This project was relatively quick and easy to do. If I had planned it a little bit better, it would have been even easier but, I have a bad habit of deciding to tackle a project on the fly. The inevitable result is that I land up having to do more than one store run and I make extra work for myself along the way. But, in the end, I managed to finish this great little coffee table tray that I was dying to display.
After walking around Home Depot for an unreasonable amount of time, I decided to use Plywood for this project. Firstly because it was one of the more affordable options, but also because it is a pretty durable wood and I loved the grain in the wood (I had big plans for beautiful stains).
You can alter the size of the pieces to fit your needs (and the pieces of wood you have available), but my wood measurements were:
They were incredibly helpful at Home Depot (shout-out) and happily helped me cut my wood to size. But, as I mentioned earlier, I failed to plan this properly and I was trying to plan out my measurements on the fly. This resulted in me having to cut some ends off (first time using a saw on my lonesome - whoop whoop) and do some additional sanding once I got home.
I started by gluing the 3 base pieces together (make sure to use a good wood glue and let dry properly before carrying on - I like this Gorilla Glue). You can skip this step by just cutting a piece of your plywood to the exact size of the base of your tray (but I wanted the look of the separate pieces for those big stain plans I had). Once the base was dry, I used my wood glue to glue my side pieces of plywood to the base and used every piece of furniture I had available to hold it all together while it dried. Of course if you have clamps, this will make your life much easier, but sometimes you just have to work with what you have. I used a few small nails to hammer the sides to the base, as well as to each other, just for that additional support.
Since the wood that I was working with was pretty thin (and after hand sawing them to size they were not quite as straight as they should have been), I decided to use corner braces to make sure that the sides were really held together properly. I actually also like the character it added to the tray.
dy original intention was to stain the tray (those big plans we were talking about earlier). But with the wood glue that had run everywhere, the stain wasn't giving me the clean finish I had hoped for. SO, like any goof DIYer, I moved to the backup plan and painted the tray with Rust-oleums aged gray chalk paint. It was a good backup plan and I think it turned out pretty well. It also helped to hide the imperfections of me learning to cut wood (okay at least some of them).
I finished off by adding these great little black handles to the tray, and using a stencil and Rusto-leums white linen chalk paint, I gave the base a little bit of character.
I recommend sealing the tray with a polyurethane, especially if your tray will be getting lots of traffic as you switch out your décor.
PS: That white farmhouse coffee table was an up-cycled post of mine. See the before and after here.
This little DIY project presented some interesting challenges. It was definitely a sharp learning curve and you can see the little imperfections in the tray itself. But I think that imperfections give a piece character and tell a story (or at least that's what I am telling myself as I proudly display this tray on my coffee table).
I love a great little DIY project. There is nothing better than putting your personal touch on the décor around your home, making it a unique and true reflection of what you want.
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