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.

Inspiration…

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.

Stains…

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.