Can I interest you in something from the mini-bar?

Our new apartment is somewhat lacking in cabinet space, so I decided to set up a little bar in the living room to store our booze and drinking accoutrements (at least until I can score the bar cart of my dreams). I thought this would be a great excuse to go shopping for a fabulous tray to contain everything. Unfortunately, most of the trays I found were surprisingly expensive for just a simple rectangle of wood. 

Then I remembered I still had this kinda ugly tray stored with my BBQ supplies:

I nabbed this from my mom's pile of give-aways when she moved a few years ago. I was never crazy about the cherry motif, but the tray was a good size and shape. Time for a makeover!

If you want to try your own version of this project, you can usually find trays like this in thrift stores for next to nothing, or Target has a plain wood one for pretty cheap here.

See the how-to after the jump:

The tray I used was pretty beat up and dingy, so I cleaned it thoroughly with TSP first (eew, look how brown that water is!).  If I had really wanted to do this properly, I probably should have also sanded it down, but I was feeling lazy and didn't have any sandpaper handy.

 Once the tray was clean and dry,  I taped up around the outside of handles so I could paint the inside. Then it was time for the fun part- spray painting! I painted the inside of the tray with gold spray paint I had left over from my trophy project. I had to do two coats to completely cover those cherries. 

Once the inside was dry, it was time to flip the tray over and tape off the inside of the handles. I tried out this Lacquer Spray Paint in Black for the outside of the tray. It did give it a beautiful high gloss finish, but be warned, this stuff smells like chemical death. 

I propped up the tray in a giant cardboard box while I was painting it, which worked really well to contain the spray. I recommend taping up the top flaps so you have as tall a box as possible. This is the only way I manage to not spray paint the floor and all surrounding areas while I'm painting. 

 And voila! One afternoon and two bottles of spray paint later, its like a brand new tray!

It's working great as a mini-bar for now, but I'm sure it will also come in handy for serving food and drinks outside when the weather is better. 
Or maybe someone will need to use it to bring me breakfast in bed?

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