DIY Gifts House & Decor

Wooden Serving Tray…

January 9, 2016

A serving tray is a great little DIY to make for yourself… or as a gift!… you can use new wood or relove some old wood or even make one with barnboard that you leave in it’s natural state… for handles you can pickup some new ones or you could repurpose old ones a discarded piece of furniture… with the serving tray that I’ll be showing you here I’ve added a chalkboard area on the top for writing little messages on… This would make a darling housewarming or hostess gift!… and its fairly inexpensive to make!

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Wrangle up the following supplies

Wood – $10 wood made who 12″ x 18″ serving trays

Handles with screws- $2-10 per – Home Depot or Lee Valley


Drill bits/Forstner bit

Pencil & eraser

Sanding block


Painters tape

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Cut your wood to length… this is entirely up to you… the width of the wood you pickup and how long you cut your serving tray pieces… if you don’t have the tools at home to cut the plank of wood down to size check with the sales desk where you are purchasing the wood – lumberyards and hardware stores will usually cut your wood to length for you 😉

Give your wood a sanding all over to remove any rough spots, splinters from being cut or sharp edges…

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Lay the handles on your plank to see how far in from the edge that you would like them to sit – note the measurement… I like the handle in about 1.5″ on a 12″ x 18″ serving tray.

Now we have to figure out where to drill the holes for attaching the handles to the plank… measure the width of the board and mark the middle at both ends…

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Next, measure the distance between the holes on the handle…

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Transfer these dimensions to the board. The distance from hole to hole on the handle – take half of the hole to hole distance and mark that out from each side of the centre mark that you made on the board. Then mark the distance in from the edge in to the measurement where you decided that you liked the handle… where the lines cross will be where the holes are drilled for the handles screws. Take your handle and place it next to your marks to make sure they’re where they should be!… trust me… measure a couple times and drill once! 😉

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Drill from the top down through the board using a drill bit that corresponds with the size of screw for your handle…

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Now because we’re picky and we we want this to be pro, flip the board over and use a larger drill bit or a forstner bit drill into the board using the two smaller holes that you’d just drilled as guides… don’t go all the way through, just go as deep as the head of your handle screws… this step will make a space for the head of the screw to sit up in on the underside of the serving tray… (it was awkward to hold the drill and take a photo – so I pulled the bit out of the drill to get this shot 🙂

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Cleanup any roughness around the screw holes, from drilling, with a quick sanding and test fit the handle!…

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Once you’ve got all of your handle holes its time to paint, or stain… or if you’re using barn board install your handles and you’re done!… I decided to use FAT Paint in Cream to on my serving tray… I gave it two solid coats and then a light sanding and then sealed it with FAT Clear… The finish of FAT Clear is great!… it looks like it has been waxed but it more durable than a waxed finish!

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If you want a plain painted tray then go ahead and install your handles once your clear has dried… I took my tray a step further with the addition of a chalkboard on the top… Using painters tape, once the clear coat was well dried I created a rectangle in the centre of the tray that would become the chalkboard… using the tape, edge to edge, two pieces created the size of rectangle that I found looked good proportionally for the tray…

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Paint your chalkboard in using a chalkboard paint… The most common I’ve see around is Rust-Oleum… I prefer the finish of the brushed chalkboard paint over the sprayed…

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Hit the chalkboard area with two coats of chalkboard paint…

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Peel away the tape and season the chalkboard once it has cured… check the can for the recommended cure time… the can will even tell you about the seasoning…

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…seasoning your chalkboard prepares it to be written on… using a stick of chalk on its side rub all over the cured chalkboard… then wipe away with a dry cloth… your chalkboard is now ready for writing on …and don’t forget your handles!

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A great alternative that I’ve found to chalk, if you don’t want your message getting rubbed away is a chalk ink pen by S’well… you write whatever you want and when you want to change it up you just have to wipe it away with a damp cloth… no worries about accidentally brushing it away like with regular chalk… the chalk ink pen is great if you are gifting the serving tray.

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This is a great to make in multiples… hey its never to early to start thinking of making gifts for next Christmas! 😉 or any of the other gift giving occasions throughout the year.  I would LOVE to see what wood, handle, finish combinations that you come up with for your serving trays… please come on over to the Feathering My Nest Facebook page and share a photo!… and be sure to sign up to receive new blog posts via email as soon as they’re published!… just pop your email address into the box in the bar at the right side of the page!




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  • Diane Nisbet January 9, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Great tutorial!

    • Lacey Haskell January 9, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you Diane! 🙂