Tray redo challenge, DIY wet mitten dryer rack

Tray redo challenge, DIY wet mitten dryer rack

Are you enjoying the weather? Depending on where you are it is still ridiculously hot or starting to cool off. I live in Wisconsin, where in about 2 weeks the temperatures will be in the 50’s if we are lucky and dropping fast. In three months it will be a frozen tundra with wet and freezing snow. I am depressing you with my woes of winter for a reason..

I teamed up with a group of blogging friends for this months create & share challenge. Their beautiful projects and links to them are at the bottom of this post. This time we had all purchased this same tray and we had to do something different to it. Let me tell you, the other ladies outdid themselves with this one. They are all so pretty, bright and fun.

I would not be me without trying to turn this tray into something functional. I turned this into a wet mitten drying rack. Hear me out. The idea is not that far fetched. I would like to be in dreamland where wet mittens do not get thrown somewhere in my house to either get dry, drip onto other things or simply get lost. I would also like to live in dreamland where mittens are not needed. However, this is my reality. All of it!

I knew that the other blogging ladies were going to bring lot’s of pretty to their tray. Even though my plan was set I could not have my little tray be the ugly duckling of the bunch. So some paint and snazzy lines is the plan of attack to turn this tray into a swan. 

Here is my not measured lines. I knew I wanted lines but had no idea on a pattern. Nothing like a half thought out project to get you going. It worked! When putting on painters tape to make lines the one thing is to push it, push it real good. Push, shove, squish, put your back into it and make sure that tape is snug and not moving. Rapping along to the lyrics of Push it by Salt-n-Pepa is not needed but recommended. 

I had my old friend, blue paint! I know, shocking. If my house had dreams it would dream in blue. Not sure if it is happy dreams or nightmares, but either way blue and specifically turquoise has overtaken my house.  This is just a sample that I had from a project. Not much was needed to cover the tray. 

Put the paint on like you would any painting job. I planned to just have the inside of the tray be blue and the outside be a different color. 

One coat was all that was needed for this bad boy of a tray to become a pretty lady. Wait what? I mean, this tray is pretty, deal with it. 

Making sure the paint was dry, begin the peeling. I always hold my breath and close one eye when pulling painters tape off. It is like when you watch scary movies, if you cover your eyes and peek out it is not as scary. Fact. This painters tape came out pretty good. I had a few touch ups and places I needed to scrape a little paint off. But overall it was a win with my non planned out patterns.

I used a light gray on the outside. The stress on the “light” side of the gray. Blink and you will miss the gray portion of it. I hear there is 50 shades of gray, this is the subtle, almost non existent gray. The vanilla gray. Did I just make a innuendo with paint color and a raunchy novel? Yes, I did. Just go with it.

I purchased a long wood piece that was square shaped and was 1×1 size around. I cut them to about 5 inches. I cut 6 of them, two each for my 3 kids. They have two hands, two mittens (hopefully) and need two stands for their mittens. Then screwed in these hinges into one end of the boards.

The hinges are not needed to make this project work. However, for storage purposes when not in use these hinges come in handy. I do not have a unlimited amount of storage space, and finding a place to set this when not in use with the mitten stands up at all times would be near impossible. It would be awkward. These hinges go down when the mittens are not needed to dry and it can be stored anywhere since the tray is a fairly flat one. It was all really simple and easy to do.

Where it became complicated it when planning to screw in the other portion of the hinge into the bottom of the tray. The screws were way too long and would have pushed through the bottom. Dale and I had a discussion on how to solve this. I wonder how many hours we have spent discussing trivial things like this?

Hot glue gun to the rescue! I put on a generous glob (professional home decor words here) of hot glue over each hinge once I had them placed where I wanted them to be. 

I got crafty and used my new Cricut Explore Air that I got for my birthday from Dale to make some cute labels for this. Putting the kids names and a cute little saying on each side. With some stencils and paint the same effect can be made with the names. Having big and expensive craft toy’s is not needed to put names on things. 
Here is Nora and Caleb watching the Cricut work. Yes, they stood there during the whole process. They were the same way when we got out front load washer. The novelty will wear off. Either that or I am teaching them how to use it and putting them to work. It is not considered child labor if they are my offspring and want to do it. Right?

