Ocean Waves Decorative Tray

As I have mentioned before, I love the beach and the ocean. The salty air, the turquoise colors of the shimmering water, the texture and variations in the beach wood that washes to shore, not to mention the white dust the sand leaves behind, all inspired this decorative tray. I wanted to bring the pattern in the waves as they roll onto shore, into this piece.

What you will need…

  1. A wooden tray of choice
  2. Chalk paint
  3. Wax (found next to the chalk paint at the craft store)
  4. Painter’s tape
  5. Squeegee
  6. Clean rags
  7. Sponge brushes of various sizes
  8. Small paintbrush
  9. Stencil

So, let’s get started…

I recommend mapping out the stencil you plan on using to ensure it will fit properly, before starting this project.

Step 1

Tape off the bottom of the tray (or anything you don’t want stained). Use a squeegee to press the tape down in the corners and along any edges to prevent leaking.


Step 2

Lightly sand the edges of the tray, especially around the handles, to remove any frayed wood (my son eagerly took over this part of the project).


Step 3

Make sure all surfaces you do not want to be stained are protected. Then, apply wax stain to all exposed surfaces (including the bottom), with a clean rag and sponge brush. Remove excess. Let dry. Apply a second coat and repeat process above.


Step 4

Remove the tape. Now you will be applying tape to all the surfaces covered in wax, pressing edges with the squeegee. Apply the base color to exposed wood. Allow for drying time. Apply a second coat and again allow to dry. Remove tape and ensure edges are clean, touching up paint/wax stain as needed. Once base paint is dry, you can begin stenciling. I used a shimmer paint for some the areas in my pattern. Allow paint to dry as you work the stencil across the tray. This takes time, but worth it in the end. Allow to fully dry.


Step 5

Lightly apply white wax to all surfaces and wipe away excess with a clean rag. Repeat until you get your desired look. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as salty beach air wears and tears at surfaces unevenly. I added a little extra white wax in the corners.


The wax will make the surface water-resistant, but be mindful that the finish will not hold up to being soaked. That being said…




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