Summer Making Series ~ DIY Serving Trays


Our little love nest in the mountains just got an addition –eeeek!

We’ve recently added a deck to the back of our house and can’t wait to share it with folks, so a simple serving tray project was right on time. This would also make a great gift! pssst, a bag of coffee and a couple of pretty mugs would make it extra nice. ; )

I’ve seen lots of beautiful examples of serving trays on Pinterest, but I’m always drawn to simple — the simpler the better. I love the look of the trays made with pallet wood, but I don’t love taking a pallet apart. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Am I right?


We made 4 serving trays (2 rectangle & 2 round) using the wood pictured above from Lowes.

On the left is a paint-grade panel, 1″ X 16″ X 48″ that we’ll cut in half to make 2 trays. It cost just under $11.

On the right are two 18″ round, stain-grade panels that were just under $11 each. We won’t use any hardware for this style since it’s typically held from underneath.

I also bought drawer pulls from Lowes for the rectangle tray which cost just under $4 each. They could be salvaged to make this a bit cheaper.

The first step was to simply cut the large panel in half and sand all 4 pieces.

Since we were likely going to sand them a little after painting them for an aged look, we first applied a dark walnut stain. In my opinion, leaving the wood raw looks a little too bright & new.


Once the stain was completely dry, we could paint them with our own unique design.

I use Rustoleum and Valspar spray paints for the variety of colors, easy application and clean-up. I think I already said it, but man I love easy, don’t you? img_6489img_6488

If you’d like to design & transfer an image to your tray, CLICK HERE for a tutorial of one way to do that, but the possibilities are endless… you could use stencils, stamps, decoupage… whatever you like.



Sonny & Samuel are into all things military right now, so Sonny went with an American flag and Samuel went with the Air Force symbol. Wouldn’t this make a great gift for anyone in the service or law enforcement?



We drilled a small hole about halfway into the back of the round trays so they can be hung when they’re not in use.img_6739

I had sunflowers in mind for this project…


The people at ProFlowers write: “Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself. These flowers are unique in that they have the ability to provide energy in the form of nourishment and vibrancy—attributes which mirror the sun and the energy provided by its heat and light. Sunflowers are known for being ‘happy’ flowers, making them the perfect gift to bring joy to someone’s (or your) day.”

The French word for sunflower is tournesol, which means “turned toward the sun”. That’s a great way to start the day!

And of course, we need this too…



Don’t forget to apply 2 coats of a clear sealer. I like to use a flat spray. Easy. 

***Helpful hint if you make the tray with hardware***

When we attached the drawer pulls, I wanted them to be recessed into the back, so that the tray would sit level on a table and wouldn’t scratch it.

We drilled a hole about halfway into the back of the tray where each screw would go, with a drill bit slightly larger than the screw head.img_6727

On the top side, we drilled the holes through, with a smaller drill bit. This did require that we buy shorter screws than the ones that came with the drawer pulls, but they cost very little, and are also available at Lowes.img_6734

img_6737Now that you’ve seen our work, I hope you’re inspired to give it a try yourself. In the classic words of my most favorite man on earth,“Do it up!” = )

In life, faith & art ~ Jamie

2 comments on “Summer Making Series ~ DIY Serving Trays

    • Aww — thanks so much! I’m so aggravated that a few pics are showing upside down on my cell. =( Let me know if you see them upside down too. It shows them right on my laptop, so I have some tech issues to work out– grrrr. Trying to grin & bear it though. =D Love ya!!

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