Decorative Wood Serving Tray

Hey friends! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by the check out how to make this gorgeous wood serving tray!

A friend recently asked me to create a wood serving tray for her to use and also display in her living room. After checking out some photos of her room, and brainstorming some ideas, I decided to make it completely functional yet try to keep it really pretty, too.

If you like this project, please PIN this image on Pinterest.

Decorative Wood Serving Tray pinterest image

(There are some affiliate links in this post which simply means that I get a small commission if you purchase through those links, at no cost to you.  More details can be found in my Disclosure page. Thanks for supporting my small venture.)

So here’s what I did:

Supply list (with affiliate links)

Build the frame:

Wanting the outer dimensions to be exactly 14″x18″, I started with the frame. I used my miter saw to cut the upright corners at 45 degree angles. Then I put it together in a dry fit and measured the dimensions inside so I could cut the boards for the bottom of the tray to fit inside the frame. Here I used 1×6 boards and cut three pieces to the exact length needed inside the frame. Again, I did a dry fit to make sure it all went together right, then glued and used this strap as a clamp to hold it while the glue dried.

wooden serving tray - clamping frame

Next, I used my nail gun and nailed all the pieces together as well. Just for good measure and added stability.

Making the design:

Isn’t it pretty? I googled “quatrefoil pattern” and found the best clipart version, copied it to my Silhouette Design Studio program and customized it to the right size. I then used my Silhouette Cameo to cut it out in black vinyl stencil, as you can see here.

Wooden serving tray - applying stencil

Next I took some white Behr interior paint and painted on the design. When doing this, be careful not to brush the paint on, it may seep under the vinyl, instead use a stippling type stroke. It’ll look messy as you go (as you can see below) but it makes seepage less likely. Once it is mostly dried, go ahead and start peeling off the vinyl.

wooden serving tray - painting and removing stencil

You end up with a beautiful white design. You can leave it like this if you want the light wood color and just seal it with polyacrylic, or you can stain like I did.

wooden serving tray - clear white stenciled paint


Lastly, I stained with Minwax Dark Walnut, staining right over the white paint which tones it down a little but still keeps it pretty white. It all blends together perfectly! Once the stain is dried overnight, drill the holes for the handles, then apply the polyacrylic. I ended up doing four coats of poly, as it’s a serving tray that will be used a lot and I wanted it to hold up well, even if it gets wet. Be sure between every poly coat to sand it lightly with at least 220-grit sandpaper. This ensures a beautiful, smooth, shiny finish.

Add the handles:

Just use the accompanying screws in the holes you’ve already drilled.

All finished!

And voila, you have a gorgeous wood serving tray!

wooden serving tray - finished corner viewwooden serving tray - finished handle viewwooden serving tray - finished birds eye viewwooden serving tray - finished - with dishes

I hope this inspires you to try one for yourself! It would look awesome with so many different patterns or stains. If you’re not able to make one yourself and want to order one, email me and we can work out a custom order for you. hazelandgold at gmail dot com.

Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the Christmas tray I built this last Christmas! 13 Days of a Woodworker Christmas: Day 5!

Thanks friends! Get out there and make something!

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. Stephanie says:

    I love this tray! I need to get a Silhouette. Do you like yours? Wish you had bought a different model? Any tips before I buy would be much appreciated!

    1. I’ve had mine for a few years so it’s not the newest model, but it’s always worked great and I love it. Plus being able to create any design is amazing. Haven’t used a newer one, so can’t help with what they’re selling now, sorry!

  2. It’s beautiful! So unique with the stenciled design

  3. What a gorgeous serving tray! I would never think to be able to come up with something like this, but you have made it so simple and easy to follow! I think I’ll need to start a DIY project like this for when we entertain guests! Thanks for sharing and linking up 🙂

    1. You can do it! And you could always do straight corners instead of mitered which are much easier and still look great! Thanks!

  4. omgpale says:

    This is so pretty! Love the print you did on the inside. So unique!

  5. Liene G says:

    Wow, looks super great! Cool idea!

  6. mamacranberry says:

    Beautiful work! I can’t wait to look at the rest of your designs!

  7. hal says:

    I really love the design on the tray – so pretty!

  8. Patricia @ Grab a Plate says:

    What a great idea — so creative! I remember when I was looking high and low for a serving tray I liked. This is awesome!

  9. Sheri – I just love this tutorial! What an amazing project. I want to make a tray of my own! Thanks so much for linking up to I DIYed that this week! Can’t wait to see what else you share!

  10. Ali B says:

    What a gorgeous tray makeover!! I love the way the stain turned out. I’m going to be looking for a try at the thrift store next time I go.

    1. Thanks Ali! I built this tray, but a makeover is a fantastic idea too!

  11. Talena Carter says:

    This is so beautiful! PS today Anthony said, I really wish the Kimlingers didn’t live so far away! I told him Me too!!! We miss you all!

    1. Today Will said, “can we go visit the Carters this summer? I really miss them, especially Anthony.” Ha. Guess we were all on the same page today.

  12. peachykeen32 says:

    Hi! I’m one of the co-hosts from the Welcome Home Wednesdays Link Up. I love all the wooden trays lately. This one is so pretty and rustic! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you! How fun to be a co-host! Look forward to future linkups!

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