{Guest Blog} Re-purpose a Thrift Store Frame into a Serving Tray

I love the transformation that a good coat of paint can bring. Whether it’s on your walls, or your great grandmother’s old dresser (I know, I know, but sometimes the original wood finish doesn’t work with the decor in my home), paint is one of the most cost effective ways to change up your home décor. But there are so many more options than just furniture. Home accessories are probably the item I paint and change up the most!


I love searching local thrift stores for new (to me) pieces for my home. One of my favorite items to look for are frames. You can do so much more than use them for pictures. Case in point - today’s super easy tutorial.


I have a coffee bar area in my kitchen, and wanted a tray for my coffee maker to sit on. Nice trays are hard to come by and are often expensive, so I had to think outside of the box.  


I had actually purchased this frame a while back and spray painted it a bright shade of blue. It proceeded to chip and flake, even though the frame doesn’t really endure wear and tear. That’s why I was so excited to try No Prep Furniture Paint from Vintage and Restore by K.



The only prep you need to complete is wiping your piece down – I cleaned mine with a little soap and water. See those little chips? I didn’t even need to sand these out. I’m sure all of you avid DIY’ers know that prepping is the most painful part of any project, so it was amazing to skip it!



I used the Galvanized Gray color of the chalky finish paint, and it is absolutely gorgeous! I painted on a thin layer around my frame. The back of the frame actually has little metal prongs to hold the back on, so I just opened them all the way up so the frame sat above my drop cloth! After 30-45 minutes (depending on the temperature and humidity in where you live), you can add a second coat if needed/desired.


I let the last coat of paint dry for 2 hours. I chose not to distress this piece, but if you’d like yours to have a more vintage vibe, then distress at this stage. I love the diversity of chalk paint - there is a misconception that it must always be distressed, but I like it both ways depending on the project I’m working on.


Then I applied a thin layer of the unscented All Natural Furniture wax to the entire frame, let it sit for a few minutes, and then softly buffed it with an old t-shirt. After completing this step, I applied a coat of the all natural Antique Black Furniture Wax. I didn’t want to fully darken the piece, but rather slightly accent some of the smaller details of the frame. Taking my brush, I sort of stippled the wax on the edges, and lightly brushed it on all of the other areas. After a few minutes, I buffed this layer off.




Keep in mind if you want a subtle effect with your colored wax, that mostly clings to small details, apply the colorless sealing wax first. Otherwise the darker wax won’t buff off as well (and on the flip side - if you want to really darken your piece, make sure to do the opposite).


You can stop at this point, and you’d have a beautiful frame, ready and refreshed to brighten up your decor. If you want to turn your frame into a tray (especially one that comes in contact with liquids) then  you’ll want to follow these additional steps:


  • Put your glass back in the frame, and turn it face down. Take clear caulk, and seal the glass on to the frame (you can see in the photos I used white - I don’t recommend this!).

  • If you really want to make sure it’s sealed, after the caulk dries flip it over and seal the other side as well (definitely only do this step if you are using clear caulk).

  • Pick a “backdrop” for your frame. I used gold leaf wrapping paper since the holidays are approaching, but any pattern of wrapping, tissue, or contact paper will work. This is a fun way to tie the tray into your decor, and have a truly custom piece!

  • Use the back of the picture frame to measure how big your backdrop needs to be and cut it to size. Insert it into the back of the frame, and you’re done! You could always add handles to the sides to make it a more portable piece.








I love the flexibility this type of project provides, because you can always change out the design under the frame. It doesn’t just have to be used for coffee either - this project would be a great addition to a bar cart, or even as a coffee table accessory. I hope you’ll give it a try!


For more DIY ideas, check out Daire’s blog A Dairing Life. You can also follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.




Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published