Spray Painted Galaxy Tray with Vinyl Decal

Sometimes a craft takes a long and winding road to get to a finish line. This craft begins over a year ago when I went to the local Goodwill Outlet and brought home a pile of junk (I try not to go often because I always bring home a pile of junk--some of it is awesome junk--but it's still junk).

So, I started out with this lovely tin duck tray. At the store it looked sturdy, mostly un-dented, fairly light (it's pay by weight), and kinda ugly. Which is a perfect recipe for a thrift makeover. I figured I'd spray paint it a solid color. So I picked out this hammered steel spray paint. I figured the texture of the paint would hide any little blemishes or scratches.

If you're curious, this lovely duck tray was brought to you by Avon. High class as always.

So I sprayed it evenly with this lovely hammered paint. The surface came out perfectly. The only problem--I had just painted it to look like a pizza pan. I never used it. It languished for months in the unfinished project pile.

So when it got nicer out, I decided to get creative with the spray paint. I have had some luck making starry galaxy patterns with spray paint, so I gave it another shot. I sprayed over the pizza pan silver with a coat of black paint and let it dry.

Then I started layering in stripes and splatters of teal, blue, purple, and silver spray paint. 

I sprayed swaths and splatters of paints until I liked the look of them. If I thought they were a bit too early 90s bright, I'd go over them again with black paint to wash them out a bit.

When I thought it was looking close to what I wanted, I started adding in silver swaths and just kept spraying paint across the tray until I thought it looked good. I'd let it dry between layers of paint and when I felt pretty good about the top of the tray, I flipped it over and painted the back of the tray, too.

I felt pretty good about my galaxy pattern, but it was a bit boring, so again, it went in the unfinished pile. This time, though, I wanted to add a decal to it, so I waited until I was cutting out a ton of silver decals (for last week's craft) to cut out several space ships from various fandoms (Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Firefly). But before I could apply a decal, I needed to add some stars to my galaxy/nebula spray paint. I sprayed some silver spray paint onto a paper plate and used the back of a round toothpick to apply dots in a random pattern to the tray.

I did my best to make the stars random, but they ended up a bit too evenly spaced out. But it still added some interest to the spray paint. I let the stars dry for a couple of hours before applying a decal.

Then, after comparing all the ship decals, the votes (from my husband) came in and we went with the original series Enterprise (from Star Trek). I opted to use a new transfer tape after last week's debacle (the transfer tape I usually use peeled the spray paint off of my project). This transfer tape is like a stickier version of contact paper--it's clear with no lines on the tape itself. (FYI, Contact Paper doesn't work very well as transfer tape, you can use it in a pinch, but it's peels up to easily, so it's hard to get the decals to stick to it.)

I cut my transfer tape a bit larger than my decal and peeled off it's paper backing and applied it to the weeded decal. I rubbed the tape onto the design, paying special attention to the places where the decal separates into multiple parts.

I peeled the tape and the decal off of the vinyl decal's paper backing and then selected a spot for my decal on the tray.

I applied the decal, rubbed it down and carefully pulled up the tape. It was a bit less sticky than the other tape I use, and this paint job (aside from the stars) had been drying for a whole year by the time I applied the decal, so no paint peeled up (YAY!).

It took a year and a couple of months, but I think I finally finished the duck tray makeover. I may seal it with some spray sealer or mod podge before using it with food or drink, but as a decorative piece, it's good to go. I can't wait to use more of my silver decals!


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