Printer’s Trays

Have you ever noticed the stack of skinny, wooden ‘things’ sitting over in the corners of antique stores, flea markets, junk places?  Usually printer’s trays abound by the multitudes in these places.  When I was really little my Mom purchased one and painted it white, hung it on my wall, and I was able to fill it with all the little treasures that I collected on our travels, etc.  I was about 4 and affectionately referred to it with the uniquely original name “My Collection”.  So, when we would travel—I would say, “I can add this to My Collection”.  My favorite thing to collect was the little glass animals and figurines.  Then I moved on to the little European, hand-carved figures.  If something was a bit too tall my Mom would take her pliers and just pop out a piece of wood to make the opening larger.

Several years ago while helping my parents clean out their attic Handsome came across “My Collection” and brought it home.  How fun!  I had almost forgotten about it!

We purchased two more  printer’s trays—painted one white and left the other one its original, unpainted wood.  We split My Collection among all three kids–letting them pick out their favorite pieces; and now they, too, have their own My Collection.  Guess what they call it?  Yep:  “My Collection”.  Even though they all collect a myriad of other things—the printer’s tray hanging on their wall is always referred to as “My Collection”.

Here’s some pics of their collections—-they have added their own special finds to the ones of mine that they started with; and they continue to this day–even though they are in their teens–to add to it.  {Sorry for the grainy pics—-I have the hardest time inside our house taking good, clear pics.  Any suggestions from those of you that know a secret—bring ’em on!}

My son’s collection is full of things found in parking lots, parks, beaches, etc.  Capsters that he has made–and other neat mementos from favorite places.  When redecorating his room a couple of years ago I asked: “Do you want to clean this out and pack it up?”  He emphatically answered “NO!  I want that back on the wall!”  So, even at almost 16 years old it hangs on the wall—and every now and then I notice a new little treasure has been added.

Here is my middle daughter’s tray……this was my actual tray that I had growing up……

These little wooden figures are from Holland—some of my favorites.  The wooden nickel is from my trip to Deadwood, SD when I was 9.

More wooden figures from Holland—-for Easter:

Here is my youngest daughter’s tray:

Some of her additions include the Sonic animals that come on your drinks!  Love it!

Little items from my dollhouse growing up….these are so hard to find these days. Check out the miniature cheese tray with glass dome!  Love it!

Love this miniature teacup and saucer

Have you ever used a printer’s tray in a unique way?  Have you ever seen them before?


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26 thoughts on “Printer’s Trays

  1. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog. What a wonderful idea to share something from your past with your children. It will be nice to see the different collections they have as they grow up.

  2. I have a printer’s tray hanging on the wall in my junk room. It used to be my crafting room but has, over time, become my ” close the door and don’t look!” room ( sigh ). At any rate, I have small keepsakes from my childhood and a few miniatures from the craft store displayed there.

  3. I love this idea. I will have to find a couple trays for my little girls. That is a great way to ‘contain’ the collections. Visiting from Handmade Tuesdays.

  4. My father-in-law worked his whole life in a print shop. When he retired he had me refinish 3 of the trays.
    All I did was clean them well and then use Bri wax. I just inherited the one tray I did for him. I think , now that I have two, I will paint one white.
    I have seen in Pottery Barn all sea shells in one. I think I saw one with all letters also in PB. Brenda of Cozy Little House put rubber stamps in hers. She had the images facing outward.
    I love the trays. Glad you posted yours. What great memories for you and your children.

  5. What a fun idea! I bought a beautiful printer’s tray recently to resell at my space at the antique store. Now I am seriously thinking about bringing it home for my son’s room! He has a collection of rocks that keeps growing and I have been wondering what we were going to do with them all! Thank you so much for the inspiration!
    Best WIshes and Blessings,

  6. I have two on my guest room wall. I have thimbles and various other tiny things. I may try to find one for each of my four grandchildren. Thanks for the idea. 🙂

  7. just love this look – so perfect for miniatures of any sort. That’s so special that your mom encouraged you to identify with the concept of collecting (and treasuring your collection) at such a young age. What a wonderful thing! xo, Diane

  8. My mom had one of these when I was growing up. Don’t know what happened to it after selling the house…
    I have one I bought after I married– only it is a replica (probably made in china) smaller tray. I still have it…propped up on a shelf…not really show cased. I honestly didn’t think people used these anymore. I hardly ever see them.

    I like all the natural elements in yours.
    I noticed a couple of little things that caught my eye… wanna know what they are?

    on the white tray,
    the little ‘rock animals’ next to the red fire hydrant ( I like rock animals or shell creatures)
    and… the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes miniatures

    Love the trays–

  9. Oh! I loooooove them Daune! I am in trouble now…..I need one!!!! and it’s and emergency!!!! I’ll begin looking for one of those just at this moment. Your blog is dangerous for me…LOL

  10. Your ‘collection’ and those of your children) are so lovely and really tell a fantastic story about who you are and what you love.

    I bought a Printers tray yesterday and have decided not to paint it. Instead I’e given it a clean (Oh my word – it was FILTHY!) 😛

    I am just making room to hang it on my wall in my sewing/craft room so that I can display all my treasures which are, at resent, tucked in draws and cubbyholes where they are not fully appreciated.

    I’m going to fill it with things that make my heart flutter 😀

    I’ll post up blogs of my ‘collection’ as it develops so pop by for a look soon

    …. now i’ve just got to find a way of hanging it!

    Gem x

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