How to Upcycle Trays and Mirrors Into a Gallery Wall of Family Photographs
Vintage items are hard to pass up: They're incredibly charming and they can often be quite affordable. After all, trays and mirrors are frequently found in stacks at tag sales and flea markets for hardly the cost of a cup of coffee. You can use them all around your home, from the kitchen to the bathroom vanity, where they offer a tidy resting spot for all your jewelry or a few cocktails. But with all that charm, it's a shame to keep them hidden away—which is why we think using them as frames and displays for old family photos is the perfect solution.
Before You Start
First, clean your pans with your favorite cleanser to be sure they shine. Next, draw a rough sketch of each tray and tag with their interior measurements (this will help in the planning stages when you're ordering photocopies of your photographs). Keep your sketches handy as you move on to the next steps.
How to Decoupage a Mirror or Tray
Assign each mirror (or tray) a photo and have each photo printed onto card stock, adding an extra two to three inches to the measurements for the surface you plan to cover. Lay the card stock over the mirror, then hold them both up to the light (or a window) so that the photocopy is facing you and the shadow of the mirror shows directly behind the card stock. Reposition the photocopy until the area you wish to display is centered over the mirror. Carefully, lay both the mirror and perfectly positioned photocopy flat and use a pencil to trace around the edge of the mirror, then cut out the shape.
Apply a light coat of Mod Podge ($2, michaels.com) with a brush on the surface of the mirror, lay the photocopy on top, and press evenly over the entire surface. Card stock is thick enough that you shouldn't have any air bubbles, but keep an eye out for them just in case. Try to keep your hands as clean as possible during the decoupage process. Set it aside for 30 minutes or until it's completely dry. Once the photocopy has adhered to the mirror and is dry, apply a top coat. Try to be tidy, ensuring that the glue doesn't go too far beyond the surface of the paper onto the decorative portion of the mirror or tray. Again, set it aside for 30 minutes or until it's dry.
Arranging the Gallery Wall
Lay your finished trays on the floor, moving them all around until you've found the perfect arrangement. Next, apply Command Heavy Duty Picture Hanging Strips ($10 for 14 pairs, amazon.com) to the backs of the trays and place on your wall. Add decorative trims or ribbons, if desired, to bring out the vintage charm.