On occasion, I get hold of these really awesome trays and buy them in bulk when I can. They are an all-wood, distressed grey tray that measures about 4 feet long. They're perfect as ottoman trays or hanging on your favorite wall. I usually sell out of them pretty quick when I do get them, so they are definitely a favorite of mine.
This time I decided to kick them up a notch by adding an image. Of course it had to be French.
I grabbed another incredible image from the files over a The Graphics Fairy. I choose an image that depicted something you would find on a old grain sack:
I went to Photoshop and resized the image in parts. This is real important if you don't have one of the industrial size printers that prints really huge prints. I measured my tray and then adjusted the size of each word and image to fit within the tray. Then I cut the images/text out and placed them where I wanted them to be permanently.
All you do now is grab yourself some graphite tracing paper and something with a small smooth pointed end. It's generally called a tracing stylus and it looks a bit like this:
You can get them in a package that has various sizes to the "balls" at each end - which is what I have so that I have a choice between fine, medium, and wide points. There relatively inexpensive at places like Hobby Lobby or Michaels.
Lay the graphite paper between the wood and your image and start tracing or rubbing the image onto the wood. I will tell you that this doesn't really work well on fabric because if you move the graphite paper, it smudges onto the fabric. This stuff works best for hard surfaces like wood.
The process of tracing the image is going to take a little time, especially if the image is large or detailed (notice the wheat stalks I had to do). Give yourself several breaks. Heck, take a day or two to do it. Working slowly and smoothly will be worth the time and effort you put into it!
Once the image is on, you have the choice of painting over it (use a Sharpee Oil-based paint pen for fine, small areas), or leave it as it is. I choose to not paint because the graphite matched the grey distressed wood perfectly. I did take a oil-based sharpee paint pen and "accentuated" some of the edges of the words, numbers, and some of the stalks. But that's it.
And there she is! Ready to hang or put over a large ottoman.
Next time you see a plain old tray, don't pass it by this time. Play around with because they'll make great gifts this Christmas if you do!