Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Papier Mache Trays and Tole Trays

When it comes to papier mache trays, I can't ever seem to pass them up.  I've collected them for years.  In fact, I have NO idea how many I have.  They are from the Victorian era, and tend to be from England.  There are alot of tole trays out there, but they always struck me as "early american" as I would see them in Colonial Homes magazines in the 80's.

The papier mache trays obviously can have more damage, as they are not as sturdy as tole trays, but sometimes I come across a tole tray that is decorated like a papier mache tray.  Such was the case when I found my $25 treasure:

A rusting tole tray....
So, if you collect tole trays, please tell me how to deal with the rust.   I'm basically not into restoring anything I purchase, so I need a little help here.  I don't want to to wind up on my dad's farm sitting in a pile of scrap metal.

I purchased this ignoring all those people who advise you to purchase "quality, condition & content".  OK, this has quality and content at one point.  I figured I couldn't go wrong for the price.  It could also wind up very high on a wall somewhere and not be near a discerning eye  (my husband).

One of my favorite trays is this lovely coffee table.  It is papier mache:

Papier Mache tray on a stand
The tray is quite large.  It works very well as a coffee table
Of course, using antiques as a coffee table includes the risk of having your 80 year old guests place cups of coffee on it when they get up before you do.  Yikes.   This tray was lacquered at some point, but some of the lacquer is flaking off.  I don't like to dust this tray because I'm afraid some of the paint will come off.  It doesn't have a maker's mark on it, but if you're on the hunt for a quality piece of papier mache, Jennings & Bettridge did fabulous work.

Some of my other trays are:

Red papier mache, more of a chinoiserie style.

Trays are great on top of tall furniture
The tray below is the smallest one I own.  It came with a larger tray, not sure where I've got that one tucked!  I like to put trays behind items that I want to accent.  In this case, the pink creamer would have disappeared to if it didn't have the tray behind it.  That brings up another point:  a black accent in any room almost always works.
Small papier mache tray with ornate border
I have several trays with mother-of-pearl inlay.  They are really fun too.  You do see alot of trays with dogs painted on them, but many of them are old trays that got a recent "facelift" to make them highly desirable.  So be careful.  They're cute, you just need to know what you are purchasing.
Tray behind stove breaks up boring wall of granite.
 There are many other tole object that you can collect that aren't trays.  Check out the tole painting on my lovely birdcage.

I couldn't resist this box with the birds and flowers on it.  It's a great way to stash things.  I have paint chips in here.
Victorian theme tole box with birds and flowers


Enjoy the reset of the week.  Even though it is over 80 degrees in the northwest, it feels a bit like fall.  Things are starting to wind down in the garden.  Maybe I will work in the garden tomorrow.  Or maybe I'll just sit outside with my morning cup of coffee.  While I can---it's not raining yet.

Don't forget to leave a comment if you have some advice for me on how to clean up the rust on the tray!

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