Dollar Tree Trays, Chalkboard Paint, Vinyl and What I Love Free Digital Cut File

This past fall I helped out a friend at an arts and craft fair. I was so inspired by these retro and vintage trays that she had turned into adorable pieces of art. This idea has been on my mind since then and I have been wanting to take this idea and add my own spin to it. I recently came across some small silver trays at my local Dollar Tree and I immediately thought of those re-purposed trays from the fair. These seemed like the perfect ones to "test drive", so I bought one of each and took them home to play.

Dollar Tree Silver Trays


Now that I had my trays, I wanted to transform them. She had spray painted hers, but as most of you know, this winter has not been warm, so spray painting was out of the question. I had to come up with a different option.

Sanding the surface of the tray

1.  The first thing you must do before painting metal is treat the surface to help make the paint stick. To do this, I lightly sanded the surfaces of each tray with a fine grit foam sanding block from my local hardware store. After you are finished sanding, brush or wipe off the dust before you proceed with the next step.

Painting tray with white acrylic gesso
2. After you have sanded the surface you need to further prime the surface to help the paint stick. I used a paint brush and applied a layer of white acrylic gesso and let it dry.

Painting tray with black chalkboard paint
3.  Next, I painted the entire tray with black chalkboard paint following the instructions on the bottle of paint. I applied 2 coats going in opposite directions and allowing the paint to dry between coats. Obviously, if I had been able to use spray paint I wouldn't have had to worry about brush strokes. I didn't have the choice to use spray paint because the temperatures were way below freezing here and spray paint must be used outside with good ventilation and it will freeze coming out of the can if you use it in cold temperatures. With all this being said, I ended up really liking how the paint job turned out and I think the brush strokes add a little character to the painted tray.

Applying chalk to painted tray
4. Once the paint was completely dry, I continued following the instructions for the chalkboard paint and applied chalk over the entire painted surface.

Removing excess chalk from tray
5. The final step was to wipe off the excess chalk with a rag. Repeat the above steps on all of your trays.


After I had painted all three trays, I was ready to continue playing. You may not be aware, but SRM Stickers released a line of Adhesive Vinyl in tons of great colors at the recent CHA Winter Trade Show and Conference. I knew this new product would be the perfect thing to dress up my newly painted trays. I decided to design a set of digital cut files for use with my Silhouette Cameo with a theme around loving my home.  I created this FREE digital cut file that you can download and use to create your own set of trays or to use for other craft projects. You can cut these images from vinyl, stencil material, cardstock or even patterned paper and they can be used for a full range of projects, including cards, home decor and scrapbook pages. This digital file is available in both SVG, PNG and Studio formats and you may download this digital cut file for FREE for your own personal use. Please refer to my terms of use for more information.

What I Love Free Digital Cut File by Juliana Michaels

This is a sneak peek at one of the trays that I created using the Dollar Tree trays, Chalkboard paint, SRM Stickers Adhesive Vinyl and one of the images from my What I Love Digital Cutting File. To see the entire set of trays, head on over to the SRM Stickers blog!

Dollar Tree Trays Wall Decor Sneak Peek


Metal Trays: Dollar Tree
Vinyl and Transfer Paper: SRM Stickers Adhesive Vinyl
Paint: Chalkboard Paint in Black
Gesso: Liquitex Acrylic Gesso in White
Electronic Cutting Machine: Silhouette Cameo
Digital Cutting File: Juliana Michaels | What I Love
Other: Paint Brush, Foam Sanding Block, Rag

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  1. That is a great idea ! TFS ! I think you will go with a shabby decor around this chalkboard tray...

  2. What a wonderful project and hugs to you for the cut file!

  3. Great tutorial and post Juliana! And thanks for those FREE digital files. They are awesome!

  4. What a beautiful project and thanks for sharing the file. :)

  5. Such a fabulous project! Thanks for the step by step tutorial and the cut files!

  6. What a neat project and thanks for the download and tutorial!

  7. Is there a way to still download these awesome files? :)

    1. Hi Diana! For some reason the link no longer worked. I'm not sure what happened and I apologize for the inconvenience. I have updated the link and it should work. Hopefully you see this reply.

    2. it worked! thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!


Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. ~Mother Teresa