How to Make a Hand-Crafted Serving Tray

Although I haven’t talked about it much on this blog, I really am a lover of home made crafts, especially those where I can re-purpose things I already have.

I’m not big on spending a lot of money at craft stores, either. I go for basics while I’m there, but I don’t buy much of the new things I can find on my kind of shopping hunts: tag sales, vintage shops, flea markets, thrift stores and estate sales. I’m even known to pick up a whole bunch of road-side items where I usually envision their use before I throw something into my back seat.

Recently I saw on the Nate Berkus Show that it was quite possible, easy and quick to re-purpose an old picture frame by making it into a serving tray. I’ve been looking for a serving tray since mine (from a road-side giveway) had broken. It was beautifully painted and made of real wood, so in order to replace it I wanted something just as unique and full of character. The picture frame idea seemed like a good one, and it was in the end.  Picking the frame was really just the hardest part for me. I didn’t want to do any painting of frames and I didn’t want to pay more than a few dollars on a frame. I was also a bit reluctant about using real glass- we’re a bit clumsy around here…sometimes.

I looked around at stores like Marshalls, Home Goods and even some thrift shops, but I didn’t see anything within my price range that I could envision myself carrying a couple of glasses of tea and a bowl of snacks on. Some were too big; others had pretty frames but they were too wide for this purpose. Eventually I just gave up and decided I needed to pull out some things from under my bed– all of those old frames that I have no space or matching decor to deal with in my current home.  Luckily, I found a white frame with a sort of plexi-glass to cover the ‘picture’, or in this case, the embroidered cloth I would use to decorate the tray.  I just knew this was a perfect project for a spring decor serving tray and now I absolutely love it.

Here’s how you can do something quite similar and what you’ll need to get started:

Homemade Serving Tray


one picture frame the size of a serving tray you’d like to use (this should include the glass or plexi-glass covering).  If you go with a large frame, just be sure you’ll be able to carry it.

a pretty cotton cloth or a picture to go under the glass

Building Instructions

If you’re using a cotton or textured fabric, measure it out to fit the inside of the frame.

Fold it according to the fitting size and iron it with some spray starch to ensure a fold that will hold.

Fit it into the frame and place the frame’s backing on top of the cloth. Fix any of the nails or clips to hold the backing down. Flip over and check to make sure the cloth fits properly and looks the way you want.  Make adjustments, if necessary.

That’s really all you need to have a really inexpensive yet beautiful and useful serving piece for your home. It’s also a great project for a rainy day or something quick and safe to do with the kids.

MHK Eco-Friendly Cloth Dinner Napkins would look great on a re-purposed serving tray…


What would your serving tray look like if you made one yourself? Share your ideas here in the comments section. I love to hear from you!


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Eco-Friendly Cloth Dinner Napkins

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  1. Ultra cute and wonderful idea masha’Allah. I haven’t made this before and ever even thought to make my own serving tray. My mind is running wild with design possibilities. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. It looks so nice! My mom must have such embroidered clothes somewhere, this would be a great way use them 🙂

  3. Mashallah, very pretty. I love when we can reuse something we already have to become something pretty and useful.

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