Thursday, August 1, 2013

Serving Trays Made From Pine

I make my own trays from scratch.  I made three using pine which I buy in rough form and joint, plane and cut to the size and shape I want.

For the sides and ends I run a groove just up from the bottom edge to hold the bottom piece of the tray.  When the bottom actually fits inside the tray, it's much stronger and longer lasting than one that is just nailed on.

Here's what the pieces look like with the groove in them:

For the handles I cut out an oval handle shape. This is the same as I did with the plywood boxes I made, 

you can see more photos and description here in an older post.

Here's the end pieces with handles cut out (for 3 trays):

For the bottom piece I used pine that I glued together side by side.  Plywood is actually a better choice since it doesn't expand or contract with the seasons:

Now, if I join the handle (end) piece on to the side piece, at the corner you will see not only the end grain, but also the small cut out where the groove is for the bottom piece. This is a butt joint and not the strongest joint:
(this shows the side piece on the left and the handle piece on the right)

To avoid that, I cut a rabbet on the handle piece that is the width of the side piece.
(sorry: but these pieces are switched from the above photo, with the handle on the left and the side on the right)
This is both a better joint in terms of strength, but also nicer looking:

Here are the pieces laid out flat before gluing:

And here is what it will look like glued.  It's still not glued at this point, just fitted together:

One of the trays I stained and then finished by hand "painting" with a Sharpie paint pen.  This is an old bicycle ad, an image I got from the Graphics Fairy, who has great graphics that are free to use.

* Edited to add:  I use carbon paper to transfer my images, you can read how I do that here , and the image is available here *

I'll post the other two trays later... they both have sold, this one is still available for $50.

I'm just THRILLED that this item was featured at the Graphics Fairy!

The Graphics Fairy

Sharing at:
My Repurposed Life
Too Much Time On My Hands
3 Mango Seeds
Funky Junk Interiors
The Graphics Fairy
Be Colorful
Coastal Charm


  1. Wow! Wow! Wow! I've been debating making my own trays for a while so I truly appreciate the tutorial. And this one is so cool - I love the bicycle graphic. Great work (as always).

  2. AMAZING Julie!!!!!!!!!!
    And that graphic? Free hand, really?
    Over the top amazing now!!!
    You should do well with these - you could even customize them for people!

  3. super job Julie! I love the tray, and you did a super job with painting the graphic! woohoo for sales!

  4. Nice hand painting, and mad wood skills girl! Love it you did a great job Julie! Stopping by from Coastal Charm.

  5. The gang over at My Personal Accent think your post about the Serving Trays You Made From Pine is Amazing!! We would like to invite you to party with us starting at 5:00 Thursday nights at our new Blog Strut Peacock Style Link Party to share your creative ideas. Come on over!!

  6. This is just beautiful! I love how you put wood together in such a careful way, to really enhance function and style. That graphic is perfect!

  7. A great tutorial. You make me want to invest in some power tools. :D Thanks for sharing on BeColorful this week.

  8. I LOVE your work, Julie! The trays are beautiful! I wish I had more power tools :) Nice tip about the rabbeted corners ;)

  9. I love these trays! This is a great tutorial too. I'd like to make it as a Christmas gift some day.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Love this Julie. The addition of the graphic is such a nice touch!

  12. Love your beautiful tray! Thanks so much for generously sharing the instructions.


I appreciate all your comments, they keep me blogging! I like to personally reply to each comment I receive but many of you are "no-reply commenters" which means your email address is not connected to your comment. If that is the case I cannot directly reply, sorry.