Tiling a Tray With Popsicle Sticks

I bought a tray from a thrift store a while back. It was a good size, and I loved the black wrought iron handles and dovetail joints. But I wanted to be able to use the tray year round -- which meant the Christmas scene painted on the bottom had to go.
Here's what the tray looked like when I started.
I had a bunch of popsicle sticks laying around. Some of them were already stained from a previously abandoned craft project. I decided to use them to tile the tray with.
Step one was to cut all of the popsicle sticks up into tiles. That took a while. I tried a variety of different tools (craft knife, guillotine paper cutter, garden pruner) to make the cuts. In the end, a sharp scissors seemed to work best.
When I had all the popsicle sticks cut, I painted the tray black (to make sure none of the Christmas scene would peek through between the tiles) and started dry fitting the pieces.
I went with a simple two-horizontal, one-vertical pattern that I just kept repeating.
I tried to grab the tiles randomly, so the wood tones were varied throughout.
It was a lot like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
When I had all the pieces in place, I went back and glued each tile down with wood glue.
My tiles were not cut with precision accuracy, which meant there were a lot of gaps between the pieces.
Time to break out the wood filler.
I smooshed the wood filler into the gaps with my fingers and then wiped off the excess with a wet paper towel.
Ah, much better.
Once the gaps were all filled, I put a coat of wax over the top of the tiles, and my tray was done.
Lisa Cestkowski
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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