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light green serving tray with white magnolia blossoms and bronze trim from DecoupageNapkins.com

Vintage Makeover: How to Use Rub-On Transfers on Plastic Trays

Take crafting to a fun new level. Join us in learning how to craft using Rub on Transfer decals! Donna from Mason Creations Etc. has shared her expertise in transforming a plain plastic tray into a beautiful vintage-inspired piece using rub-on transfers and Pentart paints and varnishes. Watch the video below for the full tutorial and follow along with our step-by-step guide.

 Video of Donna transforming a clear plastic serving tray into a work of art using various crackle techniques and rub-on transfers.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Vintage Tray

Prepare the Tray:

  1. Clean your tray with an alcohol wipe to remove any fingerprints or dirt.
  2. Apply Polyvine Multi-Surface Lacquer (dead flat finish) to remove the shine and create a good base for paint. This special lacquer creates a bond to plastic, metal, glass and ceramics, making it a perfect primer for this project.

Base Coating:

  1. After the primer coat is dry, apply a base coat of Dixie Belle Chalk Paint in the color Drop Cloth. Ensure even coverage and let it dry for 30 minutes. This thick, creamy base color covers any embedded designs in the plastic.
  2. Follow with two coats of Pentart Paint in Country Green for a rich, vintage vibe. Let each coat dry for 30 minutes.

Add a Crackle Finish:

  1. Apply the first component of Pentart Fine Line Crackle Varnish and let it dry until clear.
  2. Apply the second component for a fine crackle effect. Let it dry for a couple of hours to allow the crackle to fully appear and set. Note: Pentart Fine Line Crackle Varnish is solvent-based and should be used with solvent-based varnishes and antiquing pastes.

Create and Attach Texture:

  1. Donna used silicone mold texture mats and texture paste to create lace embellishments. Let the texture paste dry in the molds for 5-6 hours, then gently peel them out to avoid breaking. Lightly spray the paste with water to make it more pliable if needed.
  2. Clean off any excess film and carefully attach the designs to the sides of the tray with tacky glue.
  3. Apply the two-part Pentart Fine Line Crackle Varnish to the sides of the tray. Coat part one on the sides, avoiding the texture strips. Once dry, cover the sides with part two of the crackle, including the texture strips, and let it dry for a few hours to set.

Antiquing and Sealing:

  1. Brush on Mica Powder in bronze to fill in the cracks of the crackle effect. Use a soft cloth to wipe off the excess, giving the tray a vintage porcelain look.
  2. Seal the entire tray with Pentart Clear Varnish (matte finish) to help the rub-on transfers adhere better. Let it dry overnight. This solvent-based sealer will not damage the crackle effect. 

Decorate with Transfers:

  1. Cut and apply the Rub-On Transfers to your desired spots on the tray. For very small projects you may like our craft sized rub on transfers. Donna uses pieces from a Magnolia Garden transfer. Use the wooden stick provided to burnish the transfers and attach them firmly to the tray.
  2. Apply Pentart Antiquing Paste in umber to the edges and corners for a deeper antique look. Wipe off the excess with a cloth. Add another coat of Pentart Clear Varnish (gloss finish) for a shiny protective coat.

Final Touches:

  1. Create bronze-colored moldings by adding casting resin colored with Finnabair Mica Powder (bronze) to the silicone mold before pouring the casting resin. This creates beautiful resin pieces.
  2. Highlight the resin pieces with metallic rubs and attach them with E6000 glue.

And there you have it! A beautiful, vintage-inspired serving tray perfect for any occasion. Nearly all of the products used in this tutorial can be found on DecoupageNapkins.com.

Thank you, Donna, for your incredible tutorial and expertise. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get 10% off your next order.

Happy crafting!