Monday, May 12, 2014

Upcycle: Melissa and Doug Wooden Trays

It seems that at every birthday party, special occasion, or holiday, my girls are gifted with one or more Melissa and Doug item. They are the cutest toys ranging from bead sets to pretend food play.  My girls love them, and they are definitely a birthday party staple around my hometown.  A lot of the items come in wooden trays.  They are great quality, sturdy, and even have little dovetail joints.  I couldn't bear to throw the trays away so I stuck them in a closet, promising myself that I would find a way to reuse them.  And there they sat for months.  

I finally made myself dig them out of the closet so that I could actually utilize them to their full potential. First, I primed over the wording with Zinsser primer. (If you've never used Zinsser, then you are missing out. It is wonderful!  If you are painting furniture, no need to sand. Just prime with Zinsser and you are ready to paint your topcoat.)

After I primed over the words, I used white spray paint to finish the job. It was just easier to get into the nooks, crannies, and corners that way.  I didn't even use a whole can. (Rustoleum primer+paint in satin white.)

Then, I cut scrapbook paper to fit into the trays.  I chose colors that compliment my home's color scheme; lime green, navy, teal, and gray. 

I started thinking of ways that I could actually use these little trays and I wanted to share it with you!  Here are ten ways to upcycle your Melissa and Doug toy trays. 

1. Craft Storage

I have craft supplies everywhere at my house. I needed somewhere to corral all of my washi and such, so this was a great use for the tray!

2. Nightstand Storage and Organization
If your husband is anything like mine, he takes all of his change out of his pockets and it all ends up on the nightstand.  Use a tray on a nightstand for change, cell phone, and your husband's wallet. 

3. Jewelry Organization
I am always needing places to put my bracelets and earrings. This is a stylish, cost-effective way to keep up with all of your bling!

4. Entryway Organization

Place a couple of these trays in your entryway to drop your keys and miscellaneous items.  Having a set place for your keys will tidy things up and will help with the "oh-my-goodness-where-are-my-keys-I'm-gonna-be-late" panic. 

5. Charging station
Drill a hole in the back of one of your trays and insert your phone charger cord for a stylish charging station. 

6. Mail Sorting Station
Do you have a hard time keeping up with all of your mail?  Junk mail, bills, correspondence?  Use your trays to organize it. Label your trays for efficiency. 

7. Stationary Organization

Keeping a drawer organized is hard.  I placed three Melissa and Doug trays and a clear tray in my Secretary drawer so that I could organize all of my stationary.  Now this houses thank you notes, cards, envelopes, enclosure cards, address labels, and stamps. 

8. Corral Hair Accessories
Between my two girls and I, we have enough pony tail holders, bobby pins, and headbands to make your head spin.  Using these trays to keep them organized and in place would make things so much easier. 

9. Spice Tray
Place these in your kitchen cabinets to house all of your spices.  If you have more than one tray, you could organize your sweet/baking items like cinnamon, cloves, and cocoa in one tray, and your Italian spices and seasonings in another, and so on.

10. Drawer Organization
You know that junk drawer that you have that you try to keep hidden from your friends?  Now, don't tell my you don't have one. We all have one. Utilizing the trays to finally get an upperhand on your hazardous junk drawer would be a great way to upcycle them!

The next time your child receives one of those adorable Melissa and Doug toys, don't throw away the tray!  Upcycle it and make your home a little more organized. 

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