The metal is shipped with a protective coating to keep it from aging prematurely. You'll want to remove it for these processes to work best. We sprayed our tray with a common household cleaner (something that will cut grease), rinsed and dried it.
Bleach Bath: In the example on the left, we submerged the tray for about an hour in a bucket of regular household bleach. Make sure that you use common sense when working with bleach; wear old clothes, rubber gloves and protective eye wear! Once we removed the tray from the bleach, we carefully rinsed it under water. The resulting piece was a little too rusty for our liking, so we did a quick once-over scrub with our handy Bar Keepers Friend (a BEST friend in my kitchen!) and fell in love with the end result!
Coke Bath: This easy process simply requires a bucket of coca-cola. You'll want to use soda that is fully carbonated. Soak the tray over night for best results. Don't try to drink any soda that is used in this process. (I offer this piece of advice because I had a teenage son seriously dumb enough to consider swiping a swig.) Once the tray has soaked sufficiently, rinse it in water and thoroughly dry it. The tray on the right features the end result. It offers a more subtle distressed look then the bleach process and was voted most popular by all of our friends that were polled.These versatile trays can also be painted (use a paint made for metal) or decorate the outer edge with stickers or decals. Protect your furniture by placing felt or rubber bumpers on the bottom corners of the tray. A six-inch square of fabric in the bottom of the tray will provide a nice cushion for your blocks. The inside of the tray is also a perfect spot for storing extra copies of the puzzle pictures.
Keep in mind that the major emphasis in this project is the six pictures contained on the nine blocks. The tray is just a handy way to display and store the puzzle.