at home with Alfresco

If you are a bit of a bower-bird like us, then printer's trays are a great way to turn your collection into a work of art. These trays are from large cabinets that where used in print companies to store the timber and metal letters that went into their print presses. Divided into small compartments the trays are perfect for displaying found objects and sentimental keepsakes.

A finished tray decorated with shells.

The process of styling a printer's tray.

Here are a few ideas on what you could fill your tray with;
• Shells, coral and sea-glass.
• Broken plates and ceramics - we found a broken blue and white jar and used a hammer to make the pieces small enough to fit into our tray.
• Seed pods and dried flowers.
• Small watercolor drawings or handwritten messages.
• Scrabble tiles.
• Sentimental jewellery you no longer wear.
• Pieces of crystal.

White shells and coral are definitely our favourite item in printer's trays as the light colour stands out against the dark timber. If you are mixing bright or unusable objects in with shells make sure to spread them out in a few places so your finished tray looks balanced. Once you have chosen the items you want to use spread them out beside your tray and then work out where they all should go. Play with repeating patterns and using multiples items in the one compartment. The larger compartments a great for placing large objects that will be the main focus. Once you have a layout that you are happy with, use a hot glue gun to attach the pieces. Add a hanging wire to the back and you have your own custom made artwork.

If you don't have time to go beach-combing, we do sell shell packs that you can use to decorate your tray.

India Hick's Printer's Tray

We could not miss including a picture of one of our favourite printer's trays by interior designer, India Hick's.

If you own a printer's tray we would love to hear what you filled yours with in the comments below.