Buffalo Check Decor for Autumn

Buffalo Check Decor for Autumn

This project, my friends, was driven entirely by my obsession with one of Funky Junk Interiors’ most recent stencils. She created a Buffalo check stencil for her Old Sign Stencil Shop (affiliate link) and I have been dying to try it out. I decided to create some Buffalo check decor on a wood tray from the thrift store using her stencil. I thought it would be lovely as rustic cabin decor to use for my autumn decorating!

Wooden tray or wood tray at thrift store to be upcycled into rustic cabin decor with a Buffalo plaid stencil

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related post.

The buffalo check stencil used for this project was provided by Funky Junk Interiors / Old Sign Stencils at no cost to me. However, all opinions are my own.

Using a Buffalo Plaid Stencil on a Wood Tray

First, I needed to sand down each wooden tray. I wanted to do this to remove the old finish and prepare them for wood stain.

Using an orbital sander on wood tray before staining it and upcycling it into rustic home decor or Buffalo check decor

Next, I finished sanding down the wood trays and  wiped away any dust left behind. Then, I grabbed a favorite can of wood stain from my paint locker.

Using wood stain on wooden tray to repurpose it into rustic cabin decor with a Buffalo check stencil

Once the stain dried overnight, I gathered my stenciling supplies:

Decorating a wood tray with a Buffalo plaid stencil to become the fall decor or lodge decor

My initial plan was to use the wood background of the tray as one of the “colors” of my Buffalo check decor. So, I centered the Buffalo check stencil on my wood tray, taped it in place, and began to stipple red paint through the checks.

Red craft paint to create Buffalo check decor using a vinyl stencil from Funky Junk Interiors for rustic cabin decor

But when I was done and the paint had dried, I was really underwhelmed- NOT because of the Buffalo plaid stencil (which worked brilliantly) but because the red paint against the wood stain just didn’t look great. The Buffalo check design was lost and unable to “pop”.

So, I fussed at the tray, fussed at myself, and pushed everything aside for a while. Sometimes, you just need to walk away from a problematic project for a bit to clear your head.

Pinterest Fail on a wood tray with trying to create the Buffalo plaid decor with a vinyl stencil on a wooden tray

See…in my mind, I didn’t need to stencil two colors. I was sure that the red paint would pop against the stain, but I was wrong! But, after I calmed down, I resolved to try it again.

Buffalo Check Decor for Autumn with a Wooden Tray

I retrieved my painter’s tape and placed strips of tape RIGHT UP AGAINST the red stenciling. Like- right up next to it.

And with paint brush in hand, I quickly covered my red stenciling job with a rectangle of black craft paint.

Painting over a Pinterest Fail with black craft paint to create the rustic cabin decor with a Buffalo plaid stencil

And when THAT paint had dried, I re-centered the Buffalo check stencil over the black paint, taped it in place, and once again stippled on some red paint. If my idea for Buffalo check decor didn’t work out this time, the tray was going to end up in the Goodwill pile!

Buffalo plaid decor or Buffalo check decor on a wood tray from the thrift store for an autumn craft

When I was done, I had a VERY good feeling- as if I had made a fortuitous mistake…because it looked PERFECT!

Would I finally have the Buffalo plaid decor / rustic home decor that I had wanted from the start??

Using a Buffalo check stencil or Buffalo plaid stencil on a wooden tray to create the rustic cabin decor

The answer was YES – second time was the charm! It was totally worth walking away for a bit to regroup and then try, try again. Because my wood tray FINALLY looked like the vision of Buffalo plaid decor I had in my mind.

Rustic cabin decor or lodge decor with a wooden tray from the thrift store and a Buffalo plaid stencil

The funny thing is, had I decided to use both colors from the very start, I would have had to measure a million times to make sure I painted the exact-perfect-no-room-for-error black rectangle.

But instead, I simply painted black paint over my previous stencil- which required absolutely no measuring! So, if you think about it…it actually worked out better this way, right?

