DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

How to Decoupage a Tray

comments (14) August 24th, 2012     

Pin It

Jeff_Rudell Jeffery Rudell, contributor
Love it! 83 users recommend
The final Katazome-covered tray is bold and beautiful and allows me to bring a beautiful piece of paper out of a drawer and into my daily life.
An inexpensive plastic tray from Ikea (on sale, $5.99) provides the foundation for this project.
Once the front of the tray is dry, turn it over on your work surface and continue gluing each piece, only this time onto the convex surface of the tray lip.
The final Katazome-covered tray is bold and beautiful and allows me to bring a beautiful piece of paper out of a drawer and into my daily life.

The final Katazome-covered tray is bold and beautiful and allows me to bring a beautiful piece of paper out of a drawer and into my daily life.

Photo: Jeff Rudell
1 | 2 | 3 > View all

My relationship with paper-and that's what it is, a relationship-is a curious one: I love it, I appreciate it, but more often than not, I cut, fold, or otherwise mutilate it after which I usually get rid of it (pass it off to a client, a photographer, a friend). Visitors to my studio are always surprised by the fact that for someone who works almost exclusively with paper, there is so very little of it on view around me. 

To help remedy this situation, I have lately been thinking of ways in which I might get some of my more prized pieces of paper out of the storage drawers (where they lie perfectly flat and protected from creases and dust) and into my actual world where I can see and feel and appreciate them for the beautiful things they are.



candles More découpage projects:

• How to Make Découpage Candle Holders
• How to Transform Holiday Tins
Découpage a Colorful Pendant and Earrings Set!

Recently I visited an Ikea store in New Jersey and there found a lovely, 15-inch-diameter plastic serving tray. By lovely, I mean the size was great (large enough to hold a sandwich, some soda, and a plate of chips), it was sturdy (so it might well serve to carry a steaming pot of hot tea and a plate of biscotti), and it was inexpensive (marked down to $5.99 from its regular price of $9.99). The only thing wrong with it was, it was an ugly computer-beige with rather insipid little amoeba shapes printed on it. However, ugly seemed like a problem I might be able to tackle.

In my studio was a gorgeous piece of Japanese paper-a decorative Katazome-that I had been saving for just the right application. Katazome is a handmade process of stencil-dying paper using a starch-resistance method that can be traced back to 15th-century Japan. In brief, a design is cut into a stencil (the stencil paper for this particular process being a work of art in itself-it is treated with an elixir made from Persimmon, which gives it a rich tobacco coloring and prevents it from absorbing any of the starches used in the design transfer process). Once the stencil has been prepared, it is placed over a sheet of handmade paper and a starch solution is then applied through the stencil onto the paper's surface. When the starch is dry, pigments are applied by hand. As a final step, the entire sheet of paper is placed in a bath to loosen and remove the dried starch. The result is visible below. (Note: The areas of the paper that appear "white" were covered with starch prior to the pigments being applied. Once the pigmentation was complete and the starch was washed away, the white areas of the paper became visible again.) For anyone who is familiar with the beeswax and pigment process of making Ukrainian Eggs, Katazome is very similar.

Beautiful, bold-shaped tray, meet gorgeous handmade paper. The marriage has resulted in utter bliss. The finished tray sits beside me on the table as I write this (holding a pot of coffee, a newspaper, and the most delicious H&H bagel-a New York treasure-I have ever tasted).

  An inexpensive plastic tray from Ikea (on sale, $5.99) provides the foundation for this project though any flea market find will suffice.


  My sheet of Katazome paper. The vividness of the design and the resiliency of the paper itself make it a perfect material for my purposes. Choose something with a pattern that will disguise the slight overlap that will occur around the lip of the tray.


1 | 2 | 3 > View all
Did you make this?
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
posted in:

Comments (14)

finchelicious writes: Great! We've got a boring one-coloured plastic one at home and this will truly spice it up!
Posted: 5:41 am on December 15th
freebrd06 writes: Hi Jeff, love the decopage, nothing is ever out of date!
Posted: 3:01 am on August 25th
jamsiepaine writes: I love this project!! I would like to make this with decorative paper but put a photo in the middle. Do you suppose this would work if the picture was printed on regular paper, not photographic paper? Thanks for any info you can provide!
Posted: 12:58 pm on April 10th
Jeff_Rudell writes: Dear Cyd88: The best way to prevent strokes appearing in your Mod Podge is to use a very fine haired brush to apply it (avoid coarse "craft" brushes and large acrylic brushes made for painting moldings and trim). If you are still seeing evidence of strokes even with a better brush, you might try thinning your Mod Podge with a little water before applying it. As a last resort, you might give your piece a light sanding with a fine gauge steelwool between coats. This should even out the surface and give you a nice flat finish.
Posted: 2:16 pm on March 15th
Cyd88 writes: Hi Jeff! Love everything that you do! I would like to know if you have some hints on getting the Mod Podge on without brush or "sponge" strokes. Thanks. Namaste, A
Posted: 1:20 pm on February 19th
KittyF writes: I think I might try this with some of my favorite fabrics.
Posted: 6:04 pm on February 17th
Jeff_Rudell writes: Dear deandebbie: I'm unsure how best to answer your question. I used two products on my tray, Mod Podge, the label of which claims it is Non Toxic, and Varathane, the website of which claims is a water-based, low odor, eco-friendly product. I would hesitate to eat food off either of these finishes but, once they are dry, I believe they are both inert. For my part, I would be comfortable placing fruit (in its skin) or perhaps a dinner roll on this tray but, no, I probably would not serve food out of it. If you can find a finish that is safe for use with food, you could probably substitute that finish for either of the two I used and still get the same adhesion results with you decoupage. Good luck.
Posted: 10:45 am on March 30th
deandebbie writes: Very cool. Can it have food on it?? Debbie
Posted: 8:13 pm on March 22nd
taja writes: Nice! definitely not ugly anymore and has more value than $9.99!! great way to showcase that beautiful paper! Those of you who admire beautiful paper,like myself, come up with some of the most prettiest and functional ideas to bring art into everyday life! love it!
Posted: 4:12 pm on March 1st
AndCalliope writes: Wow, what a clear technique for such a clean finish! So impressed (as usual). Now to find some beautiful paper...
Posted: 8:39 am on February 19th
mhtaylor writes: I've been looking for a decoupage project that would give me a chance to do exactly what you've described---bring beautiful papers out of my storage drawers and into my life. Thank you for posting this and inspiring me!
Posted: 1:03 pm on February 16th
DudeCraft writes: Jeffery,

You really hit another one out of the park with this project! Gorgeous! As usual, I have linked to it on


Posted: 12:54 pm on February 16th
kaytet writes: lovely!
i just bought some of that really great snakeskin paper from kate's paperie to do something very similar in my living room!
Posted: 2:10 am on February 16th
Jen_W writes: Love this. I have a couple of trays that could definitely use a decoupage makeover.
Posted: 12:13 am on February 16th
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.