Applewood Decorative Tray

Applewood Decorative Tray

Posted by DecoArt on Oct 29th 2014

Add interest and dimension to a serving tray with painted apples and an outline of wooden pieces.


    • water container
    • palette or plastic plate
    • paper towels
    • tracing paper
    • 3/4" flat brush
    • #10 flat brush
    • fine-grit sandpaper
    • 1/2" flat brush
    • #4 round brush
    • hot glue gun and glue sticks
    • #3/0 liner brush
    • stylus
    • clean cloth
    • grey and white graphite paper
    • 3/8" rake brush
    • self-adhesive felt sheet
    • 13" octagonal wooden tray
    • PVA glue
    • small round wooden pieces
    • 1-1/2" camel mop brush
    • 1/2" blender mop brush


    1. Lightly sand the tray with fine sandpaper if needed and wipe clean.
    2. Paint the tray background with a 1:2 mix of Bittersweet Chocolate and Evergreen.
    3. Using a 3/4" flat brush, pick up a little Drying Time Extender on the brush and then pick up the basecoat colors (Celery Green, Bittersweet Chocolate/Evergreen mixture, and Taffy Cream). (Keep the darker values to the right on the tray and add Taffy Cream to lighten as you go toward the left.)
    4. Blend the colors very softly with a 1-1/2" camel mop brush before they dry. Use super light strokes with the mop brush to blend so that the effect is quite airbrushed.
    5. Pick up a little more Drying Time Extender as needed so the colors are all mixed and laid out before you begin. Let dry.
    6. Trace and transfer the pattern to the tray using tracing and and transfer graphite papers and a stylus.
    7. Use a #4 round brush to basecoat the twigs Espresso.
    8. With the #4 round brush unwashed, shade along the bottom of the twigs with Bittersweet Chocolate, blending as you go and always working in the direction of the growth.
    9. Lighten Espresso with a touch of Light Buttermilk and highlight the twig with short dashes of Light Buttermilk.
    10. Lighten again and strengthen the highlight randomly.
    11. Instruction #10
    12. Basecoat the leaves Hauser Medium Green with a #10 flat brush. Shade the leaves using the same brush with a Bittersweet Chocolate/Evergreen float. (Easy Float works well for this step.) Refer to photo for placement.
    13. Wash the #10 flat brush and reload with a 1:1 mix of Hauser Medium Green and Light Buttermilk. Dry-brush this as the first highlight onto one edge of the leaf. (Use a very dry 1/2″ blender mop brush and wipe off most of the paint onto an old cloth before you start. The paint on the brush should be very scant and almost powdery.)
    14. Load a #3/0 liner brush with the Hauser Medium Green/Light Buttermilk mix and paint thin veins in the direction of the leaf growth. Take some of the same mix on the same brush to shade the sides of the veins.
    15. Instruction #13
    16. Add a touch of Moon Yellow to the Hauser Medium Green/Light Buttermilk mix and, with a #4 round brush, stroke some additional highlights onto one side of the leaves. (This should be done sparingly and randomly.)
    17. Use a #10 flat brush to float some Brandy Wine accents to the tips and sides of leaves. (Some Black Plum is nice, too, and it strengthens Brandy Wine. Red fruits and flowers often have this color on leaves; it makes the picture look more realistic.)
    18. Load a 1/2" flat brush with Country Red and basecoat the apples.
    19. Wash the brush and float a Black Plum shade to the right side of the apples and where the leaf or another apple is on top. Show the base of the apple by floating a little here too.
    20. Mix Light Buttermilk with Country Red 1:1 and use 1/2" blender mop brush to dry-brush a highlight to the top left of one apple and the bottom left of the other. (Refer to photo.) Make to use a circular blushing motion (just like putting on makeup) and make it soft and dry. Lighten the Light Buttermilk/Country Red mix with a little more Light Buttermilk and highlight again, concentrating the highlight into a smaller and smaller circle.
    21. Instruction #18
    22. Load a 3/8" rake brush with Black Plum and rake lightly over the apple, all over so that the shade and highlight are still very visible. Wash the brush and reload with Hauser Medium Green. Stroke this on from the bottom and top.
    23. Wash the brush and reload with Sour Apple to highlight over the Hauser Medium Green layer so that it is still visible. Repeat as necessary to build the highlight.
    24. Load a dry 1/2" blender mop brush with Warm White, wipe most of the paint off onto a paper towel, and build a concentrated highlight where you want most of the light to hit. Finish with a few dabs of Warm White applied with a #4 round brush.
    25. Use a #3/0 liner brush loaded with Bittersweet Chocolate to make some small lines coming from the bottom of apple.
    26. Paint the tray edges with a 1:2 mix of Bittersweet Chocolate and Evergreen.
    27. Use a 3/4" flat brush to basecoat the sides of tray inside and out with the Bittersweet Chocolate/Evergreen mix. Let dry.
    28. Wash the brush and paint Weathered Wood over the Bittersweet Chocolate/Evergreen basecoat. Let dry.
    29. Paint over the weathered sides with Celery Green.
    30. Paint the top edge of the tray Tuscan Red. Let dry.
    31. Using a 1" flat brush, coat the base and inner sides of the tray with Triple Thick Gloss Glaze. Allow to dry.
    32. Paint the outside of the tray sides with DuraClear Satin Varnish.
    33. (Optional) Use hot glue to attach a row of wood slices around the inner edge of the tray.
    34. Measure and cut the felt to fit the base of the tray and adhere the felt to the base with PVA glue.


    Apples Pattern