How To Make A Polka Dot Tray

I’ve yet to meet a serving tray I didn’t like.  From small to big, simple and understated to bright and fun, I love the diverse functionality of trays with their ability to be used in a wide range of tasks.  They can be used to serve snacks to the ones you love, or just sit on a table holding treasured possessions — their possibilities are quite endless.  In today’s tutorial, a basic white melamine tray (you can find one at Target for $12.99) is given a fun face lift with office supply stickers in bright neon polka dots and a quick coat of Mod Podge.

All you’ll need is a plain white tray (feel free to use melamine or ceramic, both will work just fine), office supply stickers which you can find at any office supply store,  bottle of Mod Podge in Gloss finish, an application brush, and a ruler.

Begin by placing your first sticker in the upper left corner of your tray and begin plotting out a course from there.  Since this tray was 13″ x 18″ I figured spacing each row and dot 2″ apart would work out perfectly.  I didn’t bother marking the space where each sticker should be placed, although you definitely could if you want to be extremely precise.  I am not always the most precise person, so I just held my ruler straight against the side and placed them at each 2″ space, and it worked out fine for me and my tray.  After I had my first row of pin across though, I did place a vertical row of dots down the left side so I could have a guideline.

Once my stickers were in place, I was ready to Mod Podge.  By adding a layer of Mod Podge I ensured that the stickers wouldn’t peel off or tear over time.

If you’ve never worked with Mod Podge before, you will notice a filmy layer over your tray.  Don’t fret, it will indeed dry clear. Still, make sure you apply a thin layer and apply in even strokes.  This fine, wide brush was the perfect type of brush to use to achieve minimal brush lines.

Let your tray sit for a few hours before using it or placing anything on it, and once dry it’s ready to be used.  I wouldn’t serve food directly on the tray since it will come into contact with the Mod Podge, which isn’t toxic, but is still a type of glue.  To care for your tray clean with a soft cloth and warm soapy water.  I wouldn’t recommend putting it in the dishwasher.

While it certainly makes for a cute snack serving tray, I especially love it on my nightstand to hold my note pad, magazines and odds and ends.  It gives my usually dull bedside table an unexpected pop of color.  You may notice the smaller dots I used on the potted plant.  I originally planned on using these small dots in combination with the large dots on the tray, but I couldn’t find a pattern I was happy with that didn’t look too busy or fussy, so I used them on a set of plain white pots from IKEA instead (here’s the how-to).  The pots turned out great, like the tiny polka dot stickers were meant for them.

45 Responses to “How To Make A Polka Dot Tray”

  1. Yadira Batres June 27, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    That’s so adorable,

    I love it so cute.
    good job

    Yadi B.

  2. arundati June 27, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    what a brilliant little DIY

  3. Amanda June 27, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I love this project! Simply Charming! And the little motion stop animation was really great! I want to go home and make one right now :)

  4. Megan F June 27, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    So, just checking since I’ve got limited Modge Podge experience (and maybe I can just Google to find out, but can you actually put food ON the tray? Or would it have to be on a plate on the tray? Cute idea tho!

    • Megan F June 27, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Ack, how did I skip RIGHT over the paragraph that explained that part? I promise I tried to read it first!

  5. Katie June 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm #


  6. This project is so happy and cute. And simple! I think that’s the best part. :)

  7. Julia @ life on churchill June 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Love! And so simple too, thanks for sharing!

  8. Sinead June 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    What a super fun idea! Would love this for summer parties.

  9. Patricia June 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    very sweet, i saw this somewhere else, i’m definitely making it but using ceramic plates (appetizer sizes) as jewerly trays. Yours turned out lovely!

  10. Umm, I love this idea! So simple! Definitely adding this to my to-do list :)

  11. Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door June 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    So sweet! I’m definitely pinning this!!

  12. agnes szucs / iiiinspired June 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    hey, that’s a really cool idea! would be very nice with black dots, too… the scandinavian way…


  13. Weiya @ enjoyer of grace June 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I love this tray!!! What a great way to use those stickers! Can’t wait to try this myself now! :D

  14. eskimo*rose June 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Such a cute easy idea – funny I was just telling a guy last week that he should use white dot stickers to decorate a bowtie … he needed it for a dress up party to go as Winston Churchill – oh the uses of dot stickers are endless!!

  15. Angeline June 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Love Love!

  16. Miss B. June 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Forget the tray, where did you get such a cute glue brush?!!! Awesome d.i.y. as always!

    • Andrea Howe June 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

      haha you’re so cute Tristan! Too bad you’re no longer in my state ;) It’s actually a Mod Podge brush made specifically for using with Mod Podge and it’s awesome! I got a bunch of their stuff from their new line c/o Plaid and I’ve been pretty impressed. I’m a Mod Podging queen these days!

  17. Melissa June 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Brilliant idea. I’m going to have to check out that modge podge brush. looks amazing.

  18. Monika / MB Captured June 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    I really love this little creative project, more so with the matching pot! A great job for a rainy Sunday. Xx

  19. Nat @ Dear Little House June 28, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    Very sweet!

  20. Callie Grayson June 28, 2012 at 8:38 am #


  21. how2home June 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    This is such a brilliant DIY idea! I’ve never used Mod Podge before but this is one of those items DIY-er swear by….is it easy to work with?

  22. Zoe W. June 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Lovely. And so simple! I’ll be trying something similar this weekend. Thank you.

  23. Cora June 29, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    This is such a cute idea and perfect for my daughter’s upcoming circle themed birthday party. I might even get her to help me place the stickers. Thanks for the inspiration.

  24. Sarah Gunn June 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    What a cute, yet simple, idea. Love it!

  25. Bargainmoose June 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi there!Love your blog, SO creative! I’m really digging what you have done to this tray…It’s so simple and so cute, I wish I thought of it first! I have been looking for something colorful to spruce up our balcony and I think I found the perfect project! -Kate

  26. neo July 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Love this. My baby girl’s room is decorated with polka dots and this would be a great addition.

  27. Chez Violette August 1, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    Very nice tuto with a cute animation. Thank you !!!

  28. happytime October 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Love it!!!

  29. Cassie October 16, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    CUTE! And so inexpensive, too. I love frugal decorating ideas like this one. Thanks, Nicole. :)

  30. Barb October 18, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    I love your animations! I read in one of your posts about using a towel/fabric for a photo shoot. I’m looking for more regarding backdrops/photo shoots! Very nice blog – Thank you!


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