How to Make a Simple Decorative Tray: Easy DIY Dollar Store Decor

White simple decorative tray on table with Mickey Mouse mug and creamer

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Now that summer is finally here, many of us are heading outdoors.  Patio parties, intimate sunset dinners – they are all awesome!  And they can get a little costly.  Learning how to make a simple decorative tray can save you a lot of money and add some personal style to your table.



What You’ll Need

You can have a lot of fun with this project!  You don’t really need a lot of supplies, much like most of my favourite home decor pieces.  Depending on your style, you may want to be a little fancier or a little more rustic.  I fall somewhere in the middle!  Summer style is usually a little more casual in our house, so I’m going to roll with it.

Here is a supply list of the items that I’ve used for this particular serving tray.  These are affiliate links that will take you to the same or similar products as what I’m using!


What You’ll Do

This really is one of the easiest projects you can tackle in an afternoon!  I don’t know about you, but I’m already picturing a different simple decorative tray for every season and every occasion!

For a quick overview of how I made this tray, you can check out my YouTube video here:  



AND – you can go ahead and print out these step-by-step instructions:


White simple decorative tray on table with Mickey Mouse mug and creamer

How to Make a Simple Decorative Tray: Easy DIY Dollar Store Decor


  • Wood Artist's Panel
  • Craft Chalk Paint
  • Rope
  • Decorative Finish, such as a Stencil, Transfer or Shelf Paper - this step is optional but adds a nice touch!


  • Drill and ⅜" drill bit
  • Measuring tape or ruler and pencil


  1. Start by painting your wood surface. I've chosen white chalk paint to fit in with my decor the best. Paint two or three coats, depending on the coverage you like, allowing sufficient time between coats to dry.
  2. Once your paint is fully dry, it's time to attach your handles.
  3. In order to centre your handles to the sides of the tray, start by finding the middle of the edge. In my case, using a 12"x16" surface, the half-way point on the side is at 6". Then divide each side in half to find the points for the drill holes. I will be drilling holes at 3" and 9" on the short side of the tray.
  4. Drill a hole using a ⅜" drill bit at both 3" and 9" along the side. Be sure to centre it vertically on the side of the tray as well.
  5. Repeat the same process on the other end of the tray.
  6. Once the holes are drilled, clean up any dust or splinters.
  7. Cut two lengths of rope the same length as the short side of the tray. My tray is 12" on the short side, so I've cut two lengths of 12" each.
  8. Feed the ends of each length through the drilled holes, with the ends going into the tray and the handle on the outside.
  9. Tie the ends of the rope into knots, as close to the end of the rope as possible.
  10. Repeat this process on the other end of the tray.
  11. Prepare your surface for your decorative piece, following manufacturer's directions.
  12. Once your decoration is complete, display your new tray!


This tray is purely decorative. If you intend to use it for serving or lifting, you may need to use heavier materials. You may also wish to use a sealant to protect your decorative finish.

If you are concerned about the handles loosening, you could use hot glue to hold the knots in place.

I’m a huge fan of this adorable but simple decorative tray!  Just picture how cute this would be above the kitchen cupboards, in a hutch or even hanging on a wall!  Just add some small hooks to the back or top and you’ve got a great sign for your kitchen!



If you love easy farmhouse touches in your kitchen that are still budget-friendly, take a look at these posts:

Farmhouse Style in Small Kitchens: Easy DIY Home Decor 

Make a Simple Kitchen Sink Stand: Easy DIY Dollar Store Decor

Easy DIY Dollar Store Decor: Make a Decorative Bee Skep



Want to remember this?  Save “HOW TO MAKE A SIMPLE DECORATIVE TRAY: EASY DIY DOLLAR STORE DECOR” to your favourite Pinterest boards!




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Hi! I'm Tanya

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