Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

5:00 AM

I have a great idea for upcycling an old wooden tray (I think it was a silverware tray) to show you today!


I'm joining up with my fellow Do-It-Over-Designers today to take something old and/or unused and 'do it over' into something new. I will share my post, and then you'll be able to hop around to the other ladies blogs and see what they have done over! 😄


Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Let me show you what this looked like when I found it.


Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

I found it at the thrift store, it was just $2.19! 

It has a divider that runs down the center and at first, I was thinking of just hanging it sideways like this and using it as a shelf but the straight sides and deeper tray area meant that it was a prime candidate to become a shadow box.


But to be a shadow box it needed more compartments!


I had some strips that I had cut off an old canvas painting for some reason... I don't remember why now... Oh! I used the canvas board to mount a poster that I was giving to a friend for Christmas!


Anywaaaay, I had these strips of canvas board that were the perfect size, I just needed to cut them into the lengths I needed.


Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

I used E-6000 glue to adhere them into the box and let them dry overnight. Glue was enough for this project because there won't really be anything sitting on the shelves, they are just there to create little cubby holes to embellish and decorate.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Then I painted the whole thing with a pretty blue-green spray paint called Catalina Mist.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Once I had that done, it was time to get creative... the best part!!


When I'm doing projects that have a certain theme, ocean or beach in this case, I like to pick through my craft supplies and gather up a bunch of things that I think I might like to use. So I ended up with a bunch of things that fit into the beachy theme.


Then I can sit with my goodies and play around with different arrangements.


For the first cubby I worked on, I chose to add sand. I had some sand from my trip a couple of years ago to Disneyland. Of course, while we were there we went to the beach!


To add the sand I just used white craft glue and spread it around where I wanted the sand to be and then sprinkled some on top of the glue.


Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Then I added a clear glass bubble and a bunch of shells in all sizes.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

For the next area, I wanted the look of a watercolor background. I found a "sailing" music sheet and set to work creating a little watercolor! I just watered down some regular craft paint!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

I actually watched a Youtube video to learn how to paint waves. It was pretty easy, what do you think of mine? 😊

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Then I glued it to the back of the box.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Now, you know that I save e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g! It comes in super handy for projects like this! I had this postcard from the Portland Oregon antique show in 2001, isn't it cute?! I made a color copy (so as to not ruin the original) and cut out the adorable little cherub in his boat!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

See how cute?! Oh my goodness, I may have squealed in delight with this one! haha!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

I gathered up some old children's wooden blocks to use.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

I painted them white with aqua accents.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Did you notice the little friend on top of the blocks?! Yes, that's a real tiny crab. No, I did not kill him, I had him in my supplies along with some teeny-tiny starfish and a seahorse! I have no idea where I got them, I've had them for years... most likely from a garage sale!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

In these two cubbies I used an image from an old desk calendar and a couple of shells.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

The sailor is a copy of an old photograph I have. And there's one of those tiny starfish on the message in a bottle I made!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

I used one of the puffy stickers from this winter snowflake sticker sheet. The ones next to my thumb look like starfish to me.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Let's see, what's next...

Oh yes, I used stamps to stamp out a little quote and some white heart buttons next to that.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

For the last cubby, I used some pieces I cut from some old packaging. The other side had a great design that reminded me of waves!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

See what I mean?! I cut two to fit inside the cubby and then used dimensional tape to layer them on top of each other.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Finally, I embellished one corner of the box with a burlap leaf piece that reminded me of seaweed, a shell that someone had cut, and a vintage velvet ribbon bow.

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

And here is my finished beach-themed shadow box!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box

Be sure to check out all the other great projects by clicking on the links for each blog below!

Birdz of a Feather

Cloches & Lavender

Exquisitely Unremarkable

Little Vintage Cottage

Pandora’s Box

Purple Hues & Me

Unique Creations by Anita

My Hubbard Home

The Apple Street Cottage


This also checks off another item from the list of recent thrift shop finds.


thrift shop flip lineup
These rattan baskets are next!


thrift shop flips

I hope you enjoyed this project! I would love it if you would share by pinning!! 😘

PIN ME!

Upcycled Divided Tray to Beach Themed Shadow Box



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  1. Brilliant re-use Tania! I love the beachy theme and the colour; so inspirational.

    By the way, I think the puffy sticker you used is actually a sand dollar :). I don't know how I know that or why they call it that - there isn't a beach in site around here.

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  2. Really cute project! It's like you took all the elements of a well designed scrapbook page and put them into wall art. Well done :)

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  3. Really cute project! It's like you took all the elements of a well designed scrapbook page and put them into wall art. Well done :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, I thought it would have made a good scrapbook page too :)

      Tania

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  4. This is incredible Tania! I'm so impressed with every one of the creative DIY vignettes in your upcycled beach theme tray. Talk about attention to detail and creative upcycling!

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  5. Cute idea and would be perfect in a Cape Cod Cottage (That's where I am right now!!!). Great color and cute little eye catching trinkets!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It would be cute in a Cape Cod Cottage!

      Tania

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  6. I love this! Each little compartment has a story to tell. The attention to detail is awesome!
    Great job!

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  7. This is just too adorable. I the the vintage theme you chose, those old photos and themes have so much character. Well done.

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  8. This turned out so cute! I especially love your wave sheet music and the cut-out from that old Portland antique sale! (I have that same postcard!!!)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Vikki! It's funny how that post card is now vintage!!

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  9. This is absolutely adorable! All your little details really make it special. I'd love for you to share it at the Sundays on Silverado link party, which is open now. :-)

    Niky @ The House on Silverado

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Niky! I will hop over and join the party!

      Tania

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  10. Love how you incorporated so many different, odd bits to create a cohesive theme. So clever

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I have so many odd bits in my stash it's easy :)

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