I acquired this letterpress tray in January and it had been sitting blank on my mantle until March. I have always loved the nostaglia of the letterpress tray, especially being a big fan of Newsies! So I wasn’t quite sure if I really wanted to do anything to it? I thought maybe it will just be a layering piece on the mantle. I have a family friend who has two larger trays and has an enchanting collection of miniatures that she displays.
I’m in the midst of this mantle-crisis (first world problem?) It was easy to decorate for fall and the Christmas season, but now what? I’m not big on decorating for Easter or Spring. I want something neutral and low maintenance to take me through Summer. So the most logical thing for me is to decorate with paper and photos. Why not?! It’s what I put everywhere else!
I decided to just pick a few pieces of pattern paper from the various American Crafts designers (Dear Lizzy, Maggie Homes & Amy Tan) bundle packs from Michaels. I was fortunate enough to grab these when they were a $5 value item. I purchased these packs to use in my typewriter, but have found endless use for them since. The patterns are just so relative and the colors are versatile for every occasion.
I then just randomly cut and filled in some of the boxes of the tray. When I started I wasn’t sure if I was filling the whole thing or not. As I went along I decided to just fill in some randomly and for some reason decided to leave the top and bottom rows empty. No idea why, just liked the look. I knew I wanted to string some twine around it and hang photos from it. I had a roll of twine I purchased from Michaels floral department for another project. I secured it to the back of the tray with electrical tape. (a tip from being an electrician’s daughter: electrical tape will hold anything).
I went through some random piles of square and instax photos to find anything nondescript that would look cute. Then using mini clothespins (who doesn’t love mini clothespins?) attached to twine. For a minute I thought, well I covered up too much of the pretty paper with the photos. I decided to leave it as is for now, I may take photos down eventually or change it up a bit. I also added a journaling card from the MME Splendid line. The colors and designs from that line literally are splendid!
Another idea for letterpress tray:
I thought it would be cute to use the pattern paper bits to spell out a word or maybe a number (like a house number or year).
If you are really into refurbishing, you could use paint on it. Chalk paint would give it a nice vintage feel. I prefer the rustic look.
A tray with bigger boxes would be good to add photos to the boxes. It could almost be mosaic with photos and/or paper.