Learn how to make a gorgeous DIY wood tray using 3 basic power tools. It makes a great handmade woodworking gift for anyone. No fancy tools are needed!
Have you seen all those fancy wood trays and cutting boards made using all the fancy tools like jointers and planers and thought to yourself… I wish I could make something like that but I don’t have the skills or tools to make these.
Well, today I am showing you how you can make this gorgeous tray without using any of those!
Follow me on Instagram @anikasdiylife to see all the behind-the-scenes and sneak peeks of my new projects
Basically, all you need are 3 tools for this DIY serving tray – a miter saw, a power drill, and a nail gun.
Also, a Kreg Jig but that isn’t counted as a power tool, right?
This makes a great handmade gift!
Speaking of handmade gifts, I am teaming up with some very talented DIY bloggers to bring you even more DIY handmade gift ideas so be sure to check them out at the bottom of this post!
DIY Wood Tray
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- Lumber per the plans (a 1×8 board and 1/4″ thick hobby boards)
- Kreg Jig – I used the new Kreg 320, but you can use any Kreg Jig. (See my full guide on how to use a Kreg Jig for beginners)
- Miter Saw
- 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws
- Power Drill
- Brad nailer
- 1¼” brad nails
- Wood Glue
- Face clamps
- Kreg hardware jig
- Stain or paint of your choice. I used Gel stain in Nutmeg and Java.
- Topcoat of choice – I used this one.
- Hardware of choice.
DIY Wooden Tray Plans
I am sharing the step-by-step plans over at BuildSomething.com
Building a wood serving tray
Here is a full video of how I built the table. The step-by-step instructions follow.
How to make a wooden tray
Step 1: Cut base panels
I cut the base panels out of 1×8 boards. I wanted 4 panels to be able to make a pattern with the poplar hobby boards.
Tip – It is important that these boards be perfectly equal in size. Set up a stop block to cut them all to equal lengths.
Step 2: Cut the top strips
Set the miter saw at 45 degrees and cut the 1/4″ hobby boards to size.
I needed 5 pieces to cover each panel.
Once they are cut, be sure to sand them smooth and also mark the location of each board on the base panel.
Step 3: Stain boards
I used poplar but you can also use a wood species that is food safe and finish with food grade oil. See more information here.
Step 4: Make pocket holes
Make pocket holes with the Kreg Jig on the 3/4″ setting on the backside of the panels.
You don’t need them on all of them. Just one set on every joint.
Step 5: Attach boards
Attach the top boards using wood glue.
You could use finish nails if you like but I didn’t want the finish nails to show on the top. So I just weighed them down with heavy cans of paint and joint compound and let them dry overnight.
Step 6: Build a tray base
Cut off any overhangs on the miter saw. Be sure to align the saw carefully so as to not cut off any of the base panels.
Layout the base panels and attach them using wood glue and 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.
Tip – A face clamp near the pocket hole helps make sure the panels stay flush and even as you attach them.
Step 7: Attach sides
Cut, Stain and attach 1×3 boards to the sides of the tray using wood glue and finish nails.
Want a more finished look for the wood tray?
Cut the sides at 45-degree miters and attach.
Step 8: Apply finish and add hardware
- Apply the finish of your choice. I used this one.
- To add hardware, I used the Kreg hardware jig and predrilled holes before attaching handles.
That is it!
A pretty handmade wooden serving tray using basic tools and beginner skills.
Don’t forget to get the plans for the tray on BuildSomething.com
If you decide to build it, I’d love to see it! Feel free to email photos to me at email@example.com or tag me on Instagram @anikasdiylife for a chance to be featured on social media!
More DIY Gift Ideas
And now, here are some awesome DIY gift ideas from some of my favorite bloggers –
- DIY Wooden Headset Stand by Katie @ Addicted 2 DIY
- House Advent Calendar by Cristina @ Remodelando La Casa
- DIY Handmade Wood Gift Box by Jaime @ Jaime Costiglio
- Easy Concrete Planter by Sam @ DIY Huntress
- DIY Step Stool by Mindi @ My Love 2 Create
- Tree Branch Log Projects by Gail @ My Repurposed Life
- Charging Station by Shelly @ 100 Things To Do
- Wood Cake Stand by Angie @ House Becoming Home
- Hanging macrame tutorial by Bethany @ Reality Daydream
- DIY Desk Planter and Business Card Holder by Sarah @ Ugly Duckling House
More easy beginner project ideas –
- DIY Mail organizer without power tools
- DIY Spice bottle organizer or craft paint organizer
- DIY footrest for under the desk
Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"