Decopage Tray

Tonight, along with writing about the Crafting Sistas project of the month, I want to touch on the concept of “hygge.”

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I learned about the concept in 2016 when my husband and I were lucky enough to visit Denmark. It was such a beautiful experience. Everyone was so friendly, smiling, so happy all the time. And helpful. Children were playing outside, not with their faces in devices, and adults were having conversations, watching the children, and laughing. It was so uplifting.

I was told that they are happy because of Hygge, and although it took me four more years beyond our visit to Denmark to really “get it,” I finally did. I finally realized that while I was in Copenhagen feeling so happy, so completely safe and comfortable, I was experiencing “Hygge.”

Let me see if I can help you understand .

You know that feeling you get when you’re curled up in your favorite chair with a good book and a soft blanket around you? That’s Hygge.

You know when something like sipping on tomato soup and eating a grilled cheese sandwich takes you back to your childhood — maybe a time when you had been outside playing in the cold and when you came in your mother had that comfort food waiting for you? That’s Hygge.

It could be a wall full of art you’ve collected or family photos. It could be sitting in front of a fireplace with your honey, sipping a glass of wine. Hygge is about being with the people we love; a feeling of home. And if ever there’s been a time for Hygge, it’s definitely been this past year, right?

I wanted our monthly Crafting Sistas Craft Night to be filled with Hygge. We’ve spent the past 10-months meeting virtually, which has taken a toll on our little group. So I wanted to come up with a project that would, hopefully, give each of my Sistas a feeling of Hygge while we all wait for things to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

While combing through ideas on Pinterest and magazines, I came across a photo of a woman sitting in a really cushiony chair, her feet drawn up under her, and a small wooden table next to her. She was sipping a cup of tea and had a book in her hands. But it was what was sitting on the table that caught my eye. It was what looked like an antique tray, with a candle, rosary beads, a small plate of cookies, and a few more books stacked on top of each other. That’s what I decided I wanted to try to replicate for our January craft night.

My goal was to help them create a space where they can get comfy, take a break by turning off their devices and be in the moment, maybe even eat cake!

So, now that you have the background, let’s get started.

Supplies:

We used wooded trays and decorative napkins that I ordered on Amazon. You’ll also need sandpaper, white chalk paint, ModPodge, paint brushes, and a plastic sandwich bag. You’ll also need all the things to put on your tray that will give you that “comfy” feeling.

First you will want to sand your tray so it has a smooth surface, and then using a damp cloth, wipe it clean. Then give it a good coat of paint. I used sheepskin chalk paint, because I didn’t want a bright white look to my tray. But you DO want to use white where you will be decoupaging the napkins. Set it aside to dry.

Next you will separate your 2-ply decorative napkins so that you’re using only 1-ply. And then decide on your design. Do you want to use torn pieces of napkin overlapping each other? Do you want to use one whole napkin on the bottom and strips of other napkins up the side? The possibilities are endless.

I used a full napkin on the bottom of my tray and the same design coming up the sides.

Once the paint has dried, then you can begin decoupaging. I applied a fairly generous coat of ModPodge to one side, then put the napkin strip down on top of it. Now here’s the magic: put your hand into the plastic sandwich bag and gently press out any bubbles. It works!! And since the napkin is extremely fragile at this point, you don’t want to use any kind of straight-edge. Repeat this process for the other three sides. Then apply a generous coat of ModPodge to the bottom of the tray and gently lay the napkin over it. Again, using the plastic sandwich bag, glide out all of the bubbles.

When it’s still a little damp, begin sanding the excess napkin off of the sides. It completely changes the look, doesn’t it? Then I painted my top edges with a copper metallic paint, but you can leave the edge white, or paint whatever your favorite color is. Set it aside to dry overnight.

I love this tray and I’ve actually made a few; one for my back lanai and one for my little camping trailer.

That night, my Sistas also decoupaged the inside of large clam shells and made little tea cup planters. And as a gift I gave them each a set of bead garland I had made. Here’s a peek at some of their finished trays.

Some of us have had our COVID vaccines, some are not old enough, and others have had the virus and still have anti-bodies. So we remain virtual for a little while longer, as it’s far better to be safe than sorry. In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying our new Hygge-ish spaces.

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