This is the finished product. My pretty and functional tray makeover.

I broke out the mittens to show how it will work. Let’s pretend these are half frozen and/or dripping. I will add that I need to add a few coats of polyurethane to this to protect all of the wood and paint from the expected wetness to drip from these mittens. I did not have any at the time of making this and still have some time to finish it. 
Yes, if you were wondering that is Olaf in the background of the above picture. We know Olaf, keep your start struck-ness to a minimum. He does like warm hugs though, so hug away. 

Each kid has their name on their two mitten stands. There should be no complaining, labels are a Mom with more than one child’s best friend. Label everything and the fights are a little less. Or at least easily broken up with the proof of ownership with the label. That is the Mom version of dropping the mic. Boom, look whose name it is… boom!

The cheeriness of the color and patterns with their names is too much! I of course adore my kid’s names and like to see them everywhere.

These mittens all by themselves look a little creepy. Like a field of hands. Anyways…

Here are the two phrases I put on the side. I could not decide between the two and just decided to be crazy and reckless and do both. Watch out, pretty soon I will be cutting tags off of mattresses and swimming before the recommended 20 minute rest after eating. Two different phrases, madness!!!

The rack is easily collapsible and hidden away in the bench behind our sofa. As shown by my fancy photo shopping arrow and text. The use of this would have been limited if it was a over sized and permanently  up dryer rack. No one has space like that in their home. 
I am looking forward to having a place for my wet mittens to go with the kids. Less mess, chaos, and mystery wet puddles on the floor. Those are always fun. Snow, water, or pee….?
If you follow along here I think you can see the theme of most of my projects, and that is function. Taking my house little by little and making every inch of it usable space. With 3 kids close in age there is enough chaos by just simply existing. Add in the gear for winter and it becomes too much. Little projects like this. Creative, simple and different are exactly what DIY is all about. 
The other 8 bloggers taking part in the tray redo challenge-

1. Faux Living Wall Art by Up To Date Interiors
2. Tray Makeover by Refashionably Late
3. DIY Wet Mitten Dryer by Our House Now A Home
4. DIY Portable Office Space by One Mile Home Style
6. Grain Sack Stripe Inspired Tray by The House Down The Lane
7. DIY Tray Art Organizer by Shabby Grace Blog
8. DIY Trendy Plaid Tray by Casa Watkins
9. Conversation Starter Boards by Uncookie Cutter

Go and peruse the other great tray redo’s. These ladies are so talented and they know how to dress up a simple tray!



  1. What an adorable idea Emily! Perfect for winter and those wet mittens!!

  2. Emily ~ This turned out so cute! And I love how your kids were so into the process. :0) I'll bet none of your kittens lose their mittens now!

  3. What a nifty little gadget! I love it!

  4. I love little projects like this. Your kids will keep special memories of this so it's a win win.

  5. Wow! I am not a crafty person and I am so impressed!

  6. Emily, this is SO great!!!! Perfect for those wet mittens! I was wondering how you got those sticks to stand! I was planning on screwing my buckets in until I saw how thin the bottom wood was!! Gotta love glue!!! Great job. Love reading your post too, btw.

  7. Oh my goodness, this is such a smart idea! I love that you put the hinges on it so you could easily store it! great job Emily! 🙂

  8. This is so awesome! I love this idea and I would have never thought to do it. I am sure it will get lots and lots of use with winter around the corner!

  9. Oh my gosh, this is adorable!!

  10. This is so cute, such a great idea and I love how you painted it. Wet soppy mittens really are a nightmare. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Oh my goodness this is adorable! I'm thinking of a gift idea for some friends with little ones. Creative, cute and functional. Love it!

  12. Cute! We don't have much need for mittens, but I love this idea.

  13. Oh my gosh this is so cute and perfect for the winter weather we have coming up. My boys usually just throw their mittens or gloves on the floor by the door and that's where they sit…in a big puddle of water. Totally making one of these!

  14. That is an unbelievably smart idea! Well done.

  15. LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea Emily. I was thrilled to see such a creative take on the tray. I've pinned and shared it!

  16. This is so creative Emily. I love the design elements, the colors, and the functionality of your tray project!!

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