French transfer experiment: Butler’s tray

Recently, I found a large wooden tray, stained dark brown, at a thrift store. As opposed to many of my finds–this I actually needed! Especially with all the food-carting trips I make from the kitchen to the patio in summer. I had a little transformation in mind.

I spray primed the tray, painted it a cream color, and used some dark brown wood stain to give it a little age. Then it was ready to embellish.

I’ve been wanting to try that Elmer’s glue/ModPodge image transfer method that’s going around Pinterest, so I found a great French sign on The Graphics Fairy. It advertises pates and other food stuffs. The technique is that you cover the area of a paper you’re going to print with a coat of Elmer’s School Glue, let it dry  thoroughly, then print with an ink jet printer on top of it. (Remember to print the image in reverse if it has lettering in it.)

Then you apply ModPodge to the area on the object you want to transfer the image to, press the image (ink side down) onto the wet ModPodge and burnish it to get all the air bubbles and creases out. Once that paper is very dry (I let it dry overnight)—wet it again and either gently rub off the paper or lift it off if you can.

I made the mistake of printing on card stock, which was advised by the tutorial I was following, but I’m thinking this would work much better with regular paper. I had a tough time getting the thick card stock wet enough without wetting the ModPodge underneath and having it come off with the paper. As you can see, some parts of the image did come off—and because I had to keep wetting it the black ink turned blue-grey. But you know, I ended up really liking it in all its imperfection!

To finish it off, I taped and painted a thin blue-grey around the perimeter of the tray and spray sealed it.

The little Italianate metal candlesticks are another thrift store find–they were yellow with wonderful rust. So I gessoed them, keeping as much of the rust visible as I could, aged them by dabbing on a bit of cream acrylic paint and sealed them. I’ve got some thin European grey-blue tapers buried around here somewhere that will just be perfect for them!

One of my next transfer projects will use this same technique with regular paper, hopefully with more predictable results. Maybe a flower box!

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