I made this tray as part of a gift hamper for our newly married nephew and his wife, that’s why this pattern. I have made quite a few other mirrored (and non mirrored) trays over the years, which I will share some other day, if I could get the pictures from people, I have given away the trays to. I like to gift the hand done trays to people, especially when I am taking them to faraway places (especially India). They take very little space in the luggage, are useful around the house and can be customized quite easily.
Now back to the tutorial. This tray started off as a simple wooden tray. In the photo above, the tray was already primed and spray painted on the back and sides with Rustoleum painter’s touch in black. I forgot to take the picture after the top was painted, but you can imagine it to be painted plain black, just as the sides.
Gather your supplies
- Mirrors of any size or shape, as long as they have the same thickness
- Liquid nails or any other brand clear silicon.
- Epoxy; a top coat which has two parts to it, a resin and a hardener. It works only when the two parts are mixed together in equal quantities.
Arrange the mirrors in any pattern of your liking before fixing them with liquid nails. Once you are happy with your design, start fixing each mirror with clear silicon adhesive. I used liquid nails, but any other brand clear silicon would work just fine. Let it dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding with the next step, the epoxy application.I used this two part epoxy. Once dried and cured, it is very strong, washable and heat tolerent. Few words of caution before you handle it though;
- This thing stinks; so work in a well ventilated area.
- Get yourself a pair of disposable gloves and safety glasses, as this stuff is poisonous, very sticky and does not clean with soap and water.
- Mix only the quantity you need, because once mixed, it can not be stored for future use.
- Use a disposable container to do the mixing, because it won’t remain usable after.
Now that the cautionary directions are out of the way, let’s move onto the next step.
After mixing the epoxy as per directions on the package, I mixed a little bit of very fine silver glitter in it. (You can omit this step if you don’t like the bling effect)
Mix it thoroughly, and pour over the pattern in the tray. Make sure the tray is laid on a flat surface which is level straight, otherwise the epoxy will settle on the lower side of the tray making the surface uneven. After pouring the epoxy, smooth it out with a small piece of cardboard or anything of that sort. I usually keep junk mail cards for this purpose. If the surface does not seem even at this point, don’t worry. This stuff is self leveling as long as the tray is level. You have about 30-40 minutes to manipulate it, before it starts to harden. Once it starts to harden, don’t mess with it and leave it alone. Usually you will see air bubbles on the surface. Some pop out by themselves, but some stubborn ones need to be taken care of. On a tray of this size, which was very small, breathing out over the bubbles does the trick. Heat and carbon dioxide from breathing out on top of them, pops the bubbles. But make sure not to breath in so close to the epoxy. Breathe out, step back, breathe in, and repeat. On a larger surface, a heat torch can be used. I have never used a heat torch myself, but Mr. google or You tube can show you, how to use one for this purpose. After taking care of the bubbles, leave the tray to dry overnight. After about 12 hours, it is dry to the touch, but still needs curing for at least a week, which means it needs to be dried to the core. You know, when sometimes fresh nail polish feels dry to the touch, but when touched a little harder, gets ruined. Same thing here, but the time needed is much longer.
I also applied silver rub ‘n buff to the edges for some more bling, which is not necessary and can be avoided, if you don’t want it.
That’s it. The beauty of it is that, it looks different from different angles.
Guess what, our nephew and his wife just loved it. Such a lovely feeling when someone loves something, which you have made just for them.
What is your take on the glitter and the silver on the edge? Yes, no, or maybe?