TV Tray Table Upcycle

upcycled-tv-tray-tables (2)

I have no idea how long I have owned these TV trays, but I would venture to say over 15 years.  They have probably been hiding away in a closet for ten of those years.  I think every home has these (kind of like the Monopoly board game), but I’m not sure how often they are used.  I personally, have forgotten about them because they were tucked away, and they were tucked away because they didn’t match my furniture and home décor.  So, instead of selling them at a garage sale I’m planning on having in a couple weeks, I thought I’d do a TV Tray Upcycle instead and do a trash to treasure project.

Here is the before photo.



Step One:

Clean your tray tables.  Mine were dusty!  If there are tough stains, you can lightly sand them with 150-grit sand paper.

Step Two:

Paint your base color and allow it to dry.  I chose to just paint the top because I like the contrast of the light wood on the bottom.  I think it makes it look more interesting.


Step Three:

Apply your stencils with paint and a spouncer stencil brush.  A spouncer makes your life easier, and reduces or even eliminates bleeding.  I have a ton of stenciling tips on my Burlap Stenciled placemat post.

stenciled-tray-tables (2)

I worked with all four tables at once, washing and cleaning my stencil and brushes in between.  Allow your paint to dry in between stenciling.  I took my time so it took me a couple days to do this.

stenciled-tray-tables (1)

Step Four:

If you’re like me, you have some bleeding mistakes, so after I finished stenciling, I used a small paint brush and the base color and touched it up.

upcycled-tv-tray-tables (1)

That’s it!  Prettier trays = more use.   They are no longer hidden in my closet!

Similar Posts


  1. Now I know what to do with my newly inherited (in-law) tv trays that were absolutely hideous! I showed my husband and he suggested a layer or two of clear coat to protect the paint. Thank you!

  2. HI!
    I was just wondering if you could give me a source for the stencil you used here.
    Love the look!
    Thanks, Karen

      1. Hi Rachel and Karen!

        Karen I am so sorry that I missed your comment! They are from the Martha Stewart collection. I bought them at Michael’s Craft Stores.

  3. Did you use any sort of sealer/ clear paint once you were done? I started painting mine and I was told that I needed to a sealer since they would be used often.

    1. Hi Bianca! I didn’t and mine are holding up, however you can do a quick sealer. I like Krylon’s Make It Last Clear Sealer (spray can). You can find it with the spray paint. You can also try one coat of polyurethane as another option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.