DIY – Wooden “Place Tray”

Last week’s Thanksgiving Tablescape Post included a wooden “Place Tray” that I made after being inspired by a table display at my local World Market. The store layered small wooden cutting boards under soup bowls in the tablescape. A hole in one end of the board had a napkin threaded through it, and the board was angled so the napkin fell over the table edge.


World Market: cutting board Inspiration

I adjusted the Inspiration cutting board to bring a wooden layer to my Modern/Rustic 2017 Thanksgiving Tablescape.

My version of a Place Tray…

The project is Simple. I positioned scrap pieces of wood (from the garage) under my charger plates to come up with a depth measurement, and placed utensils and a glass on the boards, to come up with my ideal place tray measurement. Final (actual) size: 18″ x 12.5″, and 3/4” thick. Then I headed to Lowe’s to choose wood and for my “buddies” to cut-it-to-size. Once there I was hit with my, uhum, Budget! I needed to make enough place trays for our big holiday feasts, that’s a lot of wood. Solution:  use a combination of woods, with a cheaper pine for the wider 9” piece. For the thinner (top) 3.5” width of wood, I found a ($) wood with blueish-gray markings…totally my taste! I kept that gorgeous gray wood as natural as possible, by using an almost clear stain, stained the wider pine a medium brown (Provincial) for contrast. The only other wood I needed was something to hold the two sections together, and lift the tray UP off the table so the napkin could be easily inserted & removed. I bought a long length of .625″ thick wood that was 2″ wide, and had the guys cut it down to 10″ lengths. I needed 2 pieces per tray.

I also purchased a 1-3/4 inch hole cutter bit ($10.) that attaches to my power drill, to cut the hole in the left corner of the top wood. It takes muscle to hold the drill steady as it cuts. Wear eye protection and (ladies) move your car (and children) so they are not hit by an airborne board ; (  Tip: pre-drill a shallow center hole to anchor the hole bit, otherwise it is hard to get on the center mark where you want the hole (bounce-bounce.) After the hole is cut, lightly sand the area so it will not snag your napkin fabric.

Now for the bigger wood piece: Sand sharp & rough edges and distress the wood.


My Thanksgiving Tablescape has a Modern/Rustic style so the contrasting stain (below) is perfect. The smooth light wood next to the the distressed darker stained wood creates a Yin Yang harmony that will fit into many future tablescapes.

Now to attach the two pieces of wood: I used two pieces of 10″x 2″ x .625 thick wood attached (glued & nailed) to the backside, it also provides some height above the table for the napkin to pass through.

Pre-drill holes into the attaching 10-inch wood strips, then hammer nails so they barely peek through the backside. I suggest you do this pre-drill technique so the thin wood doesn’t split when hammering it to the place tray boards.

A thin line of glue applied to the wood strips, before the final hammering, will help secure them to the place tray.

I found it easier to do an assembly line after I made one tray completely; I then produced the rest by doing all the holes at one time, then all the sanding & distressing, then all the staining…I loved seeing the stack of completed trays at the end of the day.

I will get a lot of use out of these babies….

I am amazed how a small cutting board displayed so creatively in World Market Inspired my Place Tray!

What Inspires your Creativity?

BTW, it cost me $40. (hole drill bit included, but I used stains from our garage) to make 10 place trays, yes I went crazy, whereas a store purchase of one small cutting board costs between $12. – $25. Making this Place Tray DIY both Simple & Affordable!

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside! (I am going to miss our weekly visit), MML will be up (for browsing) through January 3, 2018.

DIY – Boho Wall Hanging

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I love layering Texture into my home decor, especially in the form of fabric. Recently, I was doing one of my Wandering for (Fall) Inspiration trips at Home Goods and came across an unusual throw blanket. I say “unusual” because … Continue reading

Halloween Fireplace Mantel & Freebie Printable

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I don’t decorate very much for Halloween anymore since we are empty-nesters. However, I do like to add into my fall decorations, a few non-spooky touches. You know a little sprinkle here and there of candy corn(y) goes a long … Continue reading

DIY – Transitional Fall Centerpiece

I combined two of my favorite “things”, succulents & a wooden bread dough bowl, to create a casual Fall centerpiece. This arrangement’s simplicity and muted tones will transition all the way into November, in fact, year-round. I’m already drawing Inspiration from its mood and color palette, you can expect to see this dough bowl succulent centerpiece, with a few minor changes, used in an upcoming Thanksgiving Tablescape post.

PB Inspiration…

For many years, I’ve been crushing on vintage wooden dough bowls I see in antique shops and in magazines, ha, I’m kidding…Online. Real vintage bowls are pricey, but now with Farmhouse style becoming so popular, (thank you J.G.) knockoffs are readily found. My bowl is from Home Goods,  I love its extra long length. I plan to make use of that extra space to nestle in candles, or seasonal goodies, like pumpkins, among the plants.  The dough bowl’s low profile makes a perfect centerpiece running down the length of a farmhouse dining table.

My Dough Bowl…

Over the past few months I collected a bag full of faux succulents from craft stores and the Dollar store. The arrangement needed 2-3 larger-size succulents for balance, so I tore apart an old faux succulent (basket) arrangement I already had, and replanted them in my dough bowl. Tip: take cheap faux succulents from shiny-plastic, to realistic-fab, by spraying them with a light mist of white paint topped with a clear matte spray. My cheaper faux succulents were mostly green tones, so I also sprayed a few of the tips with floral spray. I used Design Master floral sprays in October Brown and Cherry Wood Tone.

The assembly process is Simple – cut styrofoam to size using a serrated knife, glue the foam blocks to the inside of the bowl using a low-heat glue gun, glue sheet moss on top of the foam blocks and stick the succulents into the foam. I shortened a few stems, using a garden clipper to cut through the wires. I didn’t need to use the glue gun to secure the succulents in place, a pre-poke into the foam with my scissors made it easy to insert the stems.

I used only two mossy rocks (Dollar store) because I didn’t want to overcrowd the plants. You can see in the photo below, that extra space with sheet moss showing, Gives that added layer of texture to the centerpiece. I added two gold plastic antlers for sparkle. The antlers were something I found on some random aisle at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. They were so cheap, $1.34 each, I figured for that price I would use them somewhere…so it was fun to be able to pop them into this project. I keep looking for more of these little antlers each time I go to Walmart, which seems to be often this time of year.

(above) The realistic fuzzy/dusty look and some of the red-brown toned tips on these cheap succulents are the results of my spray paint tricks.

I am swooning, (it’s true!) over this Dough Bowl Succulent Centerpiece. I have big plans for this guy. Tomorrow it will be moved to the fireplace mantel to become part of my October decor, then later it becomes the centerpiece for my Thanksgiving tablescape.

Do you have a “transitional” decoration for the Holidays? 

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!

DIY Farmhouse Kraft Paper Roller

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I’m Falling into the new Season with this fun and affordable DIY, that can be used throughout the year. You know I am crazy about chalk art, so my first thought was to paint the wall with chalk paint to … Continue reading

2 Simple Ways to Refresh a Room

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Sometimes it takes more than a vase of fresh flowers to make a room feel REALLY light & bright Fresh. This month I put my final touches on our dark cave-like family room before summer ends. I always like to … Continue reading