Project: Paper tile bistro tray
Stack and glue coordinating paper squares to make tiles for the surface of a wooden serving tray or any unfinished wooden item. The tray is coated with a translucent white acrylic stain that allows the grain of the wood to show through. Each tile is made by layering the paper with a simple decoupage medium, which also works as glue. Once all the tiles are completed, several coats of the same medium seal the tiles to the tray surface.
• unfinished pine tray
• white acrylic stain
• medium size paintbrush (for stain)
• cloth or paper to cover work surface
• 1 sheet Barcelona white cotton rag paper
• 1 sheet lilac drawing paper
• 1 sheet Thai spiral lace medium
• decoupage medium
• metal ruler
Step 1 Using a sponge brush, evenly coat the pine tray with acrylic white stain and let dry. It is easiest to begin with the inner area of the tray, then turn it over and paint the exterior, as shown. Acrylic dries quickly, so paint carefully and correct any drips immediately. Extremely porous wood may require a second coat.
Step 2 Measure the interior dimensions of the tray bottom. Use these dimensions as a guide to the largest size paper squares you will need. Here, the tray bottom was divided into six segments of equal size. Create graduated squares from each of the three papers using scissors, or, for a natural edge, by tearing along the edge of a metal roller. You might also choose to line the tray bottom with a sheet of paper and then sprinkle small paper tiles on top, for a "confetti" effect.
Step 3 Make tiles by gluing the graduated squares of paper together using decoupage medium. It is best to dab glue on each square with a tapping motion rather than trying to evenly coat the whole tile. Dabbing will help keep the paper from warping; so will covering the tiles with a weight or heavy book as they dry. Let the tiles dry for at least an hour before applying them to tray surface.
Step 4 Adhere tiles to tray surface with decoupage medium, then add two very light coats over the top of the tiles to seal.
• For an icy or matte look, add a layer of vellum or white tissue paper and then seal with decoupage medium or "paint" with coloured tissue paper on tiles by wetting small pieces with glue and brushing onto the surface of the tile. Layer edges or hues (yellow over blue, for example) to mix colours.
• Add pretty texture by using a needle to pierce geometric patterns in the topmost paper squares before layering tiles.
• You may want to sand the tray lightly to smooth the surface before you begin. To be sure the tiles will lay out symmetrically, cut some plain paper to the same size planned for the tiles and lay it over the tray. Adjustments are then very simple to make - before you have cut the beautiful paper you have made or purchased for the tiles.
Excerpted from Paper House: Handmade Paper Crafts for your Home by Mary Ann Hall. Copyright 2001 by Mary Ann Hall. Excerpted with permission by Rockport Publishers Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.