Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY Personalized Tray

We all have a use for a tray in our lives.  Treating our other half to a breakfast in bed, carrying BBQ items out to the picnic table, serving snacks during the big game.  There is ALWAYS a use for a tray.  So why not make it unique?  You can create one for you or a wonderful gift for someone special in your life.

You simply use pine boards.  You need to decide how wide and long you want your tray and cut them to size.  I chose to use different width boards for my planked tray.

I wanted this tray to be rustic, as it was a gift to someone living on a lake in the mountains of Vermont. Distressing your wood is a quick way to make it rustic.  These are some of my favorite tools to distress: hammer, nails, screwdriver, and chisel.

I like to chisel some of the wood out of the middle or even down the edge.  I also create "worm holes" by tapping a nail over and over again in a small area, or just jabbing the wood with the screwdriver will also do the job.

I knew I wanted the boards to have different depths of stain, so I decided to stain them before attaching them.  One coat to some, more coats to others.  The stain will also bring out where you beat up your wood. ;)  I left one board raw because I knew I would add one last coat of stain after I attached them together.

Next, I flipped the boards over and  used my Kreg Jig to attach them together.  If you don't have one, you can pick one up at hardware store for about $20.  VERY useful for just about any building.

I wanted a nice clean bottom, so I used 1/4" plywood cut to the size of the tray, glued and nailed it to the bottom.  (This photo is after I attached the frame -- forgot the before photo.)

Next I added a frame around the edge.  This creates a nice ledge so items don't roll off the tray and makes for a nice, clean look.  I mitered the corners and attached with nails.  Make sure your frame is flush with the bottom so the tray sits flat.

After my final coat of stain, I was ready to get creative.  To personalize, find or create your image.  Just enlarge it in a word processing or photo editing program and piece the printed pages together to get a larger size.  Use a carbon paper on the back to transfer or cover the back with pencil and when you trace the front, the marks will transfer.

Then I used a variety of paints to fill in my image.

After the piece had dried, I added many coats of sealer to protect the finish.  The final step was adding the handles.  I countersunk the screws so the tray would lay flat.

And then she was finished.

You could be serving Valentine's Day breakfast on one of these bad boys if you get a'cracking!

Have a fantastic day,


  1. WOW! Deb, that is beautiful! Nice job!

  2. I love how your tray turned out! And it doesn't look too difficult to do. The different stains and distressing make it look vintage, lovely!
    Debbie :)

  3. The personalization on your tray really makes the tray looks so special. You did a wonderful job on this tray. The person you made it for will absolutely love it, it's perfect for a rustic deck. I'm a tray lover, never a tray I don't like.
    Happy week

  4. Debbie, I love this tray and how you personalized it! We recently got a Kreg Jig and can't wait to put it to use! I would love it if you linked up to The Makers!
    Have a great week!
    ~Katie @ Upcycled Treasures

  5. Adorable! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

  6. Love your tray! You made it look so easy with your step by step instructions. I'm a firm believer that you can never have to many trays!

  7. Debbie,
    Love, LOVE, L O V E your handled, personalized tray, dear one!!!
    My "Mr. Ed" makes unique trays (very similar to yours) then adds feet (round drawer knobs) and handles for the cutest trays ever. . .perfect for serving at Tea Time!
    I appreciate the photos and explanation of the tools you used for distressing the interior finishes!!!
    Thanks for sharing your creative talents!!!
    Visiting from Marty's!

  8. Wow, this is amazing, I love it and the painting is perfect too. Great tutorial. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  9. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above