Introduction: Basic Wood Pallet Tray

About: We're Mother Daughter Projects, sharing our DIY adventures as we learn to maintain, improve, decorate, and use tech in our homes.

We created two basic trays for a live presentation about power tools that we did locally. Here we are going to share how to make a basic tray out or pallet wood and one from store bought wood.

Step 1: Watch the Videos

Want to learn how to take apart a pallet quickly? Click here.

Step 2: Gather Materials

Pallet Tray Materials:

  • Pallet slats (we used a motorcycle pallet we found at a mechanic's shop)
  • (2) Handles (Home Depot)
  • Speed Square (Amazon)
  • Rubber feet (Amazon)
  • Orbital sander
  • Wood glue (Amazon)
  • Brad nailer (Ryobi)
  • Drill/Driver (Ryobi)Nail set (Amazon)

Wood Tray Materials:

  • 1x3 piece of lumber
  • Two cabinet handles and screws
  • Ryobi AirStrike nail gun
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Ryobi Drill Driver and bits
  • Wood Glue
  • Kreg Cabinet Hardware jig (Amazon)
  • Forstner bits
  • Distressing Tools
  • Speed Square
  • Tack Cloth
  • Finishing supplies--we used black tea, Amy Howard's Better with Age, and Rust-Oleum Chalked paint
  • Plastic stick on feet

Step 3: Mark and Cut Wood

We used a tape measure and speed square to mark the cut lines. We cut three boards 20.5" for the base of the tray.

Pallet tray: The three main boards were the size we needed without cutting, but the side pieces needed to be marked and cut. We used a speed square and marker to accurately mark the cut line.

Step 4: Sand and Distress

Sand the pallet boards starting with 60 grit ending with 220 grit. Wipe down with tack cloth.

Nails remaining in the pallet wood can be removed using a nail set. Our boards covered the ends so these did not have to be removed.

To give the new wood a distress look, we used a set of Varathane distressing tools which add a little character. Fire up a little "Beat It" by Michael Jackson and have a little fun! Sand any rough surface at this point.

Step 5: Stain or Paint

We used wood stain to finish the boards. The tray can be finished with paint or left natural.

The stain really brought out the grain of the wood. We also lightly distressed once everything was dry with 220 grit sandpaper.

To age the store bought wood, our finish consisted of three steps starting with wiping on brewed black tea, then wiped on Amy Howards Better with Age distressing product. Then finished with a highly diluted chalked paint which was wiped on and then immediately wiped off. Use plain water to dilute the paint.

Step 6: Attach Wood Sides

Once dry, everything was turned upside down and positioned into place. Wood glue was applied and then nailed into place with the Ryobi AirStrike.

The AirStrike was used from the back to secure the sides to the bottom.

Step 7: Attach Handles

For the pallet, we used handles that screw in from the top.

For the other tray, we used the Kreg Cabinet Hardware jig to make perfectly placed holes for the handles.

We used a Forstner bit so we could countersink the screw head.

We used a Phillips head screwdriver to screw the screws into place.

Step 8: Done!

These trays are so useful. They can be used as breakfast in bed trays, a laptop desk, a fun surface to showcase decor, or even as a chalkboard if you finish it with chalkboard paint and use an easel to prop it up.

For more detail on both projects please visit our website and for updates on all our projects subscribe to our newsletter here.

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017