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DIY Rustic Wooden Tray

DIY Rustic Wooden Tray

With the kitchen looking a little kitchen-less, we've been forced to eat microwave meals for the last couple of months on account of not having an oven or anywhere to wash pots. It's been a little awkward to say the very least and I realised one thing we really needed to make our lives a little easier, was a tray to eat from.


We've never actually owned a dining table in our five years of home ownership (shock horror!) so this has been a long time project that I've been meaning to get around to and needed that final little push to actually get it done! The tray will be great for morning breakfasts in bed as well as pigging out in front of the TV and even summer alfresco dining.

You Will Need:

  • Scrap Wood
  • Saw
  • Wood Glue
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Paint (I've used this one)
  • Paint Brush
  • Rope
  • Drill & Drill Bit
How to build a wooden tray

Step 1 - Cut Wood to Size

The wood I'm using is a single scrap length of wood that we found in the attic when we first moved in. I absolutely love aged rustic wood and thought this would be perfect for this DIY. I cut it into three lengths to make the base and then cut the same measurements again, but this time cutting the wood down the middle to make the frame a little shorter in height. You can use any wood for this project and although newer wood wont be rustic in appearance, you can always age it yourself for a similar look.


Wooden tray plan

Step 2 - Paint

I really wanted to add a splash of colour without losing that rustic feel, so I decided to paint the frame of the tray, but keep the base exposed wood. I gave the wood a bit of a sand first where it was a little rough, but I wanted to keep most of the lines and imperfections so it didn't look out of place against the rustic base. The paint I'm using is Everlong Chalk Paint in 'Cricket Pitch' from Eliza Rose. It's not quite like other chalk paints as you don't need a finishing wax over the top - it actually has its own in-built wax that activates when you buff the paint with a cloth or sponge. You can either leave the paint chalky or buff it for a more satin finish - you basically get two paints in one tub! Ingenious!

everlong chalk paint
cricket pitch everlong paint

Step 3 - Glue the Wood Together

To give the base some added stability, I've used some gorilla glue between each side of wood and then clamped the three pieces together whilst drying. This stuff is super heavy duty and really strong! Once it's dried, it's really hard to break apart and it dries clear so wont be seen either. My camera died here, so apologies for the not so great photo of this stage!


Step 4 - Attach the Frame

To attach the frame/edges of the tray, I've just used some nails to attach it to the base. The nails can be painted over later and you'll never know they're there. I used quite a few nails as obviously you want the whole thing to be as sturdy as possible! It was a little fiddly keeping the whole thing stable and together whilst hammering, so if you don't have a clamp at hand it might be worth getting a helping hand for this part.

how to create a rustic tray

Step 5 - Add Handles

I'm using some thick rope for handles as it's super cheap and goes with the whole rustic look I'm aiming to achieve. We drilled some holes before feeding the rope through and tying a knot on the inside. If you're wondering how secure the whole thing now is, well secure enough to hold the weight of a small spaniel that's for sure ;)

DIY rustic tray
Spaniel on Tray

Step 6 - Finishing Touches

Finally, I painted over the nails to make them disappear and then buffed the paint to add a more satin finish. I also added some wax to the base to bring out those grains in the wood. If you plan on placing unwrapped exposed food onto the tray, ideally you want to use a food-safe wax or oil. John Lewis used to do a brilliant butchers block wax but sadly I think it's been dis-continued! I recommend using something suitable for wooden kitchen worktops if you're unsure.

Wax on Rustic Wood

Lastly, all that's left to do - is put it to use! I'm pretty chuffed with how it all turned out, the green colour and dark wood work really well together and the handles add an extra little natural touch. I love how the wood feels with all its grains and lines from being cut on a band saw once upon a time. It looks old yet new and I think this little tray will get heaps of use!

Rope handles on rustic tray
DIY rustic tray with green edges
rope handles on wood tray
How to make a rustic wooden tray
tray made from scrap wood
interior style: rustic tray for morning breakfasts
DIY rustic wooden tray

What do you think? Is a Rustic Tray your cup of tea?

*Huge thank you to Eliza Rose for kindly providing the paint for this little DIY. All words, opinions and reviews are my own :)

1 comment

  1. This looks adorable! I quite fancy doing this with some of my scrap wood x

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