Whether you’re a vintage lover or you’d like to organize the items in your room, an antique vanity mirror tray can be a great tool for your design ideas. This piece is also called a dresser tray, perfume tray, and plateau. It was widely used by ladies in the victorian era to create a romantic mood on their vanity tables.
This sophisticated art deco piece is a great complement to your style, and provides elegance, organization, and personality to your home. Although it seems to be only a decor piece, this product has many uses.
Read on if you’d like to learn more about antique vanity mirror trays. Today, we’ll show you everything you need to know about this vintage piece.
What Is An Antique Vanity Mirror Tray?
An antique vanity mirror tray is a rectangle metal piece used for storage and decoration. It comes in different shades, including gold, silver, bronze, cobber, and rose gold. It can also come in pastel paint. It has a mirror base to reflect items inside the tray. This is an art deco piece, so you’ll find it in multiple styles and shapes.
These old beauties were very popular in the 1950s and 1970s, so it’s very likely that you’ve seen them in your mom’s or grandmother’s house.
Most antique mirror trays have ornaments to provide a sophisticated and romantic look. This could be silver lace, braided metal artwork, crystals, etc. Most of these pieces are made of expensive materials like gold or silver. However, there are less expensive pieces made out of plastic.
You can place mirror trays in multiple places around your house, including the bathroom, dressing table, living room, as display centerpieces on wedding tables, or hanging on the wall. It will depend on your decoration style and the function you’d like to give it.
Types Of Antique Vanity Trays
As we mentioned earlier, there are multiple types of vanity trays made out of different materials. It’ll depend on which one matches your style. Below, we have listed some of the most common antique vanity trays:
- Silver and Gold: These vanity trays are usually expensive but durable, timeless, and elegant.
- Frosted crystal: This type of antique vanity tray is made of a matted crystal that provides an etched complexion.
- Czechoslovakian crystal: This is a high-quality glass original from the Czech Republic. These trays are usually engraved and disperse more light.
- Gilt: This is a cheaper alternative to gold. Gilt is the light surface wear of gold placed onto other materials. Gilt-layered antique trays provide an elegant and expensive look while being quite affordable.
- Porcelain: Porcelain plateaus are great because they’re mold-resistant, antibacterial, and easy to clean. Therefore, they’ll be a great fit for the bathroom. However, they’re more fragile than other types of vanity trays.
- Depression glass: Depression glass is a material that was developed during United States’ Great Depression. The beauty of these trays is that they come in dozens of colors. However, some people don’t recommend placing it near food or beverages because it could be toxic for consumption. According to Corinne Segura, a certified practitioner biologist, depression glass may contain small doses of arsenic and uranium.
- Milk glass: On the other hand, we have milk glass trays, which are indeed a great option for the kitchen. These trays are hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and waterproof, so they’re safe to use with food. Milk glass isn’t usually expensive, but it’ll depend on how antique and rare the piece is.
- Lace under glass victorian trays: These trays are made of regular glass but contain a piece of lace. This would be a signature piece to add to your house as they provide a vintage character look.
- Ormolu: These plateaus are made out of bronze and covered with fine gold. It’s a very similar technique to gilt, and it’s also a cheaper alternative to gold.
What Can Antique Vanity Mirror Trays Be Used For?
A mirrored tray is a very versatile tool with multiple functions. You can use it for decoration, storage, or organization. In the following list, you’ll find some of the most common uses for antique dressing trays.
- To organize personal care items: Plateaus’ most common use is organizational. You’ll mostly find them in bedrooms, a boudoir, and bathrooms to contain makeup, jewelry, perfumes, manicure sets, and other personal care items.
- As a coffee table tray or elegant beverage tray: They are also used as serving trays, especially when they have handles. This way, you can easily move them whenever you need them. You can place cookies and coffee to share with your guests or some wine.
- As an entryway table: vintage vanity trays can also have a more daily life function, such as an entryway table. This way, you can place your keys or phone whenever you get home.
- Decoration: You can also place candlelight and make them more decorative. However, you should ensure that your tray is made of a resistant material because the heat could damage it.
- As a bedside table: Another common use for vanity trays is storing bedside items such as a book, lotion, or a glass of water.
What’s The Value Of Antique Vanity Mirror Trays Today?
Antique vanity mirror trays can be very valuable, depending on their material, the age of the vanity tray, and design. Gold and silver trays are highly expensive, but you can find cheaper options such as gilt or Ormolu. The average cost of a mirrored tray goes from $20 to $30.
How To Clean And Maintain An Antique Vanity Mirror Tray?
Sometimes mirrored trays can get dirty from caked makeup, crud, candle wax, nail polish spatters, and dust. You need to regularly clean it to maintain its texture over time. If you want to clean up your antique vanity mirror tray, you first need to disassemble the tray and set aside the small pins.
Then, clean small areas of rust. You should find a non-ammonia glass cleaner and a Xacto blade to remove rough materials like wax or nail polish. Proceed to clean up the glass side of the mirror and remaining tray parts, but be careful. You must not apply the cleaning agent or water onto the back side of the mirror. After cleaning, you can ensemble the tray, and that’s it. Your plateau is clean and ready to use again.
To maintain your tray, you must avoid leaking any type of harsh materials onto the tray’s surface like nail polish, candle wax, or other chemicals. Try to clean your nail polish container after you use it. You can also place something below your candle to prevent the wax from dropping into the tray.
You should also protect the mirror from deep scratches, so it’s important to only use a microfiber cloth or soft toothbrush to clean it or any other gentle material. You can also use vinegar and soapy water to clean the mirror from your tray.
How to Make Your Own Mirror Tray?
If you’re on a budget and enjoy crafting activities, you can also do your own mirrored tray at home. You’ll only need a few materials, including a hot glue gun, silver or golden brass pins, a mirror, a picture frame, a decorative metal ribbon, new cardboard, and spray paint.
- Paint the frame with the color you want. It can be gold, silver, bronze, etc. Apply the first layer, wait 15 minutes, and then apply the second layer. You can use as many coats as you want, but usually, two to three is ok.
- Once you do that, you can start placing and sticking the metal ribbon. You can use decorative small brass pins or hot glue, but pins are more durable.
- Then try to even the wonky bends. It might be harder with oblong mirrors.
- Then, it’s time to add the mirror glass to the bottom of the frame, placing forward. You can use hot glue for this. You can use an old mirror or buy a new one that matches the metal frame’s length.
- Then, cut a piece of cardstock that matches the length of the frame and glue it under the mirror as a sliding backer card. This will give it a more polished look.
Where To Find An Antique Vanity Mirror Tray?
You can find these mirrored plateaus in high end antique shops, thrift stores, a hardware store, flea markets, and online sites like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Most of them have international shipping. However, if you’d like to buy from other retailers, take a look at the following list:
An antique vanity mirror tray is a great piece to add to your home or office. It will add your personal style to your decoration, and it has an organizational function as well.
You can use it to store your personal care items, keys, manicure set, etc., but it can also be used to place candles. Will you try it out? Tell us in the comments below!