Skip to Content

15-Minute DIY Serving Tray

Hey all, thanks for stopping by Bitterroot DIY!

For more project ideas, you can find me on Pinterest. And to stay up to date with the latest shenanigans, follow me on Instagram.

After finishing up the storage chest, I thought I’d work in a bit of a smaller project just for fun. I know there’s a bunch of these tutorials all over the place, but it can’t hurt to throw my 2 cents out there also!

Welcome to another DIY serving tray tutorial!

*wooooooohooooo* *crazy applause* 😉

Why another tray tutorial, you ask.

Read on, my friends.

My mother-in-law loves hosting little parties and, recently, we’ve had a wedding and new-baby-on-the-way in the family, aka: lots of opportunities for hosting celebrations. So, for all these parties, she’s been using this long, skinny upside-down photo as a serving tray. You never would’ve known it was a photo rather than an actual tray (except now you do since I’ve just revealed it to the whole internet), but she let me in on the secret one time when I asked where she got the cute tray.

I couldn’t let her continue using an upside-down photo while I had all this extra scrap wood sitting around and nothing to do with it!!!

So off I went one evening and made her an actual tray. I even painted a picture on the back of it so she’d still feel like she was using the same ol’ tray and could hang it on the wall as decoration when not in use … not really …

… but I bet I fooled you for a second 😉

DIY Serving Tray

Anyway, here’s a super easy 15-minute DIY serving tray!

This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy for more information.


  • 1 |   1 x 4
  • 1 |   1 x 2


  • 1 |   1 x 4 @ 20″ (base)
  • 2 |   1 x 2 @ 21-1/2″ (sides)
  • 2 |   1 x 2 @ 3-1/2″ (ends)

Tools & Supplies:

  • Tape Measure
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing Protection
  • Miter Saw (or hand saw)
  • Orbital Sander (or you could do it by hand no problem since this is a small project)
  • Wood Glue
  • Handle Hardware
  • Minwax “Special Walnut” Stain
  • Clear Acrylic Matte Coating Spray

Step 1.

Position one end of your tray flush with the base of the tray and attach with wood glue. I used Gorilla wood glue, which is plenty strong enough for a tray without any nails or anything. Piece of cake.

Serving Tray Step 1

Attach the second end of your tray the same as the first. Clamp the ends together and let the glue set.

Serving Tray Step 2I didn’t have long enough clamps, so I simply turned the tray on its side and stacked some heavy things on top. Do whatch’a gotta do.

Step 2.

Position the two sides of your tray flush with the base and ends and attach with wood glue.

Serving Tray Step 3Double and triple-check to make sure everything is square and then clamp the sides together. Again, let the glue set.

Serving Tray Step 4

Step 3.

Sand and finish as desired.

I sanded with 120 and then 220-grit and stained with Minwax ‘Special Walnut’.

Once the stain dried (according to the Minwax can label), I distressed the tray by sanding along the edges and corners, which rubbed some of the stain off and let the natural pine color show through.

After distressing, I sealed with a Clear Acrylic Matte Coating spray.  

Finally, I finished it off by adding some handles on each end. I picked up my handles at Menards, but there are similar ones here on Amazon.

serving tray handles

That’s it!

DIY Serving Tray

Told you it was quick 🙂

As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments.

And please share if you build a tray of your own! I’d love to see!



DIY Serving Tray

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.