Make your own wood kitchen tray to minimise clutter on your counters and create a beautiful focal point
One way to really reduce kitchen counter clutter is by organising certain, everyday-use items on a tray. Round or tiered trays work perfect for this, and they look gorgeous! You can either buy one new, update a thrifted one or make a wood kitchen tray from scratch as we did!
Yup, our retro kitchen revamp is still on the way. This project has been ongoing for a couple of years now, actually. But I’m so close to posting a reveal; we just need to complete the last couple of projects.
So far, we’ve painted the cabinets, wall tile, installed new lighting, updated the countertops, twice and added a runner. And at the moment I’m looking into accessorising and minimising some of the clutter – we are in the last stretch.
How to make a round wood kitchen tray
I saw a round enamelled wood tray online, but it was way too expensive for my budget. Marinus agreed that we would be able to make something similar, and the best part is, we had most of the supplies on-hand. We only had to buy the wood stain, how great is that? You also don’t need high-end tools; we managed it all with a jigsaw and orbital sander. I loved the two-tone wood & enamel look so much and decided to go for the same look.
Materials and tools we used for our wood kitchen tray:
- Wood – two or three pieces of wood big enough for your tray
- Two round plates in various sizes and a pencil
- Sandpaper or orbital sander with 100, 220, 360 grit sanding discs
- Wood glue
- Painter’s tape
- Wood stain and varnish in the colour and finish of your choice
- Ultrafine steel wool
- Enamel / oil-based paint and a paintbrush
Step 1. Cut your wood to size
We had a piece of meranti wood in the garage. It is the cut-out piece from our kitchen island countertop where the stove was inserted. As the wood is so thick (30mm / 1 3/16 inch), we only used two layers to make the tray – one solid piece for the bottom of the tray and one for the edges. If you use a thinner piece of wood, I would suggest using three parts – one for the base and two for the sides.
Trace the outlines of your tray using the plates as a template. The diagram explains how you need to cut the wood. You can then go ahead and cut the first solid piece with a jigsaw. On the second piece for the sides, you will first drill a hole on the edge of the inner circle as illustrated. Make sure the hole is big enough for your jigsaw blade to fit in. Cut the inner circle first, before continuing onto the outer ring. Take great care when making this cut not to put pressure on the wood, as it can break easily.
Step 2. Sanding & assembly
Now you can go ahead and sand the inner circle edges by hand, don’t try to sand it with a sander and don’t leave it till after assembly. It is far easier to sand it before. You will also need to sand the top of the tray base. Then you can go ahead and glue the two pieces of wood together, using wood glue. Put something heavy on top and allow to dry.
Don’t worry if your two pieces don’t line up perfectly on the outside, because once the wood glue has dried, you will sand it smooth on the outer edge. Start with a 100 grit sandpaper and work your way up to the 220 and 360 grit sandpapers. Make sure you get rid of all the ridges until you have a smooth-finished wood kitchen tray.
Step 3. Stain the wood
Clean the tray with a damp cloth after sanding, and then you can move onto the stain. I taped off the inner edge of the tray with painter’s tape before we started sanding. We used a stain that is mixed into the varnish, and we used a teak colour on the meranti wood. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the stain you choose. We gave the tray two coats of varnish. You can use ultrafine steel wool to sand in between the varnish coats for a smooth finish.
Step 4. Prime and Paint the Inside
Remove the painter’s tape from the inner edge. I decided not to tape off the top edge when I moved onto painting the inside. I started with the tape and then decided that it would take too long and I trusted in my steady painting-arm instead. You know your skills, and if you need the tape, take the time to tape off the top. I painted slowly, and if I did go over the edge, I wiped it clean with a damp cloth immediately.
When you paint wood, it is always a good idea to prime it first, or you will have the wood bleed through your paint. Be sure to use a primer that has a stain-blocking action. I used one coat of a multi-surface primer, and it did the job.
I did not want to paint the inside pure white and ended up mixing a little bit of the light grey colour of our cabinets into pure white paint to get the desired colour. My go-to paint is Plascon Velvaglo – an oil-based enamel paint with a satin finish. I love using this paint for most of my furniture projects too, as it is durable and chip resistant. It is also a self-levelling paint that dries with almost no brush marks. I only needed to paint two coats of enamel paint to get good coverage. Allow it to dry for a day or two to allow the paint to cure properly.
Style and admire your DIY Wood Kitchen Tray
Now you can start enjoying your brand new, budget-friendly wood kitchen tray! The steps might seem intensive, but it is easy, I promise. Plus it will save you that expensive price tag on the designer tray! I just love how this tray turned out. As we won’t be using it for serving, we did not make cut-outs for the handles, but you can easily attach some hardware to it if you like.
Accessorise your tray with all the items that usually stand around on your kitchen counter. I’m using my tray next to the stove, so it holds my bamboo utensils, some condiments and fresh herbs. Adding greenery to your home décor does wonders and adds life to a room. I just love using thyme while cooking – choose your favourite herb and add it to your tray.
If you are looking for more ways to decorate and accessorise your kitchen counters, Lauren from Bless’er House also has a great post on this. But also take a look at how my counters looked before I grouped all those items, quite the transformation right?
If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
Next week, I’ll be writing a post on the importance of using greenery in your home décor, so be sure to check back! Until then, take care and stay safe.