Dollar Store Antiqued Plaque Tutorial

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Fall has hit here in our little town. I can see the mountains from my craft room window and the trees are gorgeous!!! I love fall. Unfortunately, here in Utah it seems likes fall lasts about one week, and then the snow hits and we’re freezing our patootskies off. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but fall is seriously short around here. And I’ve got lots of spray painting to do before the snow flies.  I had a few minutes of free time today, so I decided I’d better get cranking.

While I was working, I decided to do a little tutorial for you. I love buying cheap trays from thrift stores and dollar stores, then spray painting them and using them in my home decor. I like adding vinyl lettering to mine, but you could also glue a monogram or set of vintage keys in the middle. The possibilities are endless. Use your imagination. And if you come up with a fabulous idea, make sure you let the rest of us know about it. 🙂

Dollar Store Antique Plaque Tutorial

Start with a ceramic or metal tray. I used a metal tray from the dollar store.


Spray paint it with a few coats of antique white spray paint.


Let it dry completely, and you are ready to start antiquing.

I used craft paint that I watered down. It’s cheap, and I already had it on hand. I wanted my finish rather dark, so I mixed brown and black paint together till I got the shade I wanted. It doesn’t take a lot, just a few little squirts. I mixed mine in a paper cup with a popsicle stick.

Then I added water till the paint was thin, like ink. I poured some on a paper plate just so you could see how thin it is. See how it runs all over like ink? That’s how you want it.

dollar-store-craft-tutorialNow it’s time to do some antiquing. I find that it works best to work in small sections at a time. Use your paintbrush to add some of your watered down paint to the edge of the plaque.

dollar-store-craft-tutorialImmediately wipe it off with a soft rag. I used an old t-shirt that I cut up. I found that paper towels didn’t work because they ripped and left pieces of fuzz everywhere. It should look something like this:

dollar-store-craft-tutorialContinue adding and wiping off the paint till the whole tray is antiqued.

dollar-store-craft-tutorialNow you can add some vinyl lettering, or anything else you’d like.

dollar-store-craft-tutorial Hope you have fun! No one will ever guess that you started with an inexpensive metal tray from the dollar store. 🙂


  1. Bonnie Barrucci says:

    Thanks for the idea! I needed the new idea. You can only make so many wreaths. LOL. Great for the next trip to the DT. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hey everyone there’s a new easier way to put wording on these trays. It’s called Chalk Couture. Email me if you want more information.

  3. Brandi Tamplen says:

    Where do you find the vinyl quotes?

  4. Louise Voisin says:

    I saw these trays at Dollar Tree!! I wanted to do something with them and this is perfect!! I don’t have a Cricut to make vinyl letters. Did someone say Dollar Tree has the rub on things?!

  5. would I be able to use mod podge to put a personal twist on this? I have printed out a last name and watched a tutorial on how to use mod podge on wood. Do you think it would work on this?

  6. Love it and it would go perfect in my home. Did you use any sort of primer? I ask becasue I find on things like this the paint will peel off very easy if I don’t prime them. Just wondering becasue I don’t want to use primer if I don’t need to. Lord knows I should own at least half of the Kilz company 🙂

  7. A great idea. And for those of us without fancy machines, and who really want to keep it cheap, pick up one of those rub-on saying thingy’s from DT as well. There are all kinds of them available.

  8. Hi:
    I’m a beginner DIYer and need to ask you a question about this tray. What Cricut cartridge did you use for the vinyl lettering?

    I’d appreciate, really appreciate, if you could assist me with this.

    Thank you,

  9. Beth @ Free Stylin' says:

    Wow! What a clever idea. Inexpensive but still looks like a million bucks. Thanks! I’m visiting from Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party.

  10. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    Love this, Kara! I’m printing you out! : ) I bought a few of those trays when I did my daughter’s baby shower in June and I glued oval wood pieces to the centers, spray painted chalkboard black. We did an Alice in Wonderland tea party theme so I wrote on them “Eat Me” and “Drink Me”. I’ve just pulled them out again and think I will write Halloween words on them. Love your idea for these trays, though. Congrats on your feature at Cheri’s!

  11. Super cute!!

  12. Okay, I saw those very trays at my dollar store and thought, hey, those would make a really cool craft, but what I don’t know.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I love your finished result.

  13. What a great idea. And great tutorial on glazing.

  14. What a great idea … I am going to try it! Thank you for sharing – just lovely.

  15. Great idea

  16. Great idea!

  17. Looks great!

  18. Cara@HomepsunKitchen says:

    Oh thank you for this!!! I have an old silver platter from my Grandparents that I want to redo. Plus, I have all the tools needed, woohoo!!!!

  19. ps: we’re twins that run Lolly Jane and my twin Kristi just adopted her 1st baby, a little boy. it was such a miracle and beautiful process. i really hope you get your own baby soon!! xo

  20. DARLING! visiting from sugarbee.

  21. Janet@Today's Fabulous Finds says:

    Thanks for the great idea. I know what I’ll be looking for on my next trip to the dollar store!

  22. I love this idea! I’m thinking Christmas gifts for the grandparents! I’ll have to check out your vinyl lettering!

  23. Love this idea!! It looks great, and you’d never guess it was from the dollar store! Thank you for sharing your tutorial!!

    Aimee @ Justkiddingaroundatlanta

  24. Rhonda Steed says:

    oooh love it! I was at the dollar store a couple days ago looking at these kind of trays and thinking they could be made into something cute but I didn’t know what. I guess you answered it for me 🙂

  25. April @ says:

    Great idea. I recently did a plastic framed mirror in a similar way. It was so easy. I’ll have to keep my eye out for a cheep tray now too. Thanks

  26. Looks great!!

  27. I love it Kara! I’ve seen those trays a million times and it’s never occured to me to paint them. 🙂

  28. michelles cozy cottage says:

    Wow, I woulda never knew that was a dollar store tray once you painted it! Nice job. Im a new follower, check mine out sometime!

  29. I agree whole-heartedly with the messages on your plates.

  30. Nice! I have not tried antiquing yet but this may be a good one to start with. Thanks for sharing!

  31. I love this idea. Keeping it in mind for the new house.

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