Ever since we bought a house I have been obsessed with hostess gifts. I always liked them before, because I was raised on dinner parties and was always taught never to show up empty handed at someone else’s house. I was the one bringing bottles of wine to our house parties before we actually liked wine (at the risk of surprising no one, I was planning perfectly coordinated keg parties long before I realized it was an actual profession – I knew how to order outdoor washrooms and schedule garbage pick ups before I was old enough to drive). But until you have a house of your own, I don’t think you realize all the THINGS you can fill it with.
Don’t get me wrong, I frigging LOVE wine. It’s my favourite to give and receive, because it’s easy and always appreciated. But sometimes the occasion doesn’t call for wine. Like you bring wine because it’s a party, but you want to celebrate your friend’s new home. And my new obsession – mail trays. In our old apartment we had a little side table at our front door, because we had a suspiciously large entryway that we took for granted. Our house does not have this same space. So the first surface you can get to to put things down (i.e. my purse, the mail, my iPhone, my latte – this is particularly annoying for me, as you can tell) is the kitchen counter. And that’s AFTER you take off your shoes and somehow hang up your coat. And Justin is notorious for tossing mail into ambiguous piles on the counter (we have a LOT of counter in this kitchen, something else we haven’t adapted to) which is brutal.
I found this Kate Spade New York snail mail tray and immediately wanted it because obviously. But being (casually) budget savvy in light of the biggest purchase of our life, I realized it was out of my league. And then I realized I had Sharpie Paint markers and a DIY spirit, and the rest is history. It’s actually SO easy to DIY this snail mail tray, and while I would never say I hold a candle the greatness that is Kate Spade, for a budget friendly version that’s still sweet (and handy!) it’s a pretty great hostess gift idea!
Depending on your level of perfectionism, there are couple ways to go about this DIY. First, you need a tray. I found mine at Dollarama for $1.50 (nothing is a dollar anymore). If you want straight lines for your gold rim, tape off your angles. I also recommend buying a tray with straight lines – mine is curved on pretty much all angles, so straight was not the word of the day. I liked it a little messy though, so I didn’t bother fixing it up afterwards. That being said – if you screw up, Magic Erasers will clear that up right away! I suggest using the Sharpie Paint Oil markers because they tend to have a stronger colour and they don’t wipe away. I don’t plan on eating off this so I didn’t bake the marker in, but you could. Then it would survive even the dishwasher! I can hand wash my unbaked version no problem though, so it’s still very durable.
If you have nice handwriting, you can freehand the “Mail” label. If you do not (my handwriting is abhorrent) here is the template I used. I had the words cut out on the Cricut and traced them marker, but you could easily cut them out on vinyl print this on sticker paper and stick it to the mail tray. Not having to worry about food safety gives you many options.
And that’s it! It’s actually really cute – I think the lighting and glare of all those curves makes it hard to photograph, but it’s very sweet and definitely passable as Kate Spade. I know because Justin saw it on our counter and was like “What did you do?” which is always a good sign.
It’s the perfect way to cut down on counter clutter, and keep those bills in the right place (i.e. not in our grocery store flier, JUSTIN). Guaranteed to please any hostess, and inexpensive as well! The perfect combo for gift giving.