Friday, February 24, 2012

Repurpose a Metal Tray to a Mini Memo Board

Once: A mini dinner tray probably from the 60s, used to eat TV dinners in front of the Ed Sullivan show.

Now:  A mini menu chalkboard, helpful for menu planning and saving money by eating at home and not in a restaurant every night.

Here's how to make one:
  1. Search your local flea markets and garage sales for small, old metal trays. Don't worry about how ugly they are. They'll get a good coat of paint. I found these for $2 a piece.
  2. Clean and sand off any rust or chipped areas until the surface is smooth. I used a 120 grit sandpaper. Remove any residue.
  3. Paint your tray with the spray paint color of your choice. Make sure it says it works for metal surfaces. I used chalkboard paint for some, and a silver spray paint for another. 
  4. Let dry and repeat with multiple coats of paint until the surface is fully covered and the pattern of the tray no longer shows. For mine, the silver paint covered in two coats. For the chalkboard paint, I used four coats to ensure a good surface.
  5. At this point, you can get as creative as you want. I made mine into a weekly menu board.
  6. Once you've finished your project, you're ready to adhere it to your surface. I knew I wanted to put this board on the side of my refridgerator. I used adhesive backed velcro, though you could also glue on heavy duty magnets. If you want to adhere it to the wall, you can use Command strips from 3M.
I'm working on a few more. I'll post pictures of them when I'm done.

      Reclaiming Your Spice Drawer

      Generally, my house looks pretty clean and tidy from the outside. But if you open a closet door or drawer, you'll see see my dirty little secret on the inside. Often a jumbled mess exists. My latest pet peave was my spice drawer.
      Once: A jumbled mess of spices in different size containers, which would open and spill, making it hard to find the spice needed to cook that fabulous meal in minutes.

      Now: A thing of organizational beauty, making it easier to find the right ingredients and eliminating that spicy mess in the bottom of the drawer. No more buying the same spice twice. 

      Here's how I did it....  
      1. Empty out the drawer to find an embarrasing display of spices collected on the bottom of the drawer. Yikes!
      2. Thankfully, it's a clean drawer again.

      3. I ordered spice jars for $1 a piece that fit perfectly inside the drawer. Lucky for me, they matched the Penzey spice jars I already had.

      4. Next, I made a list of all the different spices I had so I could make the labels. I created a template of circles on Microsoft Word, then typed in the names of each of the spices into the circle. I used Avery Full Sheet Labels 8165 and printed them out onto the page.

      5. This is what they looked like when it was finished.

      6. I used a circle punch to cut out the circles. 
      7. Next, I transfered the spices into the new containers and added the labels to the lid. This was the most time consuming part, but not bad. Only about 2 hours to do the whole thing.
      8. All Done. Super organized and it's easy to find the spices I need.