I made these decorative trays last week in preparation for end-of-school Teacher gifts – the first two were made entirely from scrap wood, and were meant to be prototypes, but the girls loved them so much they decided to give both the crappy and good versions to their teachers.
I was worried this project was going to involve a lot of math and calculating angles etc – but I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out these are even easier to build than my larger ottoman trays!
If you have a mitre saw with a marking for a 30 degree angle you are set!
You will need
- one, 1x2x8 board (this will provide enough wood for 2.5 trays)
- one 1x16x6 board – or you could use scrap wood pieces and join them together to create your base.
- mitre saw
- wood filler
- finishing nails
- wood glue
- paint or stain of your choice.
Start by cutting your 1×2 board. You will need 6 pieces of the same length – for my first hexagonal decorative trays, I cut 7.5″ pieces – this will give me a tray that is 15″ wide.
I get confused when instructions tell me to cut boards to a certain length on one side and another length on the other – so I decided to cheat here and cut all six boards with a regular straight cut.
From there, I lined up my mitre saw to ta 30 degree angle and cut off the tips of both sides. (see where the laser line is)
You have a short side and a long side to each board: meaning that the cuts are running opposite to each other. Don’t adjust your saw, just flip your board before cutting the second side.
Sand the narrow sides of each 1×2 board – it’s easier to do it now before the tray is assembled.
Once all of your side boards are cut and sanded for your decorative trays, set them out on your 1×16 piece of wood and trace the shape. Again, this isn’t proper woodworking practice – but I’m a DIYer and I want to do things the easiest way possible.
(For my second set of decorative trays the 1×2 boards were cut to 6″ long – giving me a 12″ tray)
Cut your 1×16 board along the lines you’ve just traced.
Using wood glue, attach your 1×2 pieces to the base and to each other.
Clamp, or rest something heavy on top, until the glue has had a chance to set a bit.
Once the glue is strong enough to hold the boards in place, turn your hexagonal decorative trays over and tap two finishing nails through the bottom and up into each side board.
Recess the nail heads by tapping the heads with a small square-headed screwdriver and hammer.
Fill the holes, and any open seams, with wood filler and let dry.
Since these trays were intended to be teacher gifts, Madison was excited to do a little DIY on the ones for her teacher.
Sand your entire piece smooth using 80 grit up to 22o grit sandpaper.
Paint with the colours of your choice and you’re done!
The 12″ (made from 6″ 1×2’s) hexagonal trays were a perfect fit for nesting inside the 15″ (made from 7.5″ 1x2s) trays.
You will have enough 1×16 board leftover to make another two or three trays, so plan to buy extra 1×2’s for the sides, or save the extra wood for another project.
- 1×16 $21
- 1×2 $3
- paint (tester pot) $5
- Divided by 4 trays = ~$7.25 per tray
Again, you could make the base of each tray from scrap 1×4’s or 1×5’s and knock your price per down to maybe $3 – but I had no luck getting my pocket screws to sit flush when piecing the base together and they ended up having a crappy finish on the bottom (with pocket screw heads sticking out). The more expensive board was easier to work with and gave a much cleaner finished product.
From the top and sides, you really can’t tell the difference though (the grey and orange are my prototypes, the pink and yellow are with the more expensive base)
These are so bright and cheerful! Use them on your patio – the larger to serve snacks and the smaller for drinks. Make an even smaller one (4″ 1×2 sides) for a single tea and cookie tray or as a jewelry tray.
Colours too bright? Choose tester pots from within your decor colour pallette – or stain them for year-round use.
These turned out much better, and were much easier to build, than I expected – so go try them yourself – you’ll be surprised.
Have a great one!