Recycled Vintage Printer's Tray

A vintage printers’ tray makes a great display centre for precious little collections.

Once you’ve sourced an old wooden printers’ tray (TradeMe regularly turns up options, or check out local markets, antique or junk stores) the beauty of this project is that the only DIY involved is painting. Getting a brush into all the little compartments of the tray would test the patience of a saint, so we highly recommend using a Colorpak Aerosol Spraygun, available at Resene, which has an attachment you fill with paint turning any colour into a spray paint. You can choose to paint the tray in one colour, or add some feature colours from Resene’s testpots range, to complement your décor and add a little pop!

you will need:

• A wooden printers’ tray
• Sandpaper and/or primer
• Colourpak Aerosol Spraygun (optional)
• Small paintbrush
• Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen for a low sheen finish, or Resene Lustacryl for a semi-gloss finish, in your choice of colours. We used Resene Surf Crest, Resene Geraldine, Resene Cornflower and Resene Buttermilk.
• Spirit level
• Drill
• Screws for attaching tray to wall


1 Clean the tray with a toothbrush and warm soapy water to remove dust and dirt from the many nooks and crannies.

2 Instead of sanding we sprayed the entire tray with Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer adhesion primer, which adheres to almost any surface and provides a paint-ready finish without the need for sandpaper. Love this!

3 Spray tray with your base colour. We used Resene Surf Crest. Apply a thin layer at a time to avoid drips, leave to dry and then repeat with a second coat. You may also need a third coat to get an even cover. Rotate your tray between coats to help with an even paint finish.

4 Paint individual compartments with feature colours using a small paintbrush. Allow to dry in between coats.

5 Drill a hole through the top left and top right compartments. Position the tray where you want it on the wall, using your spirit level to make sure it is straight. Ideally, position the tray so the screw holes line up with studs in the wall. Also, make sure the tray will hang within reach of your children so they can organise their treasures. Using your drill, screw the tray into the wall.

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