Thrift Store Makeover - Lego Doll House Tray

It's the time of the month where I'm ready to share another thrift store makeover project. Going to the thrift store is a fun adventure, you find something new and exciting each time you visit. You have to look beyond what is there in front of you and use your imagination to plan what you can transform it into.

Easy tutorial to makeover a wood tray for Lego Play

I love visiting the wood section of the local Deseret Industries thrift store to see what pieces they have that I can make some changes to, to make it fit in our home. Sometimes I find a sign that needs a new coat of paint, a craft birdhouse that could use some brightening, or a wood block that I can make into a holiday piece.

Today is an oh-so-simple and quick makeover of a wood piece that I see at the thrift store all the time. With just a few supplies I was able to make a tray my kids can use as a doll house for their Lego mini-figures. You can follow my easy instructions to make one of your own!

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This project is part of the monthly Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge. Bloggers visit thrift stores or garage sales and pick out an item to perform makeover magic on. Then we share our tutorials to give you ideas of what you can do to the thrifty treasures you find.

thrift store upcycle decor challenge

The Rules:

  • Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
  • There's no monthly theme.
  • There's no budget to stick to.

Meet the Hosts

Amanda | The Kolb Corner    Erlene | My Pinterventures    Kim | Made in a Day 
Dru | Polka Dot Poplars    Maureen | Red Cottage Chronicles    Pili | Sweet Things
Debra | Shoppe No. 5    Marie | DIY Adulation    Havalah | Sisters, What
Chelsea | Making Manzanita    Ann | Duct Tape and Denim
Molly | Just a Little Creativity    Ashley | 3 Little Greenwoods    Kimm | Reinvented
Kim | Farmhouse Made    Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled    Sara | Twelve on Main
Chelc | Inside the Fox Den     Michelle | Our Crafty Mom    Denise | My Thrifty House 
Jeannee | Shepherds and Chardonnay     Jennifer and Vicki | 2 Bees in a Pod
Lora | Craftivity Designs     Ali | Home Crafts By Ali       Kathleen | Our Hopeful Home
Jeanie | Create & Babble    Michelle | Michelle James Designs

Make sure you follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration!

Thrift Store Makeover - Lego Tray Doll House

It seems as if every time I go to the thrift store, there is a brightly colored wood rectangle with multiple sections. I remember that we had one of them with the wood dolls that my girls had when they were little. Melissa and Doug make great wood toys for kids, but most people end up putting the shoes, hats, and other items for the dolls in a box or bin and get rid of the organizer.

Wood multiple section melissa and doug tray

I've passed these by a thousand times at the thrift store, but last week I decided to buy one and try to figure a way to use it. With a price of $0.50 it wasn't a risky buy and I had a few ideas swimming around in my head to try out.

First things first, I knew immediately that I would need to change the color. There was no way that I wanted a bright yellow sectioned tray sitting around. Makeover time was ready to start!

Supplies Needed

Wood Tray - Found at thrift store. Could also use a drawer organizer
Spray Paint

Instructions for Tray Makeover

Step 1: Use sandpaper to lightly sand on all the surfaces that you want to paint. I have had some frustrating experiences with trying to spray paint on glossy surfaces, so sanding was the first step.

quick and easy upcycle wood project sanding tray

As you can see in the photo above, I sanded the outside edges too. You don't have to sand away the whole painted layer. The 4 hearts closest in the photo have not been sanded, with the 4 further away having a light sanding done.

Step 2: Wipe with a damp cloth to remove any paint dust. You want a clean surface when painting. Let dry or wipe with a clean dry cloth.

rustoleum spray paint 2x ultra cover diy project

Step 3: Place your project on plastic sheeting in a well ventilated area. Shake your can of spray paint, hold about 6 inches from your project, and spray evenly on the wood piece. I used Rust-Oleum 2X Ultra Cover gloss formula for my project. It has a primer included, so I felt that it cut down on the time of the project.

spray an even layer lightly over the multi-sectioned tray

Spray in light layers so you have an even coat of paint, and no drips or pooling of paint. Wait about 5 minutes between the layers of paint. My project took two layers of paint.

That's it! Sand, wipe, spray. How easy is that!

The full drying time for the paint takes at least 24 hours. You want to make sure the surface of your project is completely dry before you place anything on it.

