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Colorful, lightweight, any size you want ... super-tray.

Colorful, lightweight, any size you want ... super-tray Scaled as big as you like, a simple-to-make tray like the one at right can be the perfect way to transport summer meals from indoors to out. The base is a piece of plywood. The rounded rim, which is easy to grip, is made from sturdy cardboard mailing tubes. You use paper towels, newsprint, and glue to build up the surface, then decorate with pieces of colored paper. Three coats of polyurethane seal the finished tray, so it resists stains and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

The following instructions tell how to make a tray like the one in our photographs. Your cost will be $15 to $20. You can also adapt this technique to make a mirror or picture frame with a cutout base of cardboard or plywood; see page 82.

What you'll need

* 1 23- by 34-inch piece of 1/4-inch plywood

* 4 3-inch-wide cardboard mailing tubes, sold in stationery stores

* White glue (2 to 3 pints)

* 1 roll white paper towels

* 1 small package ech dark and light blue tissue paper

* 1 9- by 12-inch pad blank newsprint

* Satin or glossy clear polyurethane

* Plastic wrap or aluminum foil

* Fine sandpaper

You can substitute colored rice paper or wrapping paper for tissue paper on any tray. If you want an opaque white wrapping paper.

Tools required include a mat knife, two 1-inch-wide flat-ended paintbrushes, and a saw if needed to cut the plywood to size for the base.

Putting it together:

allow time for drying

Plan on making the tray over several days, so you can allow for drying time. For the rim, use a mat knife to cut four tubes to match the plywoodhs width and length, mitering each end at a 45 [deg.] angle. Then cut the tubes lengthwise along their shorter sides.

Fit the tubs tightly against the edges of the plywood, as shown above. With a paintbrush and glue, reinforce all corners--on both sides of the tray--with four layers of small (about 2 inches square) overlapping pieces of paper towel. Apply a thin layer of glue under and over each peice.

To work on the second tray surface before the first has dried, elevate the tray, wet side down, on four wood scraps, cans, or other small flat-surfaced supports covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Rip newsprint into small pieces and glue four overlapping layers to the corners on both sides of the tray. Then glue four layers of medium-size pieces (each about 4 inches square) all around the tray at the line where rim meets plywood.

Finally, cover one whole side of the tray with four layers of medium-size pieces; wait an hour, then cover the other side the same way.

If you want a smooth-finished surface, let the glue dry overnight at this stage, then sand the tray lightly with fine sandpaper. Otherwise, you can decorate the tray immediately.

Finishing steps:

Tissue paper and sealer

Tear the tissue paper into medium-size pieces and glue two layers of paper pieces to all tray surfaces. Applied randomly, tissue paper in two colors will create a collage-like look.

You can also use the straight edges of the tissue to articulate the tray's rim or to achieve other, more carefully controlled designs.

Let the glued paper dry overnight; then, in a well-ventilated room, apply three coats of polyurethane, allowing ample drying time (see instructions on product label) between coats.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Aug 1, 1985
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