How to Make an Upcycled Ottoman Tray from a Picture Frame and MMP#3

upcycled ottoman tray

There has been so much going on around our house for the past few weeks. Walls are being painted. Both of our bathrooms are undergoing renovations. It’s a madhouse around here lately as we prepare to move. As a part of our work to fix up our house to sell and sort out what we want to take with us, we made the change to brand new living room furniture. The ones we had brought to Arkansas with us from Japan were getting old and were ready to go.

I couldn’t be happier with the new sectional couch we chose. In place of our coffee table, we made the switch to a fabric ottoman. Little did I know just how much I would miss having a table available to put my random crap on!

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After a few days of making do I decided it was high time to get an ottoman tray to hold my living room junk. Of course, I knew I could make one I liked better than one I would buy so I decided to do an upcycled ottoman tray. It’s a great excuse to hit the thrift store and costs considerably less than I would pay for a premade one. (In all this project was less than $10.) 

Related: How to Make a Colorful Upcycled Dinosaur Succulent Planter

upcycled ottoman tray

Supplies Needed to Make an Upcycled Ottoman Tray

1 picture frame

Chalk paints (whatever color combination you want to use)

needle nose pliers 


wood glue

stencils (unless freehand painting a design onto your tray)

Scrap wood or particleboard

upcycled ottoman tray

Directions to Make an Upcycled Ottoman Tray

The first thing you need to do to start making your upcycled ottoman tray is to remove any glass from the frame. You also want to remove any backing or pictures that the frame originally housed.

Make sure that you clean your frame well to remove any dirt and oils that may be built up. This is particularly true for any second-hand frames that you pick up. Unless you are buying new there it can be difficult to tell what kind of dirt, sealants, and even past cleaners could be built up on your frame. Removing all of this will help your paint adhere smoother and look better. 

upcycled ottoman tray

If you are starting with a darker base on your frame you can paint the first layer of paint white to make lighter colors pop more. However, as I was starting with a gold frame I decided to skip the white base coat and get straight to my desired color (pumpkin). 

I went with two layers of this color, letting the chalk paint dry for two hours or more between layers. If you want you can do a finishing spray or topcoat on your frame once your desired color tone is reached. You can also use a sanding block or emery board to scuff up the edges to add a little weathering to your frame if you want. I do this on other projects but decided to skip it this time for a more “modern vintage” (yes, that’s totally a thing…in my world at least lol) feel. 

Related: How to Make a DIY Embroidery Hoop Doily Dream Catcher

upcycled ottoman tray

I had my husband help with this part because I am not the best with power tools. However, using the backing that came with the frame as a template he cut the particle board to size. You want to match the size of the backing as closely as possible and keep your chosen wood thin so that it will fit perfectly into the space originally occupied by the backing. This will help keep your tray flat and will add to the stability of the finished project. 

upcycled ottoman tray

Once you have the bottom of your tray cut to size you can paint it with your color of choice. Just as with the frame you can do a base coat of white to bring out any lighter colors you may be using. I skipped a base coat as the color I was using was dark enough to not need it. I did go with three coats of the peacock color to even it out properly. 

upcycled ottoman tray

If you are just doing a plain tray you can move onto securing the back onto the frame at this point. However, I decided that I would do a quick bohemian stencil on mine to add a little something extra. When doing stenciling it is important to mask off any areas that you are not painting and to let everything dry completely between colors. I used a round sponge brush to help distribute color evenly without risking going beneath the stencil. 

upcycled ottoman tray

Before going any further it is time to remove any remaining hardware from your frame. This is where the needle nose pliers come in handy. Using the pliers pull any fasteners or hanging hardware from the back of the frame. 

You can skip this step if you don’t want to bother with it. Remember though, that you want your frame to be as flat on the back as possible so that your tray will be more stable. Depending on the frame it may take a little while to remove these parts but it is definitely worth the step for a better-finished product. 

upcycled ottoman tray

Once you have removed all of the extra hardware from the back of your frame and all of your stenciling has dried completely you can attach the board to the back of your frame. A quick bead of wood glue will tightly secure your frame and the board together. You can also use a pneumatic stapler to add new “hardware” onto the back of your frame to hold it in place. (If you have one available, this is not a make or break part of the project!) 

If you want you can add new carrying handles on either side of the frame. You can also do a clear coat over the whole thing to seal it if you are planning on holding drinks or other spillable liquids that may damage it. 

upcycled ottoman tray

If you make a frame following our steps please be sure to tag #ghastlygirl in your social media posts or comment with a link to your project. We would love to see how you added your own creative flair to this project! 

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It’s your turn now! We want to see all of the awesome stuff you have been working on this week! Although we like to alternate between mama maker and the mini makers each week we welcome any of your crafts, recipes, and DIY tutorials for moms or kids. 

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3. Please visit at least two other party members and comment or share their post on social media. 

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