Easy and Quick 3 step decor makeover

Wow! Doesn't that look pretty? I love the color and I'm thinking that I may use the rest of the spray paint to make a few beach themed items for my summer decor.

So what will this pretty tray be used for? As soon as I saw it painted, I knew that my girls would love to use it with their LEGO's. My oldest puts her sets together, then the next time she plays with the blocks she makes multi-roomed houses where all the Lego Friends can come to spend time together.

easily update a wood tray to make a lego house for mini-figures

My daughter was excited to put together her new Lego Friends set that I got from the Lego people at Snap, a blogging conference for crafters, this past weekend. Lego Friends is celebrating a 5 year birthday this year! I can't count on two hands the amount of those sets we have bought over these 5 years. I'm excited to see all the new and exciting things that Lego will come up with over the next 5 years.

lego building fun colorful tray house step by step tutorial

After building her new set, she added some of those pieces to the fun doll house she created for all the little mini-figures and animals. I love her imagination and it's so interesting to see the details she adds each time she builds.

There you have it. A simple to update tray that could have many uses. It's an amazing transformation that occurs with just a bit of spray paint.
Thrift store makeover lego doll house tray tutorial

And now for more thrifty goodness!

Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!


  1. OMG, what a simple idea! We have those various magnet dress up doll wooden holders. Now I know what to do with them when the kids are over playing dress-up. Visiting from Thrift Store Challenge.

    1. Yay! So glad I could help you out to know what to do. It was so simple, but looks so nice.

  2. Super cute makeover! You were so right to banish the bright yellow - love the new color and we are sure your daughter is thrilled with her new Lego tray!
    Vicki and Jenn
    2 Bees in a Pod

    1. That yellow was so hideous. Not sure why they chose that color to begin with. Thanks for visiting Jenn!

  3. What a great idea! I've seen those boxes, too. Maybe next time I'll have to pick one up! Love the color, too:) xo Kathleen | Our Hopeful Home

    1. It was so easy to do, but makes such a difference. I think I'll pick up a few more and have them for my craft room. That color is one of my favorites.

  4. What a great idea! It's perfect for playing house with the Lego Friends!

    1. Thanks Cindy! It works so well. She played all day today again while home sick.

  5. How cute is that!? I love that it's kind of like a little doll house for legos. Really cute idea and great reuse of something from the thrift store.

    1. Thanks Chelsea! Both my girls have loved using it the past week - setting up their "house" then rebuilding over and over.

  6. This is an adorable idea. I bet your girls are loving their new house for the Legos. The color you painted it is so pretty.

    1. I really like the color too Debra. It's nice and cheery.

  7. My daughter would love this! Like I was at her age, I used legos to play house, and my little girl does too. My boys one the other hand....

    1. Glad you liked it Audra and think your daughter would too.

  8. I'm so going to make one of these. My grand daughters will love it. Thanks for the fun idea.

    1. Thanks for visiting Dru! I hope your granddaughters will like using it to play.

  9. Okay this is brilliant! I love a fun doll house and this one is for legos! It is crazy and great all at the same time. LOL!

    1. Your comment made my day Michelle!

  10. What a cool and awesome idea! Fun and neat too! Win ! Win !

    1. We like it a lot at our house Jeannee. I'm going to have to find another one so both my girls have their own!

  11. Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting and your nice comment Denise.

  12. Oh my word. I need three of these! I will start stalking these out, my kids would absolutely love these. I love how the Lego Friends look like they're hanging out in a house - my oldest will love this project!

    1. Isn't it a fun and easy project?! Silly me, I only bought one, but my daughters let me know that they need their own little Lego Friends doll house. Thanks for sharing it on FB too Kimberly!

  13. My daughters are huge fans of Lego especially Lego Friends, and this tray is perfect for it, love the color too

  14. There is NO DOUBT that I will be copying this. Seriously, so smart! And we have so many of these trays from Melissa and Doug toys.

  15. This is a great transformation. The green goes well with the Legos and is so much better than how you found it!

  16. I LOVE this idea. Super cute and what girl wouldn't love this LEGO tray.

  17. Oh this is adorable! I've got a little girl who would love to play with this lego tray.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    {BIG hugs}


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