Melamine Serving Tray Makeover

Are you looking for a way to update a melamine serving tray that is stuck in the 80s? Then you will love this easy method to makeover a melamine serving tray!

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Pinterest graphic with text overlay "Melamine serving tray makeover" with a staged image of the tray makeover.

can you paint melamine?

Yes! Yes! and Yes!!

Can you tell I love the answer to this question? You will too when you see how easy this is to do!

And it’s a good thing – I mean look at this outdated chicken! The tray is still in excellent shape, but it won’t go with my newly painted kitchen cabinets so the red chicken has to go!

You can lightly sand the surface of the melamine serving tray (or any other melamine piece you come across) just enough to knock off the shine. Use a super fine R.A.D. pad to make this super easy. You can see below the white-ish dust that it created – be sure to clean the piece well after sanding with White Lightning Cleaner (seriously, thee best cleaner!)

You can also see that a little corner of the serving tray chipped off. That’s completely my fault – after purchasing the tray for about $1, the excitement took me over and I dropped the tray on the pavement while opening the door to my truck.

It’s a simple fix – just sand it smooth so there are no rough edges. 🙂

how do you prepare melamine for painting?

After sanding and cleaning the tray, the next step in prepping for paint is to use Dixie Belle’s Slick Stick. This stuff is amazing! It sticks to anything – PVC, glass, Formica, laminate, metal, plastic melamine – anything slippery, shiny, or slick!

You might be wondering why I lightly scuffed the surface of the tray – I tend to go overboard with everything, including prep work. Dixie Belle Slick Stick does not require scuffing the surface – only a good cleaning with White Lightning.

Apply the first coat and let dry for 2-3 hours. Then apply a second coat and let it dry overnight (or for several more hours!)

The third image above shows the decorative color I used on the tray.

what paint to use on melamine

The chalk mineral paint colors I chose are French Linen, Cotton, and Caviar. Two coats of French Linen covered the melamine serving tray perfectly!

You can also see I have some stencils out! That’s going to be fun 🙂

Also, the chalk mineral paint will stick to the Slick Stick and you could choose any color of Dixie Belle’s durable paints to use on melamine!

Basically, Slick Stick will stick to just about anything, and paint will stick to Slick Stick!

Say that ten times fast!!

list of supplies:

Use the links below to purchase some of the supplies for this project! You are helping to support this blog and all the free tutorials we offer here! Thanks so much!😊

Belle’s and Whistles Stencils

Have you ever stenciled anything? It is such an easy way to transform a solid space of color by adding another color and the appearance of texture!

Here’s how to stencil:

  • choose the stencil (there are so many beautiful designs to choose from!)
  • center the stencil on the piece.
  • choose a contrasting color from the painted surface – something that will show up nicely
  • use a small craft sponge and the paint lid to dab a small amount of paint onto the sponge
  • dab lightly onto the stencil being careful to not get globs of paint on the surface
  • keep the sponge on the dry side so that the paint doesn’t seep under the stencil
  • carefully lift the stencil and allow the area to dry (you can use a hair dryer on low to speed up the dry time)
  • position the stencil in the next section by overlapping some of the openings in the stencil.
  • wash the stencil and the sponge with warm soapy water when you are finished!

Dixie Belle silk screen stencils

Easy, right? Silkscreen stencils are just as easy! In fact, they’re even easier IMHO! Here are the steps:

  • choose your stencil and your paint color (I chose the Farmhouse Stencil and Caviar chalk mineral paint)
  • peel off the white backing from the silkscreen stencil
  • position the sticky side of the stencil down in the desired spot
  • use your finger to make sure it has good contact with the surface.
  • painters tape will help to avoid stenciling off of the edge
  • use a sponge to place a very small amount of paint on the stencil (it doesn’t take much paint!)
  • then use the flat scraper included in the package to spread out the paint
  • make sure all of the cutouts have been covered by using the scraper in different directions
  • remove the excess paint with the scraper carefully!
  • peel back the stencil and wash it in warm soapy water completely!

Silkscreen stencils can be used up to ten times! You could make so many projects just with the chicken stencil but the Farmhouse Silk Screen Stencils include two other farmhouse-style designs!

how to seal paint on melamine

Since this tray will be used for carrying dishes, napkins, and silverware to our outdoor patio, so I decide to seal it. If you just use something like this as wall decor then you won’t need to seal it.

Three coats of Clear Coat in Flat give this piece a waxed look that will be durable for years of serving!

Lady applying Dixie Belle Clear Coat in Flat to the painted tray.

melamine serving tray makeover uses

Here are some ideas for you to use a tray similar to this one!

