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MY HANDMADE HOME: An easy DIY tray for $10


NOTE: Heather will be hosting a live DIY event at Rona in Bedford Place Mall on Friday, May 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Registration is free, and all materials are included. Heather will take you through each step of the project and you’ll leave the workshop with a beautiful finished tray. Attendees will receive Rona discount codes and have the chance to win Craftsman prizes as well as two tickets to the CHL Memorial Cup Championship on May 26. Spaces are limited, so visit Rona in Bedford Place Mall to reserve your spot!

Trays are great for corralling small items on your kitchen or bathroom counter to make everything look tidier, but they’re also useful for, duh, carrying stuff around!

I recently came up with a simple design for a solid wooden tray, since I actually didn’t own a single tray that could actually be used as a mobile tray. It costs about $10 to build but it looks much more expensive. Wouldn’t it be perfect for breakfast-in-bed? (Important reminder: Mother’s Day is May 12.)

OK, tray time! I started by measuring and cutting two 17-inch pieces of 1x2 pine for the sides of the tray. Then I cut two 9-3/4-inch pieces of 1x2 pine for the ends.

If you’re keeping track, that’s two 17-inch pieces and two 9-3/4-inch pieces for a total of 53-and-a-half-inches — a little less than four-and-a -half feet of 1x2, so you’ll be fine buying a six-foot board.

For the base of the tray, I cut a 17-inch length from a 1x12 board. (If your sliding mitre saw isn’t quite big enough for this kind of cut, just take it as far as you can, then flip the board over and cut from the other side.)

Once I had all five pieces cut — one base, two sides and two ends — I made sure everything lined up properly. Then I flipped it all over and lined them up again.

I pre-drilled a hole through the tray base down into one of the side pieces to prevent the wood from splitting, and then screwed through the bottom of the tray base into the side piece using a one-and-a-half-inch screw.

Then I did that exactly 11 more times so the ends and sides were securely connected to the base of the tray. (By doing this from the bottom, there wouldn’t be any visible screws from the top — neat, right?)

I built a couple of these trays at once, and it was fun playing around with different looks for them. For one tray, I spray-painted little L-brackets gold and screwed them into the sides for added detail. For another, I tried two different paint colours and used a third to dry-brush the edges.

I even did a larger, hockey-themed tray (using 1x4s instead of 1x2s) to help Craftsman celebrate the upcoming CHL Memorial Cup happening in Halifax next month.

The last step was adding three-inch plastic handles to the sides of each tray, so they’re easy to tote around. Oh, and since trays are meant to be used, I brushed a coat of polyurethane over them both to protect them.

I had a great time working on this project, and now I have the chance to help some of you make your very own tray — for free!

Pop into Rona in Bedford Place Mall ASAP to reserve your spot for my free workshop. You’ll get all of the materials to make a tray of your own, and we’ll work on it together using the tools Craftsman will provide.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

  • COST: $10
  • EFFORT: 2 out of 5
  • RESULTS: 5 out of 5
  • Easy DIY tray for $10

Follow Heather’s tutorial, or build your own tray with her — for free!

Heather Laura Clarke is a crafty maker who perpetually has paint smears on her hands, sawdust in her shoes and bits of thread stuck to her leggings. She lives in Truro with her husband, son, and daughter. Follow her adventures at HeathersHandmadeLife.com.

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