{Ditto} DIY Challenge: A Painted Tray {Month 1}

{ditto} DIY: Inspired Design For the Rest of Us

Note:  Those of you who like LWSL on Facebook or Instagram probably already know that my family was in a serious car accident on Friday morning.  I will be sharing more about the accident on Wednesday, after I’ve had a little more time to process it all, but for now I just wanted to let you know that we are all doing fine, and that we managed to walk away without major injuries only by the grace of God.  Thank you all so much for your concern, prayers, & support.  For today I am simply happy to share my first Ditto DIY project!

Welcome to our first {ditto} DIY challenge!

Once a month, beginning today, nine very different bloggers are attempting to recreate in our own homes a project or design element inspired by a haute couture design selected by Darlene Weir of Fieldstone Hill Design.  For more details on what {ditto}DIY is all about, check out this post, and be sure to start making plans to join the fun for our challenge next month!

{ditto} DIY: Inspired Design for the Rest of Us

In addition to Darlene, the participating bloggers include:

Ruth @ Living Well Spending Less
Cindy @ Skip to My Lou
Jen @ Balancing Beauty & Bedlam
Edie @ Life in Grace
Rachel @ Surviving the Stores
Karin @ Trophy Mom Diaries
Lauren @  I am THAT Lady
Kelly @ View Along The Way
Melissa @ The Inspired Room

In case you’ve forgotten, this was our first inspiration photograph:

ditto DIY

{A chic painted tray & vanity vignette, from the home of nina bergsten, photography by marcus lawett.}

The {ditto} DIY Challenge:

Create your own painted tray and vanity vignette.

Here is my first {ditto}DIY project….

Ditto DiY Finished Tray 01….a useful office supply tray.

Ditto DiY Challenge--Finished Tray

Ditto DiY--the breakdown

How to refinish a shiny laquered tray {Ditto DIY, Month 1}I was a little nervous when I saw this first challenge because I nearly have a panic attack at the idea of anything cluttering up my nice empty horizontal surfaces.  I knew right away that any project I came up with was going to have to serve a purpose other than simply looking pretty or I wouldn’t be able to stand it.   While digging through my desk drawer for yet another paper clip, I had a lightbulb moment:   A pretty display of my most-used office supplies!

The first step for my project was re-finishing a shiny red tray I had purchased for 70% off at the Target after-Christmas sale a few years ago.  I’m not normally a very careful spray-painter, but for this project I took a little more time to make sure it turned out right.  I first roughed up the surface with sandpaper, then shook out & vacuumed up the excess dust and finally wiped it clean with a dry rag.  Next, I primed it with spray primer.  After letting the primer dry for an hour I sprayed the first coat of color and let it dry overnight.  Once the first coat of color was completely dry, I sanded it with extra fine sand paper and once again shook out, then vacuumed the dust.  I finished with a second coat of color and let it dry another 24 hours.

Pencil Cup Makeover {Ditto DiY Challenge, Month 1}My next step was gathering the items to place in my tray.  I swiped some small square dipping sauce dishes (originally purchased at Pottery Barn) from my china hutch to hold my paper clips & erasers.  I also gathered a beautiful tea light candle holder and an Alice in Wonderland dish that my sister had given me for my birthday a few weeks ago.  I found a mini vase at the dollar store, and then I “splurged” on a new business card holder from Amazon.com.

Since the pencil cup I was using was perfectly functional but not very pretty, I decided to jazz it up with a little ModPodge and washi tape.  For that project I cut up some newsprint from magazines then shellacked it in place using the ModPodge and a paint brush.  I let it dry completely, then added a pretty border of washi tape around the top.  I finished it off by adding one more layer of ModPodge.  Finally I replaced my mis-matched assortment of pens with all-black pens and pencils for a more uniform look.

Once I had gathered all my elements and the tray was dry & ready to go, I worked on arranging it all, then added a simple (and super inexpensive) bouquet of lime green pom flowers.

I honestly couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, despite my fears that it would be too “cluttery.”   I think the fact that it is all contained within the tray is what makes it work for me. I’ve had it sitting on my desk for two weeks now and it hasn’t bothered me at all.  It is also easy to simply move the tray when I need the whole surface of the desk for sewing or crafting!

I actually ended up liking the tray idea so much that I created a second vignette in my bathroom to hold my makeup and jewelry using a silver tray I had also purchased at the Target after Christmas sale. For that one I used a square vase and tin tray from the dollar store to hold my brushes and makeup, then added a sweet picture of my girls, a milk bath candle and a little jewelry stand (also a gift from my sister!)  I love how that one turned out too!

Ditto DiY Challenge-Vanity Tray

I love them both so much that I can’t even decide which one I like better.  This challenge definitely stretched me to re-think what I consider “clutter.”  I love that both trays are beautiful to look at but also extremely useful for my day-to-day needs.

