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DIY rustic tabletop tray

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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