Buffalo Check Fall Tray

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I’ve got the cutest Buffalo Check Fall Tray to share with you! It’s thrift store makeover time and this is a really fun project. It’s easy but just takes some time as you need to let the paint dry between layers. I love all things buffalo plaid especially during the fall and winter seasons. I always love fun craft projects that makes a great addition to your fall home decoration.

Buffalo Check Fall Tray with white, oranges, and gray on a thrift store tray.

Buffalo Check Supply List

(affiliate links provided for your convenience)

Here’s the thrift store tray I started with.

Thrift Store Tray

I love the fall leaf details around the edges, so pretty!

How to Paint a Buffalo Check Tray

First step is painting your base coat. I wanted white and used a chalk paint. Chalk paint is awesome because there’s so little prep you need to do. I wiped down the tray with a wet paper towel and was ready to go.

Chalk white paint on a thrift store tray.

It took 2 coats to get a covered finish. Once it was completely dry, I used painter’s tape to block off the edges.

Measuring to find the center point to create a buffalo check.

Next, you measure and find the center spot. I marked it with a pencil on each side. Then you place a piece of painter’s tape right down that centerline. This tape is for spacing. Place a piece of tape on either side of that centerpiece of tape. Then you can remove that centerpiece of tape. Use that piece of tape you just removed as a “spacer” tape to finish the rest of the tape.

TIP: I learned that butting up the tape at a 45-degree angle made it much easier to get the tape in a straight line next to the spacer tape.

Painting the second color on the buffalo check tray.

Go over all the tape edges and press firmly before painting. Then I used my pumpkin paint to paint between the tape. Let it dry a couple of hours.

Second set of painter's tape on the fall tray.

Once dry, remove the tape and repeat the process from the other direction. Start with finding the center point for the “spacer” tape and repeat.

Painting orange paint for the buffalo check.

Paint with the pumpkin paint again. Let dry, but this time do not remove the tape. See those darker squares? We want to paint those areas with the third color. So once the paint is completely dry add painter’s tape back over the lighter areas.

Adding the third color to the buffalo check tray.

For this third color, I mixed 2 parts gray paint with 1 part pumpkin paint. Paint over those open squares.

DIY Fall Buffalo Check Thrift Store Tray

I just love how this Buffalo Check Fall Tray turned out! It’s perfect on my coffee table to display some fall decor like pinecones and a white pumpkin.

Closeup of white, orange and gray buffalo check tray.

I used a sanding block to remove the paint off the leaf detail around the edges, which I just adore now! It’s become one of my favorite fall home decor items.

Thrift Store Tray Makeover into a Buffalo Check Fall Tray.

Other thrift store trays:

Make sure to check out the other awesome thrift store makeovers from the team.

Thrift Store Makeover below - click to see the awesome afters!

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Cutest Fall Buffalo Check Tray using a thrift store find! Get the tutorial on how to buffalo check with fall colors.


  1. Wonderful upcycle! Love your color choices. I enjoy how trays can be used for so many purposes and decorataive is a good thing!

    1. That’s two of us Pam…. have read many but they are so complicated ! This one is worth a shot ! Thanks Maryann

  2. Maryann,

    Thanks for the great (and easy) tutorial on how to paint a buffalo check. Trays are everywhere at thrift stores, and who doesn’t need a great tray?



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