed a tray table on each of them—the last thing I wanted to do was get paint on the floor, and risk parking my car on wet paint!
Once I had the tray tables set up, I used Simple Green and a paper towel to clean off the top of each tray table thoroughly. This is very important—even if your surface looks clean, give it a good wipe down to make sure your paint sticks.
Once everything was clean and protected, it was time to get started!
I decided to paint the tops of the tray tables white first with a medium layer of unmixed paint; I’ve found that doing this can help the flow of my paints and helps them to stick to the surface a bit better when I do a pour. Just be mindful of your brush marks if you decide to to this; ideally, your pour should be thick enough to be opaque, but thin enough to dry evenly. Because of this, brush marks will definitely show through the pour, so try to achieve a smooth finish.
Once a coat of paint was on, I mixed my colors with Floetrol; black, white, bright red, and metallic bronze. I used equal amounts of my “main colors”, and only about a fourth as much metallic bronze, since I considered that my “accent” color.
(Side note: I’ve noticed that when I use metallic colors in my pours, they can create a metallic sheen over the other colors—that’s why I just use them as accents, primarily).
After my colors were properly mixed with Floetrol, I layered them in a larger plastic cup. I didn’t want to risk the white and red mixing into pink, so I layered red, then black, then white, then black, then red, and so on.
I decided that a flip cup wasn’t the way to go with these tray tables, and settled on a dirty pour instead. I made a figure eight pattern on each tray table with the poured paint—I’ve found that doing this helps the color to even out. Otherwise, I might have had large, concentrated areas of one color, and I didn’t want that.
Now, this is where I advise you to be smarter than I was. I decided not to heed my husband’s advice about taking the tray table tops off the legs because one, I am impatient and didn’t want any more time standing between me and the pour, and two, I am stubborn. But, don’t make my mistake! It was very hard to manipulate those tables, since the legs wanted to fold in every time I picked up the top. I ended up having to squat next to each table and hold the legs to manipulate the pour—not the most comfortable way to “art.” I strongly recommend taking the tops of the tables if you can!
After I had manipulated the tables, I waited about eight days before sealing—this is personal preference. I felt that the paint was sufficiently and thoroughly dried, but there are many who recommend waiting at least a month before sealing.
I applied one coat of Polycrylic, and then crushed a few sheets of bronze leaf in my hand to sprinkle at random over the top; I love this look! There are a few larger flakes and some smaller, fine glitter flakes that give the top a lot of dimension. I waited two hours, and applied a second coat of Polycrylic to seal in the bronze flake completely, and flatten the surface.
For cost reasons, I did not resin these tray tables; I don’t intend to sell them, and I don’t often resin things that I plan on keeping for personal use due to the price of resin. If you do decide to seal your tray tables with resin, I still highly recommend sealing them with Polycrylic first; using a two step sealing method has completely eliminated any issues I’ve had with pits or pulling when the resin cures.
This was a time consuming, extremely fun project that gave new life to my old, sad looking tray tables. If you have some old tray tables or nightstands laying around, give this a try—you’ll breathe new life into your furniture and have a new conversation piece for your home, too!