How to Make a DIY, Shabby Chic Serving Tray

Did you catch our live Hometalk video? Today we'd like to tell you step-by-step how to make your very own shabby chic serving tray from scratch using some simple pieces of wood and a few Country Chic Paint products!

As you can see, the hardware we used is nice and rustic to suit the shabby chic style of this tray. It didn't always look this way though! To transform your shiny, silver hardware, let it sit in a jar with 1 part salt + 2 parts vinegar + 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Leave it for 30 minutes, then take it out and let dry.

You'll need the following hardware to create this tray:

16 - #6 wood screws with ½” length
4 corner brackets

The wood used for this tray can be purchased at your local home improvement store. Any raw wood such as pine will do! Here are the pieces you'll need:

5 pieces - 18” length by 2 ¾” width
2 pieces - 16.5” length by 2 ¾” width
2 pieces - 12” length by 2 ¾” width
20 - #5 wood screws with 1 ¼ length

Make sure you sand all the edges and wipe away any dust on the wood before you begin.

The first step we're going to take to give the wood a more aged appearance is white washing. We chose Lazy Linen (a very pale grey) for this but you can use any paint color you'd like.

Simply shake and stir your paint, then dip your paint brush in and apply some paint to your board. You're not going for opaque coverage here! With a damp, lint-free rag you can wipe away the excess paint and spread it to reach every corner, including the sides and ends of the board. This technique will add some color to your wood while still allowing the beautiful wood grain to peak through. If you find the paint is a bit too thick for the look you're trying to achieve, you can water it down slightly before you apply it to the wood.

Continue white washing on every board and let them dry for about 30 minutes before you continue on to the next step.

Next we're going to add even more depth, age, and a buttery smooth feel to each board by applying some Grey Wax. As with the last step, you're welcome to choose any color of wax that suits your style.

With a wax brush or a dry, lint-free rag, apply one coat of Grey Wax all over your boards and buff it dry.

Keep in mind that you DO NOT want wax on the wood boards that will be used to create the base of your tray. This step should only be done on the four boards that will build the side walls of your tray.

Now we're going to add some beautiful detailing to the base of our try by decoupaging each of the five base boards using Image Transfer Medium and paper napkins.

If your napkins have multiple layers, peel off any layers that are not printed. With a sponge or a paint brush, apply one even coat of Image Transfer Medium to your boards, then gently press the napkins down and smooth with your fingers. The Image Transfer Medium dries fairly quickly so it's best to work on one board at a time. Let them dry at this point for 1-2 hours.

Using a fine-grit sandpaper, sand the edges of each board to remove the excess napkin pieces and to give the finish a distressed look.

The last step we want to take before we put our tray together is to add protection to the decoupaged boards with Tough Coat. Using a foam brush, apply 1-2 coats of Tough Coat over all of the decoupaged surfaces and allow it to dry for 1-2 hours.

Now you're ready to build your tray! Using the rustic hardware you created, you can now begin screwing the boards together.

To see Rosanne building this tray first hand, watch our live video:

Suggested materials:

  • All-in-One Decor Paint  (Country Chic Paint)
  • Image Transfer Medium  (Country Chic Paint)
  • Grey Wax  (Country Chic Paint)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Linda wallace
    on Apr 14, 2017

    I just wanted to say l would have my granddaughters make this for my Nice and take her over breakfast then we found out she has cancer and work and I just wash that white wash that cancer away

Join the conversation

2 of 28 comments
  • Liz
    on May 1, 2017

    I am watching from Summerville, SC, USA
  • Karen Simoncelli
    on May 8, 2017

    I would make one for my mom for her birthday. She will be 84 this year and I think she would really like something so personal. Just love the tray
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