Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Serving Tray Tutorial...

My first tutorial!

I'm going to show you how I made this beautiful serving tray!

I have made many of these in the past. They are so fun and each one is different. Here are some of the others I have done:

Let's get started!

Step 1: Get an old pallet and dismantle it. Or in my case, have Hubby dismantle it. Pallet wood is free and great, but try to find pallets that have been heat treated and be aware of what the pallet was used for in its previous life. You don't want wood that had carried a bunch of frozen chicken that thawed and leaked juices all over it. Gag! Some pallets are also treated with chemicals, which just doesn't sound pleasant to have in your house. Heat treated wood is stamped with "HT."

I used the braces of the pallet for side "handles" of the tray. Decide how big you want the tray. I kinda eyeballed where I wanted to make my cuts. Then, I make sure their mates are the same length. It usually ends up 14" x 17." You can get 2 handles from one brace.

For the bottom of the tray, I like to use scrap wood. In the past I have used old fence wood and left-over trim board. For this particular tray, I used new wood, as I have run out of the good stuff.

Because I used new wood, I wanted to give it some character. I used a hammer, drill bit, and this other tool I don't know the name of. This is where you can take out your frustrations! I'm always afraid I am over-doing the "character," but when it's all done, I always wish I had done more. So, go as crazy as you want. 

Step 2: Pallet wood has great character, but it does need a good "primping" to get beautiful. The second tool I ever got myself was a palm sander. It changed my life! People who know me know I don't like to spend money. Harbor Freight became one of my new favorite stores of all time. I love walking through those doors and smelling the scent of rubber, vinyl, and newness! Harbor Freight is a great place to start your tool collection. Having said that, I have worn out 2 palm sanders from that store. I just got a new Ryobi One+ Corner Cat palm sander from Home Depot. (Also a wonderful store that smells great!) This thing is awesome! It is not just life changing, it is mind blowing! It is lighter, cordless, easier to replace the sandpaper, and does a better job for me than my previous sanders. (I have not been compensated by any of the name brands I mention in this post.)

Step 3: After a good sanding, I like to clean the wood with tack cloth. This gets rid of all the sawdust and allows a cleaner application of paint or stain. For this tray, I used stain only, in Jacobean. I like Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut, Special Walnut, and Jacobean.

 Look how awesome the wood looks after a beating and staining!

Step 4: Once the stain has dried, it's time to assemble the tray. I used wood glue and corner clamps to secure the sides. When the glue has dried, I like to leave the clamps on and drive some screws through the wood for added strength. What you end up with should be a nice rectangle shape.

Then I lay out the bottom tray boards in an order I like and glue and clamp them to the tray "frame."

I am usually too impatient to wait for the glue to dry completely, and I will pick it up only to have the boards fall away. I then tell myself for the thousandth millionth time to have more patience and proceed to attach the boards with screws (which should be done anyway). Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of what the bottom looked like.

Step 5: Time to protect your piece. I really like the ease of clear coat spray. It's fast and you can find non-yellowing spray in matte or crystal clear. For this tray, however, I used several coats of spray polyurethane. This should give it a stronger seal.

This tray was begging for something more, so I decided to try something new. I found some clear spray chalkboard paint and used it on the bottom boards. I have never used this clear stuff before, so it was a little scary. I didn't want all that work to go to waste if it didn't work!

When the paint dried, I used a white chalk marker and added "home" to the tray, along with some squiggly-doos. Spell checker doesn't like the word "squiggly-doos," but too bad! That's what they are! In fact, as I type this post, spell checker is using red squiggly-doos to tell me squiggly-doos is not correct. Sorry. It's bugging me. Enough about squiggly-doos.

Step 6: Accessorize! This is another great time to let your creativity show! I found a great belt at the thrift shop that I knew would work for this project. I cut it into equal lengths and secured the leather straps to the tray for handles with glue and screws. I think it really finished the piece.

You could use drawer pulls, rope, raffia, or whatever for handles. The possibilities are endless!

1 comment:

  1. Squiggly-doos! That's awesome! That's my new favorite word!