Tray Makeover with Napkin Art and Image Transfer

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Tray makeover with napkin art and image transfer too! Super simple technique to transfer printed images to your projects!

Hello sweet friends!

How about that heat wave? I don’t know about the rest of the country but looks like we are getting ready to have one here on the coast of Virginia. These are the times I wish I had a pool in the backyard, right?! Oh well, next house, one day!!

Today I’m still working on this small haul…

project pieces before

I did the crate a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, you can see it here >> Old Crate Makeover For An Updated Look

Today I’m making over that little tray in the back left of the photo.

Tray Makeover with Napkin Art & Image Transfer

before tray

I have been wanting to use this pretty little bee napkin for something and decided to use it on this tray.

It’s perfect for summer!

napkins laying on tray

I started by removing the handles from the sides.

screwdriver and tray

Next, I painted the bottom of the tray so that it would have a similar background color as the napkin.

painting the tray bottom

I used the color Limestone because I thought it was a good match.

tray painted on bottom

Then I “whitewashed” the wood frame with the same paint. (I didn’t get a photo of that)

Next, I pulled out my Decoupage & Transfer Gel and applied a thin coat to the bottom of the tray. Be sure to pull the 2 layers off of the napkin before attaching it to the tray. You only want the thin part with the print on it.

transfer gel bottle

I used this old Pampered Chef scraper to get the paper down into the creases well. Worked great!

pampered chef scraper

scraper pressing napkin into corners

And let that dry.

napkins decoupaged to tray

Once dry, I cut the excess napkin off using an X-acto knife.

MATERIALS LIST – Tray Makeover with Napkin Art

Prefer to shop on Etsy? I have an Etsy shop also, here!


cutting excess with xacto knife

See the whitewash frame of the tray? It doesn’t look bad…but I thought it was a little busy with the print so…stay tuned. ;)

Once I removed the excess napkin, I applied one more coat of the Decoupage & Transfer Gel.

transfer gel on top of napkin

So, yep, as you can see below, I decided to paint the whole tray with the Limestone color.


AND I decided to be fun and put a quirky little “bee” quote on the back! haha!!

printed bee quote

I created this design and printed it out on my laser printer. This is the laser printer I have.

It’s so easy to do! Simply add one thin coat of the Transfer Gel to the back of the tray.

applying transfer gel to tray

Then cut the excess paper off of the design (be sure to print it in reverse) and place it on the tray.

scraper on paper

Then I used the same scraper to press any air bubbles away.

Let it dry FULLY.

graphic attached to back of tray

Once dry, use a damp sponge to wet the paper.

using sponge to dampen paper

Then gently start rubbing away the paper to reveal the print underneath attached to the tray.

rubbing paper off

It’s like magic!

paper removed showing printed lettering left on tray

Be gentle, do not rub too hard so that you remove the graphic.

how to graphic for image transfer

I’ve done a few other image transfers with this same method:

Once that was all cleaned up, I applied a coat of Tough Coat Topcoat to the front and back.

don't worry bee happy graphic on back of tray

Isn’t that cute?? What a fun surprise on the back.

front of tray finished with bee napkin and flowers napkin

Sweet little bees for summer!

lavender blooms in jar next to bee tray

floral and bee napkin decoupage on tray

up close of napkin art

up close of image transfer

top view of napkin art tray

I didn’t mention it before but I decided to line the napkins together in the middle. One was not large enough so there’d be a line somewhere anyway. I tried to make it look like the green leaves were connected. Does that make sense?

Anyway, napkins are fun! So many designs to choose from too.

PIN it to save it!

Tray makeover with napkin art and image transfer too! Super simple technique to transfer printed images to your projects!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend! These months are flying by, aren’t they?! It’s so hard to keep up with everything these days for sure! Let’s all try to slow down and take it all in.



  1. I love bees and honey decor and this tray is adorable. I think trays work as great accent piece, and my place has plenty of them around the house. I like how it is decorated on both sides of the tray. Very cool.

  2. Just LOVE what you did. It is so cute! I’m glad you decided to paint the whole tray one color because you were right- it was too busy for the decoupage piece.
    This morning I saw a honey bee on the sage plants I have in the garden. A few years ago I had a whole hive of honey bees and I love them. I talk to all living things and have for a good portion of my life (no straight jackets have been offered so far :-) ), so I greeted the honey bee. She was quick to say, “sorry, no time to chat. I’m beesy!” and then flew off. Oh well.

    1. Hi Caye! Yes, I’m so glad I went ahead and painted the whole thing too! And I love that you do that, I’m kind of the same way so I get it completely! lol xoxo

  3. I love this tray! I also like it better with the whole frame painted. It’s adorable! Happy Summer!

    1. Thanks, Debra!! Yay, that was a win it seems, so glad I painted that part too! Happy Summer to you as well!! Are you having this heatwave too?? xo

  4. Oh, Nancy! It BEE adorable!!! I love the way that turned out. What a sweet tray for summertime. I can see glasses of lemonade on that one. Does that decoupage transfer gel make it kinda waterproof “ish”?

    1. Aww, haha, love that, Michele!! And yes, can totally see that too! Yes, the Transfer gel is a “sealer” as well. You can always add a topcoat over it though for extra protection. I do that sometimes depending on what it is. Or I skip the Transfer gel on top and just go with topcoat. :) xo

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