Melamine Serving Tray Ideas

  • carry supplies to outdoor grill
  • use on kitchen island for S&P shakers, napkins, flower/plant
  • add a hanger and hang in the kitchen as wall decor
  • coral items on a coffee table
Staged shot of the tray with a plant, candle and salt & pepper shakers on it.
Staged shot of the tray with a plant, candle and salt & pepper shakers on it.

Staged shot of the tray with a plant, candle and salt & pepper shakers on it.

melamine painting questions

what paint will stick to melamine

If you use Dixie Belle’s Slick Stick be assured that chalk mineral paint will stick to the surface of melamine. I can’t guarantee that any other paint would adhere well. And without Slick Stick, well let’s just say, I wouldn’t try it!

where to find melamine pieces to paint

Melamine pieces can be found in most thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Often towns will have their own thrift store where you can find melamine trays, pitchers (don’t use paint if you intend to use a pitcher that will need to be washed!), serving platters…..

You can also check out your local ReStore and vintage shops!

more inspiring posts!

If you enjoyed this upcycling project, here are a few more that will get your creativity in full gear!

shop for supplies

Feel free to visit the Dixie Belle Paint Company Website to purchase your supplies for this melamine serving tray makeover! Just click the graphic below for all of your paint supplies!

You can also shop directly using the links I’ve gathered for you at the top of the post!

Pin the image below to your home decor and furniture boards! Just click the pin button at the top left corner!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay "DIY painted serving tray" with an image of a painted melamine serving tray.

thrift store decor team

Each month, I have the privilege of joining nine of the most amazing upcyclers on the web! This month’s projects won’t disappoint! All the links to each post are just below the collage of images showing the before shots!

You don’t want to miss out on all this inspiration!

Collage of thrift store items that were upcycled.

Thanks for joining our journey!

Thanks so much for joining us for this post! Join our journey so you don’t miss any fun projects, tutorials, and inspiration we share with you each week! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. We share even more inspiration on Pinterest!

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  1. Wow! What a transformation! So cute. Well done, my friend.

    1. Outstanding transformation! Well done Cindy.

      I enjoyed this post so much!


      1. So glad you enjoyed it Cindy! Have a great week!

    2. Thanks Renae! Dixie Belle Slick Stick is amazing!

  2. While I know you can paint melamine, I’ve never tried. And I always see so many interestingly shaped melamine trays. Thanks for the inspo!

    1. You are most welcome Sue! Give it a try sometime!

  3. I love that you painted this tray and made it new again. It turned out really nice!

    1. Isn’t Dixie Belle Slick Stick amazing stuff?? I’m looking for all the melamine!🥰

  4. What a fun makeover – I always love a good tray makeover.

    1. Me too Marynn! Trays are so useful!

    1. Thank you Carlene! So glad you enjoyed the project! 😊

    1. Thanks Kristin! It was a fun project to do! 😊

  5. Super tutorial Cindy, I loved all your tips for painting melamine and stenciling! Love how your tray turned out.



    1. Glad you enjoyed the tutorial Gail – Thanks so much for pinning!

  6. I really enjoyed this post, Cindy! I never knew you could paint melamine! I have often seen the trays at yard sales and auctions but never thought about painting it to match my decor! Thanks for sharing how to paint melamine❤️

    1. You are most welcome! I am glad you enjoyed the project 🙂

  7. I need to grab some of that Slick Stick stuff. Sounds like it could replace the primer I use on metal some pieces. Thanks for the great tutorial!

    1. Pam, it’s amazing! I can’t wait to share the next thing I used Slick Stick on!

  8. Such a pretty transformation! I love the new French look with that stencil. I need to try Slick Slick. It sounds like an amazing product!

    1. It really is amazing stuff! I’m excited to share my next project with Slick Stick later this week! Thanks for stopping by Crissy!

  9. WOW! This is a brilliant makeover – what a great way to transform a melamine tray – I had no idea you could paint melamine!

    1. It opens a whole world of painting possibilities! Thanks for stopping by Janet! 😊

    1. Thank you Marieza! Not too bad for .50 cents!

  10. I love trays. I have them in several places in my apartment. I call them containment fields. The one on the kitchen table has the tv’s remote controls, a little bowl of dog treat pellets, any stray nick knacks. I don’t understand why not everyone has them. I hope you have inspired lots of people to get some!

    1. Serving trays are a great way to gather up the things that don’t have a designated spot so we can keep our homes tidy. If we could only get our family to use them!! Thanks for stopping by Johanne!