Make your own serving tray

Through this article you can DIY your own serving tray. This is perfect for your cottagecore aesthetic, and making one is really easy. Since this article just shows the basics on how to make a tray you can use it to customize a tray to fit your style.   


Wood planks 

Spray paint 

Spray lacquer 


Working with the wood  

Making your own tray can be quite easy. All you need is some planks of wood, these can be something that have been laying around or you can buy some new ones, it can even be something that was part of an old furniture. There is no specific size of wood that you have to work with. Next, if your planks are too big then you will have to measure them and then mark the size where you will then have to cut it, make sure that you cut them all at the same size. 

If your plank is a bit old or is rough at the edge you can run the edges along a blade to give it that clean smooth finish.

Making the bottom panel 

For this, you need to gather the planks that you measured and cut earlier, the size of the bottom panel is up to you, you can customize it the way you want. Take your planks, glue the edges and then join them together, use some clamps to make sure that they stay in place, you need to clap them from the top and the bottom. Make sure that you are using a glue that is strong enough to prevent it from falling apart when used later. 

While the planks are drying up, you can insert the other pieces of wood through a planer, this is done to sand off the wood, if a planer is not an option for you then you can even do it manually. 

Once the panels have dried up you can then use a crosscut sled to even out the edges and with the help of a 150 grit sandpaper you can sand off the top of the glued together planks. This is done to make the planks smooth and touch friendly.

Making the side panels 

To make the side panels you will need 2 more plans of wood, the wood used for the side panel should be a bit narrow as compared to the bottom panels, this is just so that it is easier to carry around, however you can decide based on your preference. 

 Place the side panel next to the bottom panel and measure the size, for this project the side panes are of the same size as the bottom panels. Then you can cut out the excess wood. Once you cut them you will need to set them against the bottom panel again and measure the full width of the top and bottom panel. 

You will need to draw out a line that indicates the height of the side panel and then another line an inch and a half above it. You can measure the centre of the initial like and pit in some nails on each end. Next, you will need a flexible ruler, you can use your local steel ruler for this, and place it along the nails, the ruler will bend forming an arch which you will then trace. The arch made by the ruler should meet the top line drawn. You can use the picture provided as reference. 

 You can then start cutting it. To make sure that both the sides are the same, you can clamp them together and then with the help of a belt sander you can level them out to match each other.

Making the handles 

For this you will need to measure one and a quarter inches from the centre line and then draw dots along them, you will then drill hole on all the three dots with a 1 and a quarter inch forstner bit. Since the holes will overlap a bit this will act as a handle for your tray, You can use a chisel to clear out any unwanted wood in the handles. You can then use a flexible sanding block and flexible sanding paper to smooth out the handle, smooth it out as much as possible.

Adding paint

Once you have finished sanding off the handles you can use some tape on the outside/edges of the handle planks, make sure that there are no bubbles or gaps in the tape, you don't want any paint to leak through. You will have to apply tape inside the handle as well. Do the same with the side panel. 

Next, you will need to spray all the taped planks with a couple of coats of clear spray lacquer, this is to fill any gaps left around the tapes. Once that is dried up you will need to spray a couple of layers of paint, you may need to sand it after some coats and spray paint it again. Once it dries you will have to peel off all the tape that was applied.

Assembling everything 

Next, you will have to assemble all the parts together. Place the side panels and the handle panels to the bottom panels and nail them together. Once you have nailed them together you can spray several coats of spray lacquer at the bottom panel, this will make the wood at the bottom panel richer. Your tray is now ready!

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