Ditto DiY Painted Tray Challenge

And that’s it for MY {ditto} DIY challenge project….be sure to go check out everyone else’s sites to see what they came up with!  We are all very different, so it should be fun to see all the different ideas and interpretations of this first assignment.

Ruth @ Living Well Spending Less
Cindy @ Skip to My Lou
Jen @ Balancing Beauty & Bedlam
Edie @ Life in Grace
Rachel @ Surviving the Stores
Karin @ Trophy Mom Diaries
Lauren @  I am THAT Lady 
Kelly @ View Along The Way
Melissa @ The Inspired Room

Remember that beginning next month (on Monday, June 3rd) we are inviting you ALL to join the {ditto} DIY challenge! Be sure to visit Darlene to catch a peek of NEXT month’s {ditto} DIY challenge so that you ALL can join the fun!  (Hint: We’ll be going for the GOLD!)

UPDATE:  See my June {ditto} DIY project HERE!

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Which tray do you like better?   Do you have any ideas for how you have done it differently?  What would you consider to be your own personal design style?

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{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Lauren May 6,

    Ruth – both are GREAT ideas! I especially LOVE the one with the makeup on it!

    • Ruth Soukup May 6,

      Thanks Lauren! I honestly can’t choose a favorite–I love them both!

  • Kouponing Kayla May 6,

    This is such a cute idea! I am definitely going to make one of these for my desk. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ruth Soukup May 6,

      Thanks Kayla! I hope you’ll join our challenge next month!

  • Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam) May 6,

    So fun! I love that they are both so different, but so useful. :)

    • Ruth Soukup May 6,

      Thanks Jen!

  • Anjana @ At The Corner Of Happy & Harried May 6,

    Both of them turned out so pretty!

    • Ruth Soukup May 6,

      Thanks Anjana! I hope you’ll join our challenge next month!

  • Diane | An Extraordinary Day May 6,

    Both are lovely in their own way.
    I love the everyday beauty with practicality of the desk tray and the bit of glamour in the powder room tray. You definitely rocked this one!!

  • Melissa @ The Inspired Room May 6,

    Those look fantastic! Both are lovely! Glad your family is ok after the accident, yikes!!

  • Claire @ A Little Claireification May 6,

    Ruth – I felt like my heart literally stopped when I read your opening words. I was almost too scared to keep reading. You know I follow you on FB and Instagram but somehow missed it on FB {and of course I struggle to remember to be on Instagram!}. Oh my gosh. I am so very thankful that you are all ok. Seriously, a few tears of gratefulness to God going over here right now.
    Next {now that my heart rate is back to normal} 😉 I absolutely love both of your trays but I especially love the desk organization because it is so beautiful AND functional. Something I would use every day. I love it. {as opposed to the bathroom tray which is gorgeous but grrrrl, you know I spend half my life in yoga pants and a hair clip and never look in the mirror. LOL}
    XOXO, Claire

  • Kristen @ Joyfullythriving May 6,

    Oh, my! I, too, was startled by your accident news, and am so thankful that your family is safe. Your trays are lovely, too! What a great way to kick off this dyi series!

  • Kelly @ View Along the Way May 6,

    Love both your trays but I think the bathroom one is my favorite! I love using trays in decorating because to me it seems like they help with clutter by corralling everything that’s necessary within one small area. That applies when you use them smartly, like you did, and not just to be pretty, like I did. :) Mine is useless. haha

  • edie May 6,

    They’re fabulous, dearie!!

  • Paula May 6,

    I hope that you and your family on on the mend. I love both your trays but that beautiful one for your desk is my favorite!

  • Sharon B. May 7,

    I love both your trays! Pretty AND functional. I’m also really enjoying the ditto challenge and seeing what you all come up with. Fun ideas! Sharon

  • Kelly @ Corner of Main May 7,

    So cute. I love this challenge. Everyone’s trays look so pretty. It’s inspiring me to try it also. =)

  • Sinea Pies May 8,

    This tray is GORGEOUS! Pinned it and featuring it on next week’s Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. ♥

    Ducks ‘n a Row

  • Cathy May 8,

    The OCD in me LOVES this! Super cute too! =)

    I would love for you to share this and link up to my TGIF Link Party! The party is open every Friday and closes at midnight on Wednesday night. Who knows, you just might be featured next week!

    I follow back: bloglovin, Facebook, and Twitter. =)


    Hugs, Cathy

  • Diana @ Moms Living Leaner May 9,

    Love the robin egg blue color!! When some neighbors moved out across the street last week they were throwing away an old hutch. My husband and I swipped it with hopes of me refinishing it someday..perhaps with that same blue color!

  • KendraKay May 10,

    I love how clean the first tray looks because you squared everything on the tray! Can’t wait to explore the rest of your blog. :)

  • Anonymous June 3,

    Beautiful! I love the blue you used.

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