I always scramble come end-of-year when I need to come up with gift ideas for teachers and coaches. I know that apples, pencils and worm paraphernalia are cute, but I think I’m correct in assuming if you’ve taught for more than one year, you probably have a cupboard full already. I tried to come up with ideas of things I might use day-to-day and ended up landing on this simple cedar tray.
Total size 12″ x 18″ and 2 ½” deep – although all of those are changeable to whatever you need/want.
This DIY wood tray is an easy build, and a great use of scrap wood.
Simple Cedar Tray
- (1) ½” plywood or scrap wood cut to 10 ½” by 16 ½”.
- (2) ¾” by 2 ½” wood cut to 18″ long
- (2) ¾” by 2 ½” wood cut to 12″ long
- (2) decorative handles
- wood glue
- finishing nails
Cut your 12″ and 18″ boards on a mitre saw, set to a 45° angle. The angles will run opposite to each other on either end of the board leaving you with a long edge of 18″ and a shorter (inside) edge of 16 ½”. (12″ and 10 ½” for the shorter boards)
Using wood glue and clamps, set your wood tray base inside the side boards and clamp tightly.
Apply wood glue to the mitred corners and butt them tightly together. Clamp the corners if you have a corner clamp.
Use finishing nails or a brad nailer with 1 ¼” nails to reinforce the glued seams along the bottom of your tray and in each corner.
Mark where you want your handles to go and pre-drill holes from the inside. Sand everything smooth and use wood filler if necessary.
Attach your handles and you are done! (If you used cedar as your wood)
The reason I opted for cedar for these simple wood trays was so that they could be left unfinished for use on the patio and will patina beautifully over time, or in the closet as a jewelry/watch tray that has the added benefit of discouraging moths.
If the recipients decide to paint, wax, oil or stain the trays, it is easily done without any pre-work necessary.
The girls tucked a little gift card in behind our thank you note so that (hopefully) their teachers will start by enjoying a coffee and a treat on their new cedar trays.
Who can’t use another wood tray right? I know I have more organizing ideas for trays and boxes than there is wood in Canada – so hopefully this is at least partially true of the people I made these for.
If you’re looking for a great starter project – that will DEFINITELY get you addicted to building – you really should try this project. You’ll be really proud of yourself and will have something to show off to friends/family for your efforts.
Have a great one!