Glamping Style: Farmhouse Tray for under $15

This farmhouse tray cost less than $15 to make with one singular board!

If you admire pretty farmhouse trays at local fairs and shops, you could easily make one for yourself for a fraction of the cost.  You could also make one (or several) for gifts.  This would be perfect to accent the decor in your glamper or at your outdoor table set up or serving station.  This tray is lightweight, simple and could be customized to any color scheme you like.

Glamping Style - DIY Farmhouse Tray for Under $15

You can use some supplies that you already have at home to finish this project.

To make this tray, you will need 1 board that is 1 x 4 x 10.  I learned something when making this project.  Even though you would think that this board is 4 inches wide, it is not!  It is only 3 1/2 inches.  Below are the measurements and supplies.
I already had the wood stain, clear sealant, and handles for this project.  I only needed the board and glue.

I already had everything I needed for this project with the exception of the board and wood glue.  I picked up the board at Lowes for a little over $7.  I also had someone to cut the board for me there.  Again, take heed to those measurements above!  I had to get a friend to cut my little end pieces because originally they were too long since I didn't realize this board wasn't actually 4 inches wide.

Step 1 - Prepare the Wood

To start out, you want to sand each board nice and smooth.  Pay attention to the edges and ends.  No one wants splinters. 

Layer the stain until you achieve the depth of color that you desire.

Step 2 - Stain the Wood

Now you are ready to stain your wood.  You can use any color you like really.  I had a nice deep brown and the classic grey.  I went with grey because I liked it best.  But, you could do anything really.  If you prefer, use milk paint.  Get creative use some things you have to save a few dollars.  And, if you have a friend or family member that builds or crafts, ask them to borrow a bit.  It won't take much, so you might not want to buy a whole container.  I used an old tee shirt to just rub the stain into the wood on all sides.  Let it dry completely.  Several hours or overnight will work well.

You can choose to add a little color wash using basic craft paint if you want to create a more complex finish.

Step 3 (optional) - Layer on Color and Distress

Next, you can add a layer of color with a wash of paint if you like.  Or, you can omit this step altogether.  I felt like my handles weren't going to really stand out with the grey stain alone, so I just dabbed a little craft paint in white and cream on my brush and lightly went over the top.  To smooth out any brush strokes I dipped my brush into a little water and smeared it in.  Let this dry completely.

And now, if you want to distress this any, go back over your wood with some sandpaper in places to remove a little of the paint.  Again, this is an optional step!  Whatever you do, you want to do your boards in separate pieces for any accents, staining, etc.  This will give the best look.  If you paint and stain after you put it all together it won't have the same effect. 

A bead of wood glue on the short sides of the 4 matching boards will hold them together perfectly. 

Place a garbage bag or something underneath to keep the glue from sticking to your work surface.  Wipe any excess glue away.

Place a nice amount of wood glue on the short pieces to fix them to the tray base.

Let the glue dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Step 4 - Glue The Tray Together

Get your wood glue and apply a thin coat along with the four base pieces and place them together.  Wipe away any excess.  I did this on top of a garbage bag spread out on a table so that anything underneath it wouldn't get stuck. 

Begin by placing a bead of glue down the narrow side of your 4 four longest boards.  Position them together to create the base of your tray.  Be sure to line each board up exactly so they are lined up correctly.  Next, place a zigzag for glue down the wide side of the two short boards and align them onto the base of the tray.  See the images for assembly.  After this step, let the boards all dry for several hours or overnight to ensure a good bond.

The wood screws had a sharp contrast to the handles.  I didn't like this look and decided to add a little paint to cover them.

Basic brown craft paint worked just fine to cover the screws and match them to the iron handles.

The finished result makes the screws blend into the handles.

Step 5 - Position and Attach the Handles

Place each handle in the center of the short boards on each end.  Use a ruler to obtain the measurements to place each one the correct spot on each side.  Mark the holes on your handles for the screws with a pencil.  Use a drill to place pilot holes on each of the marked spots and then attach the handles with wood screws.  

If your wood screws contrast from the handles, you can dab a little paint on the ends to match the handles.  This is what I did to give it a better look.  But this is up to you.

Attach the handles and seal the tray with a coat or two of clear coat.

Step 6 - Seal the Deal

Now you are ready to give your tray a nice spray with a clear coat.  This will seal the paint and stain underneath and protect the wood.  I recommend doing this outdoors.

You could even use this tray in your home.  It is such a versatile piece.

This project was so gratifying.  It would make a great addition to your glamping gear.  You could also make these for gifts.  The price point is perfect for that.  You could even embellish these with stencils, monograms, and other accents.  

This is the perfect time to tackle an easy DIY project.  I love that you can utilize items from an existing craft stash to complete the job.  One reason this was so inexpensive is that I didn't have to purchase every single supply!  

While you are at it, check out my Glamper Projects Page for more inspiration and ideas!  With all of this extra time at home, your glamper is going to be on point by the time we all start traveling again.  If you tackle this project, I'd love to see your final product.  Be sure to tag me on social media with #southernglamper.  

Until next time...

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