My work has a gift exchange every year and I’ve been racking my brain to come up with something I could make for the exchange.  It tends to be your typical mixture of good gifts and duds.  However I have too strong of a conscious to ever give something that I wouldn’t like myself.  I was recently inspired by Hazel and Gold Design’s submission for the 13 Days of Woodworking Christmas and decided that a serving tray would be a good gender neutral item to give.

Materials List:

  • approximately 15″ x 24″ piece of 1/2″ scrap plywood
  • 1″ x 6″ pine board ripped to 2″ wide
  • (4) lattice strips 8′ long
  • (2) cabinet handles
  • table saw
  • compound miter saw
  • circular saw
  • wood glue
  • brad nailer and nails
  • sandpaper
  • ipswich pine stain
  • watered down white paint

First I started by finding a piece of scrap plywood to use as the base.  I had a piece that measured almost was about 24″ x 24″ so I cut down the width to 15″.

Next I ripped the lattice strips on the table saw to make sure they were all an even 1 1/4″ is width.  I knew I wanted to do a geometric southwest pattern but honestly didn’t have much of a plan when I started.  I spent some time looking at some similar trays and art on Etsy and really just made up the pattern as I went along.

It probably would have been helpful to take more pictures throughout the construction process.  Before I started laying out my pieces I drew a horizontal and vertical line on the plywood marking the centers.  Then I just started cutting the lattice strips at 45° on my compound miter saw.  I lightly sanded each piece with some sandpaper before placing it on the plywood.


It was a little difficult to get all the pieces to be the precise length they needed to be to meet the edge of the plywood flush so I decided I would just trim down all the edges after the pieces were glued in place.

I’m really glad I took the photo above because next I started separating all the pieces to start staining/whitewashing and would have been a little lost putting it all back together.


One all the pieces were stained/whitewashed I glued them in place.  I grabbed another scrap piece of plywood to place on top with some paint cans to act as a clamp while they dried.  Once the glue had dried I used my circular saw and a guide to trim down all the sides.  I decided to use some of the points on my design to determine where to make my cuts

Next I grabbed a 1×6 pine board use for the frame.  I ripped it down to 2″ wide and then cut the lengths with 45° mitered corners to frame the tray.  I had to be much more precise with these cuts as I’ve learned from some past failed attempts at framing edges.  I stained these pieces and after they dried I used some wood glue and brad nails to attach them to the base.  I put at least 3 brad nails along each side and then 2 brad nails in each corner.

Then the only thing left to do was drill some holes to attach the handles.  Overall I’m really happy with how it turned out and will be excited to see the response from my colleagues this Thursday at our gift exchange.


One thought on “Southwest Geometric Serving Tray

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