Easy but Gorgeous DIY Acrylic Tray

April 7, 2014Allison Murray
This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

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I’ve known ever since I saw them in the Darby Smart Shop that I wanted to DIY up one of their acrylic trays. And to be honest, I actually flecked it with gold leaf, left it for a week or so and decided that it was just so so at best. I wasn’t sure I liked it so I never sealed it which was a total blessing. Because that meant I could wash it all away and go back to square one.

And when I remembered blown straw art project time from when I was a kid, I pretty well decided what I wanted to do for round two. I wasn’t sure what kind of dye or ink or paint or whatever I should use for a transparent look so I had to do some research. In the end, it was all about alcohol inks.

I think that perhaps the best thing about this project is the simplicity. The next best thing is the amazing result. And last of all, it’s just plain ol’ fun to do.

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HEY, HEY! DID YOU KNOW THAT I WROTE A BOOK ABOUT CRAFTING WITH ALCOHOL INKS THAT CAME OUT ON JANUARY 10, 2017? IT’S CALLED “CRAFTING WITH ALCOHOL INKS“. I KNOW, GENIUS, RIGHT?! :) THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON AND BARNES AND NOBLE AND I’D JUST LOVE IF YOU CHECKED IT OUT TO SEE IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU MIGHT REALLY DIG! 

And now, back to the tutorial at hand! For this project you will need:

  • Acrylic Tray
  • Alcohol Inks
  • Straw
  • Alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Good quality masking tape
  • Spray polyurethane or other sealer

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

First give your tray a good clean with a little bit of alcohol and tape off the edges and where you can see the side panels through the bottom (I didn’t do this and I have cracks from where my alcohol from the ink seeped into the acrylic so DEFINITELY go in with your tape like that.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

Next bust out your alcohol inks and straw.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

Drop a dot or two of ink onto the back side of the tray and use your straw to blow around. Blowing from the side will push it strongly into one direction and give strong streaks. Blowing from directly over top kind of spreads it out in a more gentle way.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

If you don’t like something, clean it up with a little bit of alcohol and a paper towel.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

Layer your colors.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

And continue adding until you’re happy with the coverage. This was after one round of each color. I went around and did another pass with all three colors to complete my tray.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

Next take your tray and seal the back side well. I used spray polyurethane but just about any sealer should work well.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

The end result is super artistic and just plain pretty if you ask me.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

The tray will be brightest when set on a white background.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

The look will change depending on what color you place it on since it is transparent.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

Placing on my desk which is a lighter wood still makes for pretty colors but it isn’t as bright as it is on a white background.

This tray is unbelievably EASY to make and so gorgeous. Want!

This tray is hanging out in my office and is my project catchall. It’s great because I can toss the beads I’m working on in there and not worry about losing them. I can also stash the glitter I just used on a project for a little while before putting it up. I’m finding this is great so that I don’t have to sift through all of that supply to find the exact one I used before if I want to do more or if I need to fix up something that didn’t work as well as planned.

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So what do you think? Will you be rocking out your own DIY Acrylic Tray?

Comments (5)

  • Aurelia Eglantine

    April 12, 2014 at 6:17 AM

    I think this is really fun and cheerful :) It’s like stained glass. I’ve heard you can use alcohol inks on silk scarves too, I wonder if the straw technique would work? Wearable art!

  • Julie

    April 27, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    It’s just soooo pretty! I saw some plain clear desk tidy type things the other day, maybe this would work for them – oooo exciting – the possibilities!

  • [email protected]

    April 28, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    This tray is gorgeous. Really cool!

  • Heather

    May 7, 2018 at 6:59 PM

    Do you think that the did marker alcohol inks would work on glass like the store bought .

    1. Allison Murray

      May 8, 2018 at 10:59 AM

      Not as well. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get these saturated well enough to work on glass, but they are fab on paper.

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