Friday, March 27, 2015

Apartment Decorating: A Paper Enhanced Acrylic Tray: An Inexpensive Custom Touch

I had days to wait for the truck to arrive with our furniture and housewares. I had an empty apartment and dreams of decorating. I accomplished a lot of "setting up an apartment" errands and did what I could to pass the time.  I visited Michaels Craft store every day as I plotted a way to make a wall of mirrors, evaluated their stock of picture frames and considered the color palate for our new nest.
You can see the promotional color board (above) that the apartment complex chose. The painted walls are biscuit (shown above as off white but in reality far more deep beige), the carpeting is a warm chestnut, the kitchen has dark walnut cabinets with stainless steel appliances and the kitchen and bathroom floors are linoleum, but look like a soft barn wood grey. 

It's a strong color palette and I like it, but it leans more toward Pottery Barn than Shabby Chic. I wanted to make something that would make the color palate seem a little more friendly. I put together a collection of fabrics that I was working with and took a picture. Whenever I am shopping, I referred to this picture on my phone. 
From the top, a pink and tan stripe fabric (tablecloth), 2 yards of fabric: gray with white lace-like flowers (use TBD), cream/tan stripe pillow cushion (couch), darker brown/gold/lt teal print cushion (chair - actually the best match for the apartment coloring), gray & white print cloth napkins, taupe/white oak leaf (dish towel) and pink/gray/cream patchwork (throw). My "mood board" so far was leaning a little feminine, so when I was shopping for paper for this project, I tried to bring in the colors of the darker print chair. For me, that translated to polka dots in tan and gold.

I was impatient to unpack boxes, but they were on a truck somewhere in the Great Plains, so I thought a craft project would help me bide my time. I found two acrylic platter in the party department at Michaels (on clearance for $2.50 each) and then picked up a foam sponge (59 cents), Elmer's white glue ($1.89?) and two sheets of scrapbook paper.
The only real qualification when selecting the paper is making sure that it is large enough to cover the center oval surface area of the platter. Also try not to choose a paper that has actual texture or depth. Texture gives the place for the glue to rest and it won't dry well.  

Choose a print that will enhance your decor. A bright pink and green toile. A classic red plaid. A dreamy tye-dye. Once you start to look, you'll be surprised how many scrapbook papers look like fabric. Most sheets are just 59 cents. How can you go wrong? Peel the manufacturer label carefully off the back of the platter.
Lay the platter face down and then lay the paper (printed side down) onto the bottom of the platter. The bottom oval of the platter is where you will glue the paper. Hold the paper steady and rub your finger around the rim of the center lip. This will trace the oval and give you an easy mark to follow when cutting the paper. Cut out the oval following the dent on the paper.
Dispense a thin stream of glue around the center oval on the bottom of the platter. Spread it evenly with the foam brush. Place the paper oval printed side down (so that the design will show through the plastic when you turn the platter over) onto the glue.  Smooth the paper and try to eliminate any bubbles by gently sliding your finger across the paper. Allow to dry. 
Now you have a designer-touch platter that is still food safe. The glue and paper are on the bottom of the acrylic tray and you can arrange the fruit, cheese and crackers on top and all's well. I intend to cut a piece of adhesive felt (also available at Michaels for about $1.80) and adhere it to the bottom of the platter, over the paper. It will give it a nice, slide on the counter, finish. Just be sure to hand wash the platter carefully.

In my oh-so-empty apartment, my cute new polka dot tray looks great and makes things feel a bit more like home. A plastic cup "vase" of fresh daffodils helps too.

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