I had a customer request to make a “farmhouse tray” that was 36″ by 20″ (huge) with black pipe handles and a quote on the front. The tray was/is going to be used on an upholstered ottoman to set drinks etc and not really as a carrying tray – you’d have to have strong arms and a long wingspan to use it as a carrying tray.
The tray itself was the easy part. I used four pieces of 1/4″ cedar fence boards ripped down on the table saw so that each board was 5″ wide and then cut down to be 36″ long.
I then cut two pieces of the same cedar fence boards down to 20″ long to go across the top.
The bottom boards were glued together with wood glue and then clamped tightly until dry. The top boards were attached with wood glue and then screwed onto the base from the underside, using 1/2″ wood screws.
A couple of coats of off-white and you’re ready for your quote/wording.
I cut the stencil from adhesive vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo. Once stuck to the tray bottom, I went over it lightly with another coat of the off-white paint – this ensures that any bleed-through will be in the off-white and not the black top coat.
Once that was dry, I gave it two coats of black paint and let that dry as well.
Peel it off and you should have a beautifully crisp image/quote on your farmhouse tray.
At this point your tray will have cost you roughly $12 in wood and craft paint (if you don’t have leftovers tucked away in your house somewhere). I had some tester pots of latex paint made up in the colours I wanted, but you could really get away with the dollar store craft paint. The important part is to protect your farmhouse tray / ottoman tray with a poly or varnish afterwards. I had some triple-thick varnish here and so I coated the front and back with two coats to help protect from watermarks and spills.
The expensive part of this project is getting the black pipe handles. I searched everywhere and the cheapest I could find online (via Etsy) were $34 US per handle. I even contacted a contractor friend of mine and asked if she’d be willing to make them for me, and she said that the materials alone would cost about $20 per handle.
However, and serendipitously, I came across these beauties at a local “Maker’s Market”:
Somehow the Chinese (because these are “made in China”) have found a way to whip these out for less than the $20 per. I was actually able to buy them for $18 (Cdn) per! The most expensive handles I’ve ever purchased, but the least expensive I have seen for this type of black pipe/ rustic-industrial handle.
I gave them a couple of coats of black spray paint and they are perfect!
The client doesn’t live nearby, and wanted to make sure that the tray would be large enough to hold several dishes, so I made up (my first) stop motion to give her a whimsical glance:
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If you’re looking for an easy build that takes an hour start to finish, this farmhouse tray /ottoman tray is a great project.
Have a great one!