A while ago a friend asked me to make her a tray featuring labradors. I considered her request and came up with the idea of doing a silhouette of a lab, super-imposed on a star in red, yellow and black. Something that would look like an old fuel sign.
I started by choosing a frame I thought would make a nice tray. I then cut a piece of plywood to fit into the frame I'd painted bright red.
I printed out my design on 2 sheets of A4 paper and (using the charcoal on the back method) traced it onto the plywood.
I painted the dog and background using my acrylic artist paints. I loved the natural colour of the plywood so I decided to leave the star unpainted rather than do it in yellow.
When the paint was dry I gave it a sand to make it look old and worn. I tried it in the red frame and didn't really like it. There is such as thing as too much red.
So back to the drawing board. I cut some pieces of tassie oak I'd gotten for free from the hardware store - they were packers in pallets of products they were tossing out.
I did the steel wool in vinegar trick - I planned to age them with the vinegar solution then paint them and scuff them up to expose the aged timber.
Well... something went wrong. I have no idea what or why, but the wood turned black as soon as i painted the vinegar on it!
You can still see the grain, but its like I used black stain instead of vinegar. Wierd.
However, in my "go with the flow, all accidents are happy little adventures" frame of mind I decided to go with it and make it work.
I painted the bottom of the plywood grey and painted a bit of the vinegar solution over the sanded areas to age it. It went black too. But it works for me. It looks old and abused.
Then I made my first mistake.
I painted some of the vinegar on the sanded red areas. It left distinct stains.
Go with the flow. Its all part of the adventure, right?
I stained the entire red area with vinegar to try to smooth it out. The blackness bled into the star.
I sanded it out, did a bit more sanding, then decided it was good to go. Its just a bit more 'abused' than it was before.
Since this is a tray, and trays are used to carry drinks and food, I gave it a coat of estapol for protection. That's causing the shine in the photos. Please look beyond that. I'm sure some use will take care of that.
I found a couple of old bent handles I had in my collection - they'd been removed from a couple of drawers I'd used in another project.
I used some pre-rusted washers under the handles when screwing them in place, cause the smallest black screws I had were a tad too long. Didn't want the pointy end of the screws sticking out on the inside of the tray!
It worked. I actually love the little rusty outline around the handles.
The photos are giving the black a rather blue tinge which isn't there in real life. Its come up quite good. I hope my friend likes it... Do you friend?