I have been thinking of making a serving tray for awhile but never found the time. Since I had to take a break from our bathrooms, I thought this would be the perfect time to tackle this project.
Isn't she cute? And now my boys have no excuse for not bringing me breakfast in bed. Actually, I overheard my 6 year old tell my 9 year old that he can't wait to get sick so he can have me bring him soup on the tray. Silly boy :)
I could have just built a simple tray and called it a day. But sometimes it is all about the little things. Sometimes the small details really make a project. I decided to make "wood tiles" to line the bottom of the tray.
Alright, since there are so many little steps I thought I would put the pictures in a collage and then discuss the steps below. That way you are not scrolling like crazy.
1. I bought 1x2 boards at Home Depot for $1.25 per 8 feet. I bought 2 but didn't use it all. It depends on the size of your tray how much you would need, but 2 board should be oodles even if you build a really large tray. I used my miter saw to cut them into squares. It would also look super cool to cut them into long rectangles and tile it brick style to look like subway tiles.
2. Figure out how you want them arranged. I purposely had the grain going all different directions. I like the look of it being random. But you certainly don't have to do it this way. It is totally a preference thing. I did the same thing to the drawer fronts of my card catalog. I numbered the "tiles" so that if they got moved around I would still know where they went. My 3 year old knocked them off the counter so I was glad I opted to do this. Measure the size you need the bottom to be. I used an old piece of plywood and cut it to size using my jigsaw.
3. Glue the "tiles" to the base using wood glue. I spread some on the bottom and also added it to the right hand side and top so that the next tile going on was stuck to it. You will have a little leeway to slide them around to line up the corners but you do need to work fast because the glue starts to bond pretty quickly.
4. Make sure to have a damp paper towel handy if the glue seeps out of the cracks. Glue does not stain well (even if it says stainable) so you don't want any on the surface.
5. I sanded it down until it was all smooth. Because I used 2 different boards to create the tiles, there were slight differences in thickness.
6. Wipe off the dust from sanding so you have a clean surface to stain.
7. I cut 1x4 boards to go around the base to form the sides. I used my miter saw to cut at an angle. Mitered joints are prettier than butt joints. (If you are not sure what that means see my floating side table post) I nailed them with my brad nailer (nail gun) then used putty to fill in the nail holes. I used dark colored putty since I would be staining it dark. Pick your putty according to the color you will be staining and make sure it is sandable and stainable.
8. Use Pre-Stain Conditioner! This will ensure you get even coloring ESPESCIALLY with soft wood like pine. Minwax has a water based version and an oil based version. If you plan to use oil based stain then use an oil based conditioner (and vice versa). If you aren't sure if it is water or oil based read the label or visit the website.
9. Staining is a messy part of this process. I line my work area with paper towels especially when working with oil based products since they are harder to clean up. I wear gloves and use a foam brush to apply the stain. Once it has sat on the wood for a bit, I wipe it off with a paper towel. The longer you leave the stain sitting there, the darker the color will be. If it is still not dark enough for you, do a second coat.
10. After the stain has had time to completely dry, apply a sealer like polyurethane, with a high quality brush.
11. Once the first coat has dried, use a very fine grit sand paper (220 or higher) to buff it. Wipe it off with a damp paper towel and apply a second coat. I actually did three coats of poly on this project. It helped seal all of the cracks in between the "tiles".
And last of all, add the handles to make it easier to carry :)
All I need is a good book and I am all set!
Another one of my favorite tricks is to stick a paper towel over a can before I hammer it shut. This works for any liquid in a can. I have learned the hard way that sometimes there is excess liquid sitting in the rim of the top of the can. When I hammer it down it squirts all over me. Having the paper towel there prevents it from making a mess. Some of you are nodding your head saying "Oh!!!!"
You're welcome :)
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