Tiling a Tray With Popsicle Sticks

Lisa Cestkowski
by Lisa Cestkowski
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!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
Join the conversation
2 of 219 comments
  • Kate Kate on Apr 29, 2018

     Love it!

  • Lana Lana on Oct 10, 2019

    FABULOUS job!🤩👍 I thought it was a puzzle at first glance - & in a way it was, right?😅😅 I think I would have to cut the sticks into bigger pieces or I would lose my mind trying to go back & glue each tiny piece down!!😳 But yours looks GREAT, congrats & thanks for sharing!!⭐⭐⭐⭐