tray chic – tutorial

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I originally posted this over at Andrea’s blog Oak Ridge Revival.  It’s one that I’m still loving so I thought I’d share it again just in case you missed it 😉

So, here’s one of the many things I’ve been obsessing over lately…


Surely, I’m not the only one.
And, these photos make me think every room in my house needs one.
I wanted one in a BAD way for my living room coffee table.
Something big like this one.
But, these big bad boys are EX-PEN-SIVE.
I don’t get it… but, I still wanted one.
Look how sad my coffee table is?!  Blah.
Me – “Why don’t you make one?  It’s just a box!”
Me – “This is ridiculous… just pony up the cash woman!”
(Yes, I occasionally have conversations with myself)
Me – “Uggghhh!!!  (Caught a glimpse of those prices again)  Looks like I’m heading to Home Depot.”
Glad I did though!
I now have my own big ol lacqure tray, and I don’t even think I spent $10 on this project.
What I used (the wood was my only purchase):
  • 2’x2′ thin plywood cut down to 18″x24″
  • 4 thin precut strips of wood 1/8″x2″x24″ (2 of them cut down to 18″ long)
  • Brad nailer and brads (or) small finishing nails and hammer would work
  • Wood glue
  • Wood filler
  • Sand paper
  • Primer spray paint
  • White lacquer spray paint
  • Clear coat spray paint

What I did:
  • Glue strips of wood along the outside of the plywood (overlap edges) and nail into place
  • Fill in nail holes and any gaps with wood filler and let dry
  • Sand entire piece and wipe clean
  • Spray with primer and let dry
  • Spray with lacquer paint (approx. 2-3 coats – let dry fully between coats)
  • Spray with clear poly and let dry
I was a little irritated when I put this together (probably because it was well over 100 degrees that day… AGAIN), but I’m sooo thrilled with the result and even more thrilled with the savings.
My table is pretty happy with it too ;D
So… if there’s a size that you can find, a color you’re dreaming of, or if you’re like me and you just don’t want to go broke on a tray – BUILD IT!

While you’re here, don’t forget to enter yourself into the Cutting Edge Stencils giveaway right here!

I’ll be linking up to these fab parties!


  1. A Vintage Vine Avatar

    Glad you shared that because I missed it! Looks wonderful!

  2. Jacqueline Avatar

    I love your tray! I was just talking to my guy last night about trying lacquer for furniture, I didn't know they had it in a can though.

  3. Lisa - A Room with A View Avatar

    I love trays..they are definitely useful in every room in a house. This one looks amazing. You must be thrilled. Yes, they can be quite expensive.

  4. Latoya @ The Scott's Crib Avatar

    I love this, you did a marvelous job! Your newest follower:)

  5. Shauna@Satori Design for Living Avatar

    Great job. I'm working on a tray makeover at the moment using white spray paint and wallpaper.

  6. Strawberries and Sweet Love Avatar

    Love your blog, so glad I found you on TT&J. I'm in love with all your black and white, and your tray sure did dress up your coffee table.

  7. Miss Charming Avatar

    Great job on the tray and I think your house is beautiful. (Love the pillows!)

  8. Jen-CraftOManiac Avatar

    Love it, that is exactly what that table needed, and your decor pieces in the tray are spot on. I love the chunk of wood? can you tell me what wood/branch that is? GREAT JOB! p.s. no worries on the giveaway 😉

  9. samaa @ Honey Sweet Home Avatar

    Looks fabulous! You did a great job 🙂 I love your living room by the way!

  10. Amy of The Salvage Collection Avatar

    love the post and all of the other photos you found… but i want that piece of driftwood!!!!

  11. Ruth Avatar

    Love this idea. What a great project. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.


  12. Rosemary@villabarnes Avatar

    Love the sleek look.

  13. Avatar

    I'm in love w/ the entire room.

  14. A Lived in Home Avatar

    I'm super obsessed with trays too. I have one in every room! Funny that I have a whit eon eon my coffee table with a driftwood branch next to it! We both have good taste!

  15. Amy @ Five Kinds of Happy Avatar

    I'm so glad you posted this as I have been obsessing over the exact same thing. Trays seem like the best mix of good-looking + functional that I have seen in a while! Awesome!

  16. pam {simple details} Avatar

    You've inspired me!!! It is now on my list, thanks! Beautiful decor, too!

  17. Suzy Avatar

    I love this! Such a smart and crafty idea to make your own.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    great idea thanks for sharing and where did you get your curtains i luff them

  19. Ashley @ A {Blonde's} DIY Life Avatar

    WOW! Never thought to build a tray!! Love the simplicity of yours, it's just so Chic and beautiful! Thanks for Linking Up!

  20. Rhiannon Avatar

    Awesome! And you make it look so easy too. Will have to give this a go!

  21. ACHanson Avatar

    Great job!! I love your tray, and your living room too, like I said before, you have great style.

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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