So we have one of those giant ottomans instead of a coffee table. I like it because you can push it into our sectional and it creates a gigantic couch which is perfect for forts, sleepovers and just general movie watching. The only thing is if you want to snack or have a place to set you're drink your outta luck. So like most people with this type of sofa, we had those little trays sitting on top of it which is fine I guess...
I just got tired of them and wanted something a little more special, ya know? I'm all about custom stuff to make our house more homey. I looked online and really couldn't find anything like I wanted. I had the exact design in my head (sort of a long shelf with smaller boards that would hang off each end to "hug" the ottoman). I also wanted it to function as a very short table if needed (you'll see that below). After some searching, I did find a wrap-around ottoman tray from a place on Etsy that was nearly $400.
It was exactly what I had in my mind (which means it was SUPER simple) so I was shocked at the price. Granted it is very pretty, made from reclaimed wood and all that. We made ours for about 15 bucks... And we even bought the upgraded wood and I toyed with staining it but I really wanted a more whimsical piece for our room. I thought about doing a chevron pattern cause that's super popular right now but I figured I'd get sick of it. Then it came to me, I'll do Subway art and since we spend most of the time on that couch watching our favorite TV Shows and movies, we'll features some of our favorites on it. I wanted it to be one of a kind and I think we accomplished that. So here's how we did it:
First we measured our ottoman and then added an inch to that measurement and purchased a board that could accommodate that measurement from the hardware store. And like I said, we even bought the nice wood (I think it was $12 as compared to the cheaper stuff that you can get for around $8). The nicer boards are pretty enough to be stained if you wanted.
Next, Matt cut it down to size.
You can see from above that there was over a foot left in excess board.
Next he sanded...
At this point you could use your leftover board to make the "legs" of the tray. Just cut it to the size you want (in other words cut the legs to the length you want them to hang over your ottoman). We had a scrap piece of 1x4 in our garage so we ended up just cutting it to size and using it. Matt attached the "legs" with L brackets - less than $2.
I added some wood putty to the seams and then sanded a bit more.
I knew at this point I was going to paint it a light color so I thought the filler would give it more of a finished look. If I was going to stain it I would have left the wood the way it was. I gave it a couple coats of Glidden Mid Day Mocha - it's sort of a greige. I just bought a sample tintable tester, they are inexpensive and I didn't even use half! After the paint dried it was time to start on my Subway Art.
Now there are a TON of tutorials out there on how to do Subway Art. A lot of them require vinyl printers - which I don't have. The other popular way it to print letters on normal paper then trace them on contact paper then cut them out then put them on your piece then paint over them, etc etc etc. It seems to work well for people but I don't have the patience for all that! I used stencils and white paint. When I first started I thought it was going to be hard but once I got the hang of it, it was easy... and actually fun. Matt and Cady ended up doing some as well. The important thing to remember if you are using this method is to do it in stages. I would have several words in progress on different parts of the board - one letter at a time. You will have lots of breaks for dry time. We had some stencils from previous projects and for future projects, but you can get them at Hobby Lobby. I let the paint cure over night and then distressed it a bit the next day.
I used 150 grit sand paper so it was really just a light sanding. You may not be able to tell the difference in the pic but it's there. The sanding took away any of the glops of paint or uneveness in the thickness. Did that even make sense? It also gave it a weathered look, which is what I was going for. The last thing I did was give it 3 good coats of polyurethane. I did this because I knew it was going to have glasses set on it and plates of food, etc. It needed to be wipeable. :)
Here's a closer shot of the words we wrote... out favorite shows, channels, sports teams, etc. And at the bottom we put our names.
And it can also easily be removed and used for this:
A nice tray for the kids if they are sitting on the floor. LOL at Milo's face... when he goes in for a snack, he totally commits!
We love it!