How to Paint a Metal Tray

Turn a plain tray into something a little more personal with painted-on stripes. Choose colors that match your decor and start brushing!

What You'll Need

  • Metal tray
  • Drop cloth
  • Tack cloth
  • Painter's tape in varying widths
  • Sandpaper
  • Artist's paintbrush or foam brush
  • Rust-inhibiting primer
  • Semigloss latex paint
  • Clear polyurethane spray

Step 1

Clean surface of tray with a tack cloth. Use painter's tape to mask stripes across the bottom of the tray and up the sides. Yellow and green tape from FrogTape work well on a variety of surfaces, including metal. Press the tape firmly to the surface to ensure paint doesn't seep underneath. This galvanized tray is slightly rough, but if your metal is shiny and smooth, first sand areas to be painted with fine-grit sandpaper and wipe with a tack cloth.

Step 2

Using an artist's paintbrush or foam brush, apply a rust-inhibiting primer between the taped lines. Drag the brush parallel to the tape to prevent paint from seeping under. When dry, apply a variety of colors in semigloss latex paint. Remove tape when dry.

Step 3

To protect the painted lines, spray a clear polyurethane sealer over the surface. Let dry. Because paint is not food-safe, place food on dishware before setting it in the tray.

More Clever Paint Projects

Add pattern to a plain tray with this simple stencil technique. Our secrets to success will show you how to stencil like a DIY pro.

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