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Reverse Collage Tea Tray

By: Heidi Borchers for Inspired at Home

Use this tutorial on reverse collage to help you create this beautiful tea tray. Turn an inexpensive picture frame into a decorative tea tray to serve raspberry rosemary lemonade, snacks or breakfast in bed. The reverse collage technique uses gift wrap, scrapbook paper or even magazines. This projects comes to us compliments of Heidi Borchers for Inspired at Home.


Reverse Collage Tea Tray


  • Gift wrap with teacup motif
  • Tissue paper (complementary colors to teacup motif)
  • 10-1/2” x 13-1/2” wooden picture frame with glass
  • Color paper strips (complementary color to teacup motif)
  • Assorted colors metallic paper circles
  • Aleene’s Instant Decoupage Glue
  • Sponge paintbrush
  • 2 handles with screws
  • Drill with bit to match handle screws


  1. Determine placement of handles on frame and mark placement with pencil. Remove glass from frame and drill through frame where marked. Return glass to frame and set hardware aside until final step.
  2. See reverse collage technique. Cut teacup motifs from gift wrap. Tear tissue paper into odd-shaped pieces of various sizes. Place frame and glass wrong side up on work surface. Working over small area at a time, apply a coat of glue to back of glass. Brush a coat of glue on right side of 1 teacup. With right side down, press teacup into glue. Brush a coat of glue on top, pressing out any air bubbles. Repeat to apply additional motifs until desired effect is achieved. Coat entire surface with glue and place or sprinkle metallic circles over surface in desired pattern. Lay strips of paper into glue in desired pattern.
  3. Crumple 1 piece of tissue paper. Flatten, leaving some of the wrinkles. Place tissue paper into the glue-covered area, covering the teacup cutouts. Brush a coat of glue on top of the tissue paper, wrinkling to add texture. Apply additional pieces of tissue paper, overlapping them for added dimension, until the entire surface is covered. Let glue dry.
  4. Attach handles securely to frame with screws.

Heidi’s Designer Tips: If you have a favorite gift-wrap motif such as butterflies, cats, or hearts and flowers, use this technique to make a tray to suit your style.

Raspberry Rosemary Lemonade Recipe by Candace Liccione

The perfect cool drink to set out on your reverse collage tea tray is Raspberry Rosemary Lemonade. It’s yummy and refreshing. You will need: 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, 1 cup water, ¼ cup sugar, one 12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, 3 cans of water and one box of raspberries (or strawberries). Mix together rosemary, water and sugar in a pan. Bring to just boiling and simmer for 5 – 7 minutes. Strain. Then mix together lemonade concentrate and water. Stir in ½ of the rosemary mixture and taste. Then add more rosemary mixture to the lemonade to taste. Add fresh raspberries to the pitcher and chill. Serve iced and garnish with rosemary sprigs. Childhood memories with big girl taste!

Note: because this tray is made from a picture frame, it is not intended for use as a serving tray for heavier items.

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