Serving Tray DIY

The farmhouse look is the “in” thing right now and one piece that pops up over and over on my Pinterest is serving trays. If this would have been during my brief stint in startups; I would have no issue spending $40+ on a tray that would just sit on the dining table. Scrolling through Pinterest I’ve seen so many white destressed trays or glass and wood trays but they didn’t really fit my style. Then one day I was at Goodwill looking for picture frames and passed by a unique setup where they had some decorative metal pieces on an old wood tray. I ignored it at first and kept glancing at it while looking for frames. Then these ladies started to hover around it and I knew I needed to grab it before they did.

Ready to Serve DIY Tray

The Dilemma

After bagging it for $3.00 I started planning how I would update it. The tray was large which was perfect but the biggest problem was that it was dingy. It was so dirty that my hands were sticky after touching it. In all of the crevices there was sticky gunk and the finish was a nasty 80’s wood stain. I Googled how to clean gunky wood but nothing was coming up so I defaulted to wiping it down with Lysol wipes which helped but it was still just as sticky and the grime was cemented in the stain. I stuck it in the dishwasher at the advice of my husband which helped a ton but I eventually sanded it to take all of the grime and nastiness off. I hand to sand it a couple of times to get all of the shine off and made sure to wear a mask in case there was anything that could get me sick in it.

Raw Wood Serving Tray

The Process

After sanding it down completely I used Kilz primer to prime the entire tray including the insides of the handles and the bottom. I let it dry overnight and a couple of days later put the first coat of Valspar’s Roaming Pony (it was one we got a sample size for but didn’t like on the walls). The color looks like a brown but it has more of a mix between a puce and mauve in person. Our walls are grey and the molding is all stark white so I didn’t want the farmhouse colors but I did want it to stand out. We have dark furniture that looks distressed so I wanted to stick with it just being matte and not being too matchy.

Primed Solid Wood Serving Tray

The first coat was just the inside and sides, the bottom I did in between the second coat. I like this method because I don’t have a ton of time in between work, baby, husband, house, friends and every other thing so I can come back to it and work on it in phases. I don’t know anyone who has the time to sit and do a project beginning to end so my advice is to break it up. I did two coats on the tray and let it sit for a couple of days to fully dry.

DIY Painted Serving Tray

For less than $5 I was able to get a tray that was my style, looks good with my furniture and won’t need to be traded out when farmhouse becomes a passing fad.


Thriftsore Tray – $3.00

Sample Valspar Paint in Roaming Pony – $5.00 (Already had)

Black & Decker 1.2 Amp Mouse Detail Sander – $29.99 (Already had)

Kilz 2 Latex Primer – $16.98 (Already had)

Wooster Paint Brush – $10.68 (Already had)

Serving Tray DIY Before and After


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