One of the very first woodworking projects I built was a simple wooden tray. Through the years, it has proven to be a tried and true favorite of mine. I use them in my own home and they are perfect to give as gifts. They are versatile and can be modified to fit any home or style.
I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, the plans are from one of my favorite sources, Shanty 2 Chic. If you’d like to start woodworking, this is the perfect starter project!
Here’s the tray I made in 2016, and until this project was still in use on my ottoman.
The first time I made this, the only power tool I owned was a drill. I had Lowes trim the wood down to size with their saw, and I used a regular old hammer and nails instead of my brad nailer.
Building a Wooden Tray
I decided it was time to switch things up a bit and build a new tray. I followed the plans from Shanty 2 Chic exactly, except I finished mine differently.
Once I built the tray, I used stained it Varathane Provincial (paid link). Is it weird to go through ‘phases’ with wood stains? After years of the dark wood stains, I’ve been feeling the medium stains lately.
My favorite place to look for pulls to go on top is Hobby Lobby. I’ve found that they have the best selection. I chose some simple gold hardware for this project.
Styling the Tray
The reason I love this tray is both due to its versatility and ability to help things seem organized. Things scattered about on an ottoman? Cluttered. Those same things grouped on a tray on the same ottoman? Organized. Your remotes and magazines now have a home base that makes them seem tidy.
Another favorite place to put a tray is the kitchen counter. Again, grouping random items together on a tray makes them seem intentional and not just strewn about your counter.
Other favorite places for a tray: a bathroom counter, or even building a long enough tray to place across your bathtub. Also, the top of a bedroom dresser is a perfect spot. Or, you can actually use the tray to transport items back and forth, like food and beverages at a party from the kitchen to the guests.
Have I sold you on why I love a good tray yet? 🙂