Make a Box Style Serving Tray

Make a Fun box Style Serving Tray

We’ve been accumulating scrap wood so I decided to make a box style serving tray to serve drinks.  I made this project twice and found it was the smaller tray that turned out the best.

All together this was pretty easy and it was the stencil detail that slowed things down.

It took a couple hours to complete before I took a moment to say, “what a wonderful world…”  Don’t you just love that song?

Scrap wood and Dixie Belle Paint

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Building and Base Painting Supplies

Cutting dimensions are your own, just remember the bottom of the tray was three boards wide at equal height. The exterior end boards were the same width as the bottom ends and the additional two exterior boards close in the entire base.

Any type of wood will work and it’s possible to just go with a single flat board for the bottom; that would make assembly a breeze and speed things up.

  • Gather or purchase wood for the entire tray.
  • Measuring tape and pencil.
  • Table saw to cut wood.
  • Drill for Pilot Holes.  Learn more here.
  • Finishing nails and hammer.
  • Dixie Belle Paint – Champagne pink and Bunker Hill Blue
  • Paint Brush and rag

To get started cut and sand each piece of wood.  Those small pieces of wood were going to be used for handles but later changed my mind because the tray didn’t need handles.

Dry brush painted the bottom boards with the champagne pink.  This is a wonderful color and the pink is very faint but offers this nice lift of color to help accent the stencil transfer.

The frame boards were paint stained with Bunker Hill blue, this is another neat color that has a lot of character.  Paint techniques can be found here and how to paint stain is here. 

Stencils used to Make Tray

Stencils Options

Stencils options are endless and my plan was to incorporate a little natural beauty with a positive message.

The hydrangea Stencil came from Dixie Belle paint and the “wonderful world” is a product of Studio R12. 

Both are easy to use and will clean up is fast when using Dixie Belle paint.  Don’t let the stencils sit for very long because they’re always easier to clean right after each use.  Get my cleaning tips here.

Stenciling with many Colors

Begin Stenciling

I used a combination of colors for the hydrangea stencil and there was a lot of taping involved to get a colorful transfer.  If you’re new to stenciling you can get my stencil instructions here.

  1. First fill in the leaves – I used Evergreen and then went over with Palmetto.
  2. Then I filled in the stems with Coffee Bean
  3. Finished the flower with Blueberry and Bunker Hill Blue.

Working with Dixie Belle paint is an absolute joy because it’s so easy to use for home decor projects.  It dries fast, transfers beautifully and it’s very easy to clean up.

I’d like to encourage you to give it a try because it’s truly an amazing paint for small and large projects. Purchase Dixie Belle paint here.


Stenciling Completed

When it came time to transfer a “Wonderful World” I used Coffee bean and I also stretched out the letters so they wouldn’t be close together.  I even left off some of the stencil off because there was a lot going on and things needed simplifying.

Once the transfer was finished it was time to gather boards and begin assembly.

Tray Assembly

  1. Drill three pilot holes on each end board.
  2. Attached to end boards with finishing nails and hammer.
  3. Take the long exterior boards and drill two holes on each end and one in the bottom center.
  4. Attach to each board and repeat to the opposite side.
  5. Add more finishing nails for a stronger tray.

This is such a fun project and it would make a fantastic workshop.  Check out my book, Make and Take Workshops where you can turn your craft into cash.  Get it here!

Finishing Steps to Serving tray

The smaller box serving tray came together better than my first attempt and now I no longer have to juggle dishes when serving beverages, which is always a good thing.

When you’re not using the tray, they look nice sitting against a kitchen counter wall or set on a table as part of a display. Make your own tray and think to yourself, what a wonderful world….

How to make a Box Style Serving tray from reclaimed wood and decorative stencils. #ServingTray, #reclaimedwood



  1. daisy says:

    Just beautiful! What a great gift idea too. I absolutely love that song by Louis Armstrong.

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks Daisy – it was fun and when I saw that stencil I couldn’t stop singing that song…

  2. Karen says:

    I think they’re perfect without handles too and as always, you really brought the images to life with your stencil skills. I really love how you used three separate pieces for the base instead of a single piece – it adds so much interest and character. Both are gorgeous and would make wonderful gifts, and with your thorough tutorial, they’ll be super simple to put together!

    1. Carole says:

      I agree on the handle thing, you just don’t need them. The individual boards are great too just harder to assemble and make sure everything fits as it should.

  3. Patti says:

    Oh Carole,
    I love that saying. In fact, my best friend had that as her wedding song. (wish I would have thought if it)
    The serving trays are so pretty. Love the color combinations and who doesn’t love hydrangeas. This would make a wonderful gift.

    1. Carole says:

      Great saying and what a perfect wedding song. We had “My Girl” played at our wedding, it was after we said our vows and the ceremony was over. That was a really fun color combo and that bunker hill blue surprised me.

  4. CD says:

    Your serving trays are absolutely lovely, Carole! As usual, your choice of colors is spot on! I LOVE that deep blue and of course, you chose my favorite flower to compliment such sweet words from an oldie but goodie song! What a great idea to make these trays deeper to avoid spills, but frankly they are so pretty I’d hang them up on the wall and show them off!

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you! I did actually hang the larger one up for awhile in our Tiny House on the one wall that is completely finished. Was pretty! I’m not a very good server so I need all the help I can get which is why I added depth. So far it works like a charm.

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