Wood outdoor tray with garden label handles
As I glanced around my very white (winter looking) living room, I felt a pull for spring decorating. Something… fresh! Green! Like I actually had live plants in the room even though I don’t.
It was time to think spring!
And that’s when my eyes glanced towards my rustic little coffee table with a rough plywood top I never did dress up. Hmm…. what about if I made a cute tray to cover it?
Maybe a green tray with a plant-vibe?
Then my head went CLICK! I could see it completely finished… but first I needed to crank out some new garden-themed stencils first of course! It’s more fun to make new toys with other new toys, yes?!
BIG YES. And so I did.
The result? 8 new stencils PLUS the cutest spring garden-themed tray in the land! Here’s what I did:
About the stencils
This CAFE stencil has a retro diner vibe, don’t you think? This food-themed design also offers an all knowing nod towards all our recent dining at home adventures of late!
The Garden Tools stencil offers a fun way to organize your garden tools in style! New to the graphics arsenal is a cute new wheelbarrow. With New & Used subtext for those who adore ‘the thrill of the hunt.’
The Flower Graphics stencil offers a delightful smattering of all things floral to help enhance any garden-themed project. It’s geared to be a handy little addition to mix & match with all the new stencils that just came into play.
Visit all the NEW STENCILS HERE
So let’s combine a few of these stencils to make one pretty cute spring-infused wood outdoor tray with garden label handles!
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Wood outdoor tray with garden label handles
Supplies I used:
3 reclaimed wood planks – mine measured: 5″ x 27.5″ @ (tray size: 15.75 x 27.5″)
2 cedar strips – I used 1.5.25″ x 13″ long
1 wooden closet dowel (to fit under stake handles)
1. Cut planks to the desired size of tray you desire.
Planks I used: 5″ x 27.5″ @
Finished tray size: 15.75 x 27.5″
Each board was cut to size, then lightly sanded with a Bosch variable speed palm sander.
Why I used milk paint
2. Paint boards in desired colour.
I painted these boards with Milk Paint by Fusion in Vintage Laurel. It’s a gorgeous, fresh shade of green! (It’s a grass green, not aqua like in these pictures!)
Did you know milk paint soaks into raw wood, making it the most awesome paint to use for reclaimed wood ever?! Here’s a little more about this NEW paint!
Milk Paint by Fusion comes in powder form, mixes with water and cures in 30 minutes! It’s very user-friendly, non toxic, and is the very best paint to use on raw wood as it soaks in vs. sits on top.
It also never peels, fades nor do you ever get brush strokes because there’s no resin in the paint. Pretty cool huh?
New to milk paint? Consider a milk paint starter kit HERE!
How to paint with milk paint:
- Mix 1 part water to 1 part powder
- Whisk together and allow to sit for a few moments.
- Stir right before painting, then paint boards.
- Sand in between coats.
- Add a top coat of choice. I like hemp oil.
Wish to learn more about this milk paint? Read All About Milk Paint in THIS POST which explains what it is, where it works best, prep, mixing, painting, top coating and what to make! You’ll be seeing a lot more of it here!
3. Distress board edges with a palm sander if desired.
I hit just all 4 edges of all the boards with a Bosch variable speed palm sander (my fav!!!) to achieve more of a weathered appearance.
The rest of the board areas got hand-sanded with a high grit sandpaper sponge to smooth them out.
How to wet sand with hemp oil
4. Wet sand with hemp oil.
Have you tried this yet? Oh, you must! It makes milk paint buttery smooth!
- Pour hemp oil onto your project.
- With high grit sandpaper, sand right through the wet hemp oil until smooth.
- Remove residue with a soft cloth.
- Add additional hemp oil for the final top coat, removing the excess with a cloth.
Now that the boards are fully prepped, let’s build that tray!
Assembling the tray
5. Attach the planks together.
Here’s a couple ways:
a) Attach 2 cedar strips underneath the boards with screws. It works, although your tray won’t sit flat on your surface.
Here’s what I did instead this round.
Get my Kreg Jig 4K HERE
How to use a Kreg Jig
b) Join the boards together using a Kreg Jig.
A Kreg Jig is a tool that creates pocket holes along the sides of planks, making it easy to join them together with screws.
The basics of how a Kreg Jig works:
- Clamp a board into a Kreg Jig wrong side towards you (4K model like mine)
- Drill 3 or more pocket holes along one side.
- Drill all the boards like this except the last.
- Slide them together, then attach with screws through the pocket holes.
Kreg Jig Video:
Click above to watch a short video on how a jig works! I highly recommend adding one to your tool arsenal. I use mine with nearly every project now.
Now that the tray is complete, let’s whip up some unique tray handles!
Making garden label tray handles
Main supplies I used:
cedar strips 1.5″ deep x you cut to suit
About the Herbs stencil:
Garden Labels – Herbs is a full stencil sheet of the most popular herbs! Featured are lots of peek-holes through the stencil so the words are easy to position onto small stakes.
Also included is a row of borders along with some mini leaves to decorate the garden stakes. Fun, right?!
There’s also a Vegetables option.
Painting & stenciling the garden label stakes
1. Cut 1.5″ cedar strips to the desired length, using a miter saw to cut 1 picket tip with two 45 degree angles.
2. Lightly sand all surfaces and edges.
5. Add some borders or leaves to decorate the stakes if desired!
I added the string border in black. Hold the stencil in place on the narrow edges if you go around the corners like I did. Cute, right?!
Parsley and Basil were chosen because they sounded like good things to add to a garden cafe soup! LOL
Attaching the garden label handles
6. Cut some wooden closet dowels down to about 2 inches long. Sand the edges.
These will become your tray handle risers.
7. Dry-fit the stakes on top of the risers, then pre-drill holes through the tops of the stakes. Screw the plank to the riser from the top.
Pre-drilling helps prevent the wood from splitting when they are screwed together.
8. Position handles where desired, then stick masking tape on tray narrow SIDES and mark off where the middle of the dowels sit.
Make sure you can see the marks on the SIDES of the tray for when you flip it over.
9. Flip over the tray, then going off your side mark, measure how far in you want the handles to sit, then drill holes in those spots.
Mine were placed 3″ from the sides.
10. Slip the handles underneath the tray, position, then attach the handles to the tray from the bottom with screws.
Pretty nifty, huh? It worked!
The finished tray!
Then stencil in your ‘Garden Cafe’ design in Coal Black and Raw Silk and call it done!
I mixed & matched several stencils to get this look as I desired my Cafe to be garden-themed.
Gotta love those garden label handles though… something quirky and different! And way cheaper to make than purchasing door pulls!
And all that’s left to do is go eat outdoors with my new spring-infused wood outdoor tray! All dressed up for spring in the prettiest of colours and finish!
The hardest decision will be whether to use this as a tray or a sign…
It sure is nice to have choices, right?
What do you think of this cutie-pie tray design? What will you be putting out for spring decorating yourself?
New to milk paint? Start with THIS STARTER KIT!
Other tray projects you may enjoy:
How to add a Buffalo Checked table runner effect to a tray
Visit all tray projects HERE