Bone inlay is absolutely gorgeous, isn’t it? Real bone inlay pieces are proper works of art. They take weeks & even months to finish (apparently each and every single piece requires three craftsmen – one carves intricate shapes from discarded cow bones, one fixes these pieces to the wood and the last one files the pieces into the furniture) and cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds. I’d like to say that I’m able to afford such true beauty but the thing is – I can’t. Instead I day dream about it endlessly. Until one morning at 3am when I had that aaa-ha moment (and was also being bitten by Pippin’s little vampire nibblers). Surely I can fake bone inlay! A quick browse on the internet tells me I can – with stencils (which are pretty damn expensive, bah!). I had no stencils & was not willing to wait 4+ weeks for them to arrive. Instead I figured out my own way of faking it (yes, it does involve potatoes and no, it won’t take you days to finish this project, it’ll take you a mere morning!).
▫️ an old wooden serving tray (mine is this one from Asda but you can get a cheaper one from IKEA)
▫️ black furniture paint (mine is RustOleum’s Satin Finish Furniture Paint in Carbon – get it here)
▫️ white furniture paint (I used RustOleum’s Painter’s Touch in White Gloss – find it here)
▫️ Polyurethane top coat (I love this one in Clear Gloss from RustOleum – I use it on all my DIYs that need water-proofing!)
▫️ Stanley knife
▫️ 2 potatoes (one smaller, one larger)
▫️ large painting brush & small pointy brush for details
▫️ masking tape
▪️ First of all you need to paint your tray. I used a matte black paint because I really wanted the white to pop! I also find that using matte as a base makes it easier to paint on top of it because the white doesn’t ‘glide’ all over it. Do two coats and wait until completely dry. I did this the day before because I originally planned to use this tray for a different project.
▪️ Take your masking tape and tape off the edges of your tray (ca 1-2cm from the edge). Paint the edges with white paint and wait until dry. Do another coat and wait until completely dry. Remove your tape. Continue until all edges of your tray are white including the inside. There might be a little spillage under the tape but don’t worry, we’ll fix that soon!
▪️ For the outer sides of your tray use the tape again to create a diamond pattern. Just criss-cross small pieces of the tape along the sides and paint (two coats again). Wait until completely dry and remove the tape. Repeat until the outer sides are complete.
▪️ Do the same on the inner sides. It will be a little trickier but it’s not difficult at all!
▪️ Once everything is completely dry tape off a large rectangle on the bottom of the tray – ca 5cm from the edge, again ca 1-2cm wide depending on the size of your tray. Paint 2 coats and wait until completely dry. Remove the tape.
▪️ Paint a star in the very middle of the bottom of your tray by hand. Add 4 spirals coming out of the star. Don’t worry if it gets messy, the paint leaks around or looks faded – we’ll fix that in a minute.
▪️ Now it’s potato time! Cut two potatoes in half. Make 4 potato stamps (just like you used to when you were a kid!). Each potato makes two mirroring leaf/drop shapes. Use a Stanley knife to cut them out.
▪️ Get stamping! Apply white paint with your little brush and stamp around the bottom of the tray until the whole surface is covered. It doesn’t matter that some of the shapes are a little faded or leaking around – just make sure you completely cover the bottom of your tray.
▪️ Finally – the fixing. Once everything is completely dry take white paint & a thin brush. Go over lines, the star and stamped leaves – make sure they are fully saturated. Once this is completely dry take black paint & a thin brush. Go around all the white areas that have leaked or are imperfect – the lines, the diamond shapes, the leaves, the star – everything. By doing this all the white spaces will really pop and will have crisp edges – similar to the way bone inlay looks.
▪️ Once everything is completely dry apply two coats of Polyurethane top coat. This top coat seals your tray and makes it water resistant so it’s protected when you spill your tea on it!