Stylish Coffee Cup Trays




About: So many things to learn and make, so little time! I like things that are cool, useful, efficient, well crafted.

Make some small stylish trays, to serve coffee (or tee).

I use Plexiglas (remaining from a former project). You could use real glass too, but it would require more skills and tools. Plexiglas is very easy to cut, but will get scratches, eventually.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Needed Stuff

  • 2 mm thick Plexiglas (acrylic glass)
  • Hard wood strips (I used beech) of rectangular profiles
  • Hard wood strip of round profile
  • Cutting mat, metal ruler, cutter
  • Wood, paper, and epoxy glues
  • Wood primer
  • Masking tape
  • Clamps (optional)
  • Jigsaw
  • Sanding machine (or just sand paper)
  • Drill (at best: drill press)

Step 2: Sketch Some Designs

Step 3: Make the Long Sides

  1. Cut the paper sides,
  2. glue them on the wood,
  3. saw them carefully,
  4. drill (beware: not through) [*]
  5. with a short piece of rounded profile, put the sides together (without gluing them),
  6. sand them for perfect alignment,
  7. soak them very shortly in water, to remove the paper.
[*] precision is important here: it will insure that the Plexiglas will fit well and not slide away.

Step 4: Make the Board

With the cutter, strongly mark (two firm passes should suffice) the Plexiglas on both sides.

Hold the Plexiglas between two boards (or in a large vise) and snap it firmly, to break it along the mark.

Repeat to obtain desired size.

Sand the edges. Check that long edges are very parallel.

Check size against wooden sides.

Step 5: Assemble

Cut rounded some rounded profile to length (board width plus some extra millimeters).

Glue them to the sides (dip the ends into some wood glue).

Let the glue dry.

Step 6: Make the Short Sides

Cut the short sides to length. They must be approx 0.1 mm longer than the Plexiglas width, so that the Plexiglas can slightly slide.

Glue them with epoxy, use masking tape to keep the right position.

Let the epoxy cure.

Advice: from now on, always remember which Plexiglas board belongs to which frame.

Step 7: Sand

Remove the Plexiglas.

Sand the wooden frame (optionally, with a power sander).

Step 8: Prime Time

Apply wood primer, and let dry.

Slightly sand to get a smooth surface again.

Step 9: Clean and Place the Board

Remove the protective sheet of the Plexiglas boards.

Clean the Plexiglas with water.

Place each Plexiglas into the frame it belongs to.

Step 10: Finished Products

Enjoy your trays.

Serve coffee, espresso or tee.

In addition to the cup, there is room for a spoon, a sieve, a biscuit or praline or sugar cube, etc.

To clean the trays, use a damp cloth.

Update: My Mom got three trays for Christmas, and had the idea of using two of them upside-down.

Holiday Gifts Contest

Runner Up in the
Holiday Gifts Contest

Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Book Character Costume Challenge

      Book Character Costume Challenge
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge

    19 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very elegant design. If you don't mind me asking, what are those round brown things next to the coffee cup in the first picture; perhaps cookies of some sort?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice!
    Just one question about step 4. Did you cut the plexiglass with a Stanley knife and then broke the rest?
    How deep did you have to cut?

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yes exactly. Somehow the text of step 4 got lost, but thanks to the history feature I could restore it.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The cut is here to just mark where the plexi should break.

    I just measured... Approx 0.2 mm deep, on each side; it's OK for a 2.4 mm thick plexi.


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Thanks for the pdf. I have students that will want to build a few of these in shop class. These will make great gifts.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 2

    You're welcome.

    I'm, glad to hear it's being inspirational. Don't hesitate to make your own designs (so you'd need the ODG format). Keep in mind that my attached docs are in metric units (A4 sheet, grid in cm).

    Please post some results!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    very nice! though when i saw the thumbnail i thought it had a mini zen garden under the plexiglas. still a great gift idea.

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    These are beautiful... Great pictures too... Well done and awesome I'ble!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    It's a piece of ART .... real beauty ... thank you for sharing!