Now- I can use my wooden tray as rustic cabin decor for Fall and into winter…

Lodge decor and rustic cabin decor by upcycling a wood tray from the thrift store with a Buffalo plaid stencil

Or, I can use it as a pretty tray- to set magazines on, or carry out drinks, etc. Both decorative and functional- can’t beat that.

Thrift store makeover with a wooden tray to create the rustic home decor as autumn craft for Fall decorating

All I can say is: Thank Goodness I didn’t give up after the first round of stenciling- because not only do I seriously love my tray, but I really do think it was a blessing in disguise.

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for rustic cabin decor to decorate for Fall, then you’ll love my autumn wreath with a leather quiver!

Leather quiver and wooden arrows or vintage arrows for upcycling idea as an autumn wreath for harvest decor by Sadie Seasongoods

And be sure to check out how I used the Buffalo check stencil for a Christmas project here, as well!

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. For what dates are the tickets? I could get excited about this. I’m only 4 hours away! It would be a nice experience. I’d have to drag Donna of Distressed Donna Downhome along with a friend of hers. That would be so fun!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Oooh, thank you for the reminder! The Vintage Market Days website was down yesterday, so I didn’t want to include a broken link in my blog post…but I’ve updated it with the dates for Columbia (October 27-29) and a link to the event. Donna went to the Augusta show and found all kinds of amazing goodies!!

      • We will have been in Columbia the weekend before, but we can always go back! I hope to meet up with Donna then. She’s so fun!

  2. Great tray! I just bought a similar tray at an estate sale. It’s currently sitting on my floor as I try to think of how to fix it up! Visiting from Vintage Charm.

  3. Carol G Buddin says

    I hope I get to meet you at VMD Columbia Metro!!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      If I get a chance to go, I will definitely let you know! Please let your friends know about the giveaway. 🙂

  4. That seriously looks like plaid Sarah, wow!! I’m convinced the stencil fairies really wanted you to do this one

  5. I just love this stencil! It can be tricky though at first. Great project and great staging as always!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Carlene!! Staging improvement was on my to-do list this year- like a blogging New Year’s resolution, LOL. I appreciate the positive feedback!!

  6. I have had my eye on that stencil for months. In fact, I have a huge project planned for it in the Spring. Happy to see the stencil in action and I love it, especially with the two tone color! Your trays are just darling and pinned to share.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      It’s just an amazing stencil- and it worked like a charm! I was worried about not having enough stencil-talent to work those hash marks, but no issues whatsoever.

  7. So in LOVE with the buffalo check detail inside a plain ‘ol tray! Talk about cabin fever… Thank-you for doing this stencil total justice, Sarah!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you SO very much, Donna- it’s just such a fabulous stencil, and we all appreciate the tediousness that you put into creating it. Just a work of art!

  8. Lynda Swinney says

    Love your stencilled tray and thanks for the inspiration! I am looking for an opportunity to do something like this now. Could you also share where you got the beautiful blanket I the photo? I have been looking for one like that. Thanks!

  9. Love how this turned out! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm! Pinned!

  10. SUPER cute! I pinned it. Thanks for linking up to our party!


  11. Love the buffalo check and it definitely gives off a cabin vibe.

  12. How adorable!!! I am in love with buffalo check right now!

  13. Red and Black is my favorite buffalo check and it looks so good on your tray. Thank you for sharing at Snickerdoodle.

  14. Ok, so I know what I have to go buy now! That stencil is awesome, and I love how your tray turned out!! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday! #MM Pinning!

  15. I just love this project! As a lover of plaid and buffalo plaid in my cabin, this DIY would be perfect!

  16. Dixie Henderson says

    Great tray. I’m doing a Christmas centerpiece named”plaid Tidings of Joy”. This tray will work perfectly with the theme?

  17. I loved what you did with the wooden tray. I love stenciling; need to try this. You’re so talented and I love all your projects. Can’t wait to see what you have for the springtime!!!

  18. I know this is an older post but it just popped up on Pinterest and I am in love with this! I actually thought you used fabric for this which is why I opened it but who needs fabric when you have this lovely stenciled design! Love that you used 2 different colors. Hadn’t thought about doing that.

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