Sometimes an item is still really functional, but its look is a bit out of date, or it doesn’t match your decor anymore. Rather than chuck it out and go buy a new one, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by giving it a DIY update. And that’s exactly what I did when I gave an old lap tray a DIY makeover. The best part was that it cost next to nothing, and I had a lot of fun doing it!
I recently acquired this lap tray, and while there is nothing wrong with it, I wanted to change the image on it to better match our decor. Originally, it had a picture of my family tree on it, so what you see below is my artistic attempt at blurring things out using Photoshop. Please do note, I have nothing against my family. We have the same picture on display elsewhere in the house, and I wanted this lap tray to better match the decor in our lounge, where our piano is.
Less recently, I acquired a collection of really old sheet music. Included in this were a lot of single and torn pages. These pages were quite useless as readable sheet music, so they’ve become a part of my crafting supplies. And now they would be perfect in redecorating this lap tray. If you’d like to recreate this project (and it would be great if you did!), you can print out sheet music on white card and soak it in tea or coffee to give it that vintage feel.
In addition to the lap tray and sheet music, I also used two pieces of A4 scrap paper (to make a larger A3 base), Pritt, double sided tape and a lamination machine (not my own). If you don’t have access to a laminator, you can use adhesive plastic instead.
First, you’ll need to create a base mat on which to work. The size of your base will depend on the size of your lap tray. Because mine was just a bit smaller than A3 size, I started by sticking two pieces of scrap A4 paper together.
Tear the sheet music up into various shapes and strips. The odder the shapes, the better. As a musician, I couldn’t decide whether this process made my soul die a little inside, or whether it was strangely therapeutic.
Definitely therapeutic. Let me know in the comments which one you would feel!
Paste down the bits of sheet music, collage-style, on your base mat. Keep it random, and don’t worry about going over the edges. You can always “trim away the excess”, as the scrapbooking community would say. Don’t stop when all the blank spaces are filled, but keep sticking on a few extra pieces here and there until you like the look of it.
Measure the exact image area of the lap tray and cut your new mat to fit.
Laminate the mat (or cover it in adhesive plastic), so that it won’t get damaged by food spills or by general use.
Use double sided tape (or another strong adhesive) to stick your mat down over the old image.
Your new lap tray is complete!
I am very happy with how this turned out. It now fits in perfectly with our lounge decor, and it has already been put to good use.
Now to tally up the costs. I don’t know if it’s a South African thing or if it’s just me, but I really like being able to show how I saved money, especially on DIY projects. I hope that the cost breakdowns I include in my project posts will inspire you to try and save money on your next project. Here are the costs for the lap tray:
- Lap Tray: R 0.00. If you keep an eye out, you should be able to find one for a very low price at charity shops and bric-a-brac sales.
- Sheet Music: R 0.00. Making your own won’t cost more than a few sheets of card and a bag of tea.
- Paper: R 0.00. Reusing scrap paper gives this project an eco-friendly twist!
- Pritt: R 0.00. I had this lying in my drawer for quite some time. I think it’s safe to assume that Pritt is a staple in most households.
- Lamination: R 5.00. I got this done at a local business.
- Double sided tape: R 2.00. I bought my double sided tape recently and used about a metre of the stuff in this project. I guess I included the cost of it in this breakdown because I love my double sided tape and am very conscious of how much I use…
That’s a total of just R 7.00 for a new lap tray! And it looks pretty snazzy if you ask me! Do people say snazzy anymore? Did they ever say it?
Have you done a lap tray DIY (makeover or otherwise) before? If yes, what did you do? If no, are you thinking of giving this project a try? What other projects have you been doing lately? Let me know in the comments below!
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Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you in the next post!