Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center (perfect for gift giving!)

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Being able to see what something can be, instead of what it is, is so much fun. Let the imagination soar! This repurposed tray turned message center is a perfect example of that. 

Here is what is looked like when I brought it home from the thrift store…

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

And now….

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

Let’s make a message center out of an old repurposed tray today! :)

How fun is it to take something and turn it into something else entirely?
It’s lots of fun! I love furniture makeovers but I think I love repurposing little thrifty treasures almost as much.
Just like the Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center I’m sharing below.


And the side view….

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

It had a bit of water damage there in the middle that I had already tried to sand down. (it bubbled up)
I ended up having to take my electric sander to get it smooth.
But the tray was just 3.25. Can’t beat that!
And I had no clue what I was going to do with it once I got it home. ;)

But it came to me quickly, actually.
I decided it would make a neat message center and then things just fell nicely into place.
It doesn’t always go that way and I’m so glad when a project just rolls along smoothly.
Aren’t you?  Sure makes it fun and enjoyable!
They do most of the time but every once in awhile…grrr. ;)

I’ll include any affiliate links in the text below for products I’ve used.

I started out by painting the repurposed tray with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color, Duck Egg Blue.
(and removing the handles….I’ll save those for another project down the road)

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I then gave it a dry brush of white along the outside edges to bring out the detail on the sides.
Dry brushing is just that. Taking a dry paint brush, (I like to use a chip brush for this) dipping just the edges in the paint and then wiping away most of the paint on a paper towel or paper plate.
Then just lightly run the brush over your project where you want the dry brush effect.

Once that was all dry, I used the stencil pictured above to create a design on the inside of the tray, also in white.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

And since I use and re-use things, I even reused the trim I had applied to this little dresser I recently gave a new makeover to.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I had to trim it a little to make a frame for the chalk board I had planned on the repurposed tray.
But it worked out perfectly.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I painted it white and laid it out where I wanted it to go.
Then I marked the area so I could paint it with the chalk board paint.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

Which, by the way, is simply Graphite colored Chalk Paint. (Annie Sloan)
Yep! It makes a great chalkboard.
I applied 3 thin coats, drying well in between.
You can see how I turned this old print into a chalkboard and this old mirror into a chalkboard using the same paint.

Once that was dry, I attached the frame pieces with E6000 glue.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I also added these little clips for holding notes, papers and such.
I sprayed them white to match and used E6000 for them too.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

You can screw them in but I didn’t have short enough screws.
Plus, that E6000 isn’t going anywhere! It’s tough stuff.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I hung a string from a screw and tied chalk to the end for note making.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I used a scrap piece of wood, painted white, for holding letters and mail that needs to go out.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

It is also attached with E6000.
The hooks are screwed into the bottom for keys and things.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

Here is a close up of the white paint dry brushing on the sides….

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I love how it brought out all the pretty detail.

So that is it! Pretty simple little project.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

Perfect for hanging by your entrance/exit door.

Like the garage or front door….

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

And I’m still loving doing laundry in my brand new laundry room. :)
If you missed that makeover, you can see it here, Coastal Farmhouse Laundry Makeover Reveal.

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

I bet no one would ever guess that was an old repurposed tray. What do you think?

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

So as you can see, I sometimes have a vision for things immediately.
But sometimes, it takes a little time. I usually pick something up at the thrift store knowing it can be something great.
Even if I don’t know what that something great is yet! ;)

So think outside of the box. Try to look past what you see, and imagine what it can be instead.
Great way to decorate your home on a budget.
Or even create a unique gift for someone.

PIN this Repurposed Tray to save it for later! 

Repurposed Tray Turned Message Center

Want to see even more repurposed treasures? Click here to see a bunch more.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

See you all next week with a fun NEW repurpose!

(Update!! See it now, here!)



  1. OhMyGosh. Love it !
    Who had thought , taking an old worn out serving try and turning it into something so useful and Fabulous. What a clever idea and such an inspiration

  2. Your tray turned chalkboard/messageboard looks great. I love that light green paint and the dry-brushing on the sides looks fantastic! That is a cute, up-dated repurposing job!

  3. I usually love your projects but this time I would have wanted to keep the tray as a tray, mostly cuz I love the designed pieces on the frame of it. I may have painted it all a coppery color and put one of those cute metal pieces in it as have seen ones with patterns. I just never have a need for that organizer.

    1. Oh yes, a coppery color would have been nice too! I love copper in the Fall. Might have to do something with that soon! :) xo

  4. Now THAT is adorable and perfect! You are so good! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Question, do you know if you can use other chalk paint as actual chalkboard? Does it erase well?

    1. Thanks Julie! And yep, absolutely!! I’ve made chalkboards with several of the Annie Sloan colors. I don’t know about other brands though. I do, almost always, use the “Graphite” for black chalkboards because it’s the perfect color and not as black as the “chalkboard” paints you can buy. It erases and acts just like a regular chalkboard. (and that goes for any of the colors too) :)

  5. Super cute and useful my friend! :) E6000 is my go-to glue also. :)
    Don’t forget to document the shopping trip with Christy. :)

  6. You’re so clever! Most people detest sanding. However, I embrace it. I hardly ever have a “vision” when I start with a piece and will even take it to work so I can get inspired or bond with it. How sad is that!? SO, when I start on something, sanding and prepping gives me a chance to feel what the piece wants to look like (I know..strange) but sanding gives me one on one with it and eventually I am rocking and rolling. I love painting anything and you are such an inspiration! You and Christie have fun and shop ‘til you drop! XOXO

    1. Aw thanks, Cecilia! :) I love your process and the way you think about it!! We had so much fun!! Look our for the video soon! xoxo

  7. Hi Nancy,
    I love this little project. The details on the side of that tray just really make it happen. What a cute project. Way to go girlfriend!

  8. Hi Nancy, what a great idea for this message center. You always amaze me with your ingenuity and ability. This is something that really caught my eye is necessary and I actually think I might be able to do it. I’m a senior and my hands aren’t that good anymore but there isn’t anything heavy or hard to handle. I love many of the other things you’ve done but always feel that I wouldn’t be able to do them. Maybe I need to prove to myself that I can if I try. If I make this, I will send you a picture and remind you of who I am. Thanks for your unending posts and willingness to share and teach. Lorraine

    1. Hi Lorraine! Aw, thank you so much! Yes, I love your attitude about that! Just try and I bet you will surprise yourself! And yes, please send a picture if you make one. I would love to see it!! :) xoxo

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