Over the weekend, I finished up a craft project I’ve been meaning to try for a few months – recreating the look of bone inlay with paint and a stencil. I love how it turned out and now this bone inlay lookalike tray sits on my vanity in my master bathroom to corral makeup brushes, jewelry, etc.
I was inspired by images of bone inlay trays I saw online but as we all know, authentic bone inlay pieces are pricey, often several hundred dollars for just a box or tray. I loved the geometric pattern in these two colorful versions so I set out to recreate a lookalike with paint, but I chose metallic gold instead of a bright color.
I ordered a craft stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils so I could attempt a faux version with a basic wood tray I bought at Target. To create your own inlay inspired tray in your color of choice you’ll need these supplies: basic wood tray like this one; primer, white craft paint, colored or metallic craft paint, nagoya stencil, foam roller, medium and small artist’s paintbrush, wide No. 2 pencil, top coat for protection.
First, prime the wood so the paint will adhere, I used a spray version of Zinsser Cover Stain. Once that was dry I chose to apply a coat of Mother of Pearl craft paint for subtle sheen.
To create the color layer, hold the stencil in place (or use painter’s tape) and roll on a light coat of paint with a foam roller – I used a combo of Rose Gold and Champagne metallic paints.
It looks rippled and bubbly at first due to the roller, but after two coats, the textural effect is minimized. You can also smooth the paint with a small brush, brushing away from the edge of the stencil.
My advice: resist the urge to use too much paint. Instead apply two very light coats, otherwise the paint bleeds underneath and you’ll throw your arms up in the air in frustration and swear to never stencil again.
Apply the first coat, wait 10-15 minutes for the layer to dry, don’t move the stencil, then roll on a second coat. It adds more time to the process but the effect is a more precise result. If there are any glaring imperfections, go back and cure with a small artist’s brush.
Here is the tray in process without the dots in the middle, which is nice too. Hey I spy me in my pink bathrobe holding a camera in the reflection. Typical Saturday morning :)
I used a wide No. 2 pencil (eraser rubbed flat) dipped in white paint to create the dots in the middle.
Once your pattern is complete, finish it off with a protective coat, I used Martha’s High Gloss finish which I’ve used before (see these Tiffany blue lacquer lookalike boxes).
It took a full day, coming back to the project every hour or so, but the result it a really pretty geometric pattern that mimics bone inlay for much less.
This week I’m working on a separate bone inlay lookalike project to be featured in print (one I suggested here) so this tray was great practice! Are you a lover of the look of bone inlay too?