DIY- Tray

Trays add a subtle, yet effective touch to any room. Placed on a table, a bench, or even on a bed, topped with fun decor, you can achieve a completed look with minimal steps!

I made this tray in one short session in the garage while my kids played in the yard.


Material List:   (affiliate links are highlighted)

(all wood is pine unless noted)

  • 1- 18″ 1×10
  • 1- 6ft 1×3
  • sanding block
  • chop saw
  • measuring tape
  • brad nailer
  • drop cloth
  • handle hardware (2)
  • rubber gloves
  • 1 1/4″ brad nails
  • wood glue
  • stain
  • paint
  • paintbrush
  • furniture wax


I began with the 18″ 1×10, this is used as the bottom of the tray. Sand all surfaces until smooth. 20180602_1445141

Next, measure and cut the 1×3 to the length of one of the short sides, lightly sand the ends and edges, and attach it to the base by using wood glue and brad nails. Repeat for the other short end.



Now that the short boards are in place, measure the full length of the base + the 2 end pieces. This 1×3 piece will span the entire length of the tray. Place wood glue along all surfaces that this piece will be touching and attach using wood glue and brad nails.


Now it is time to paint- You can either get real fancy, or use an old fitted sheet on your kitchen counter like I did (even though I have a room designated for my crafting, I like to give other parts of the house attention so they don’t feel left out)

I used Midnight Blue by Behr and did 2 solid coats on all sides and let dry completely.


A technique I like to use is applying stain to the entire piece, it kind of makes it look a little antique-ish.


To do this, simply sand away on the edges and any other areas you want to look worn, then apply a small amount of stain with an old sock or lint free rag to the entire tray, but especially getting it onto the sanded areas, then immediately wiping the entire tray down with a clean cloth to remove the stain sitting on the surface of the paint. Plenty will stay behind even though it will look like you have cleaned it off-you want to wipe it so it doesn’t dry sticky.

The stain that is usually my go to is Jacobean by Minwax


After the stain dries, I like to apply a dark furniture wax. I tried BB Frosch for the first time, and while I like the final look, the smell was worse than stain and I had to do this part outside (as I did with the stain). I applied this with a clean cloth-follow the directions on the application process for the wax you use-typically you wipe a small amount on, and then “buff” it out after a few minutes of it curing.


Finally, attach the hardware-a little trick I use (not pictured) is to use painters tape placed on the back side of the hardware, poke holes into where the screws go and then put the piece of tape onto your project and drill the holes. It’s *almost* fool proof. Don’t ask about the “almost” part though 🙂 I hope this tutorial was easy to follow along with!



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