DIY rustic tabletop tray

Homemade Tray That's Easy And Beautiful

There's no better way to serve food to your family, guests or friends than on a beautiful tray. Am I right? However, some trays can cost upward of $100! Instead of shelling out that much, make your own beautifully rustic wooden tray. Not only does this make a gorgeous tray for serving food or drinks, it can also be used as vintage wall decor when you're done!


The rustic paint job gives this tray some serious vintage charm and will set you back about $80 less than what you'd pay in retail stores! The shims, or wooden panels, used to create the tray are a mere $4 for a pack of 34 at Home Depot, so you can create two custom trays with just one package. The possibilities, color options and stains are endless!

What you'll need:


  • Pack of 34 wood shims
  • Paint or stain color of choice
  • Wood glue
  • Paintbrush

Step 1: Lay shims side by side and glue

Lay 12 shims out side by side. Then place three additional shims horizonally over the 12 shims.


You want one shim covering the bottom half of the board, the top half and the middle. Then, using the wood glue, glue the three shims to the board. To ensure they stick, place a few heavy books over the board and let dry at least an hour.



Step 3: Paint board with one to two coats (for a rustic effect)

After the glue has completely dried, paint using your brush and color of choice. You don't want to liberally cover the board because you want it to have that weathered, rustic look, so paint a few strokes over each board, leaving some of the wooden detail exposed.



Step 4: Paint four separate shims with the same color paint

While the main board dries completely, take four shims and paint them the same way you did the board, lightly with the paint. I ended up painting a few extra just in case I needed them.


shim paint

Step 5: Glue four shims around the edge of the board

Once the shims and the board have dried completely, glue the four painted shims to the edges of the board so it creates a border. You'll have to overlap tops and bottoms of the shims at the corners.


Let dry for at least an hour to set.

Step 6: Use or display!

Once the tray has dried, use to serve your favorite drinks or food or display where you'd like!


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Tags: tables

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Comments on "DIY rustic tabletop tray"

Heather June 21, 2012 | 10:50 AM

I love the simple, easy to follow directions of this article, and I also love the rustic charm of these tabletop trays! There seems to be so much emphasis these days on sleek, modern and futuristic styles and designs that we often overlook the beauty a simple tray like this can invoke. I also love the various potential uses for this craft, from wall mounted displays to using different colors to give the trays some variety. Who says vintage has to be dowdy and boring? Making these trays looks like it will be as much fun as showing them off to your friends and guests.

ann June 15, 2012 | 7:31 PM

This is so cute and i'm totally wanting to make some but I was looking at the shims and the ones i found are thin on one end- did you use that kind? if so did you lay them so that all the thin ends were on the same side?

Kristina June 05, 2012 | 12:41 PM

This looks like so much fun! Someone should put this on Pinterest! I have been dying for summer to begin so I can start crafting, especially for something like this where I can use for indoor or outdoor decoration. This can also be the perfect gift for mom. I would absolutely love to get my roommates together to do something like this for our new place. I agree, this could totally become the cutest wall decor, especially painting a few different colors or designs on them. This would also be such a great crafting idea for my sorority! Each month, we plan a sisterhood which usually involves crafts, cooking and whatnot. What better way to bring all the girls together by making a few things they can actually use other than just for a social or date party?! This could work perfectly, especially with finals and whatnot, we have little time to go out and get our parents presents for Father’s Day, birthdays etc. This looks like it would take no longer than an hour, maybe two hours tops for the extra creative ones. I’m sure stenciling a few designs on the boards would make it even more exciting to do. With all the ideas flowing through my head, I can’t wait to start this new project!

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