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How to create a silver chalk board tray

How to create your own silver chalk board tray
How to create your own silver chalk board trayModel photography by David Norbut

Are you dreaming of making something elegant yet functional? Something that screams sophistication but whose heart is just folk? How about creating a silver tray that has the power to expose your deepest secret, declare your love or just tell your husband to pick up bread? Well, a simple flea market find and some chalkboard paint can be used to create such an object as shared with us by artist and craftswoman Leila Marvel of Wilmington, Delaware. Leila creates assemblage art from found objects and eco friendly jewelry which can be found at her website Here's the skinny on making your own very cool tray:


  • Vintage silver / metal tray

  • Chalkboard paint / chalkboard spray (The kind used in this tutorial is an acrylic paint by FolkArt which is non-toxic and safe)

  • Face mask
Painter’s tape if desired
Flat paint brushes / paint sponge brush

  • Wet cloth

  • Chalk

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Silver Trays
Silver Trays Model photography by David Norbut

Silver Trays

The key to this D.I.Y is shopping on a budget. You will be surprised that you can find vintage silver trays at most thrift stores or flea markets. The two that are featured here were found for under $10.

Chalkboard paint
Chalkboard paint Model Photography by David Norbut

Chalkboard paint

After you have selected your trays, clean them off with a soft wet cloth just in case there is any dust or residue. Over time sterling silver gets oxidized turning a dark brownish color, if you like the look of bright silver, sterling silver cleaner is recommended. (Wrights is a popular brand).

You can use painters tape on the edges of your tray, though it may be difficult on circular trays. If you apply the tape, a razor blade comes in handy to trim tape along the contoured edge of the tray inside edges.

FolkArt black chalkboard acrylic paint can be found at a local craft store for around $6.99. It is listed as safe and non-toxic. When shopping for your chalkboard appliqué you should read the label to see if it is toxic or has strong chemicals. It is best to do this craft outside or in a well-vented area. A face mask  is recommended as a safety precaution, especially if using a spray.

 Applying the paint
Applying the paint Model photography by David Norbut

Applying the paint

Sponge brushes and flat hair brushes work best for applying paint to the surface. Apply a base coat using small strokes, then let it dry for about 30 minutes. Apply two to three more coats of paint until the surface is smooth and black. Before adding your finest handwriting, let dry a solid 24 hours before writing on it.

Finished Tray
Finished Tray Model photography by David Norbut

Finished Tray

A great display for jewelry, trinkets or groups of items you would like to display. These trays are perfect for cocktail parties for welcoming guests or to give as small gifts for the holidays.