My husband and I have been caring for our son who is recovering from knee surgery. For his meals (like every 3 hours…that boy can put down some food) we use this wooden tray that I decoupaged several years ago.
The first thing I did was clean it and then sand it.
Rather than using paper, I used this fabric that had these vegetable panels. I washed the fabric and dried it without fabric softener. Then I brushed on a thin layer of Mod Podge on the front and back, allowing each side to dry. This kept the fabric from fraying when I cut the panels out.
Next, I brushed the tray with Mod Podge as well as the back of each panel, laid them on the tray, and smoothed them out with a wooden roller to get as many of the air bubbles out as possible. For the air bubbles that did form, I made a small slit in them with a razor blade and pressed out the air. I brushed more Mod Podge over the whole tray and allowed to dry overnight.
Once dry, I lightly sanded it and applied another coat of Mod Podge. I repeated the process of sanding and applying more Mod Podge. If I remember right, I did this about 3 or 4 times.
The last thing I did was apply several coats of urethane, letting each coat dry and wet sanding it between coats with #400 grit sandpaper.
Even though it took some time to do, it was well worth it. The wooden tray has held up for years and cleans up easily with a damp cloth.