Learn how to create a charming acorns-themed DIY fall wooden tray for serving nuts! Makes a perfect fall centerpiece that’s handy too!
Anyone else love eating nuts as much as I do?
I personally adore eating nuts year around. In fact, I always carry a bag of mixed nuts in my bike baskets when trail riding too… you know… for those moments I could really have had dinner prior, but chose to chase the sunset through a forest trail instead. Priorities you know…
So when I was mulling over what to have around for fall decorating this year, I’ve yet to ever come up with a fresh nuts project. There’s chestnuts for Christmas of course, however acorns really struck a fall decorating chord…
I always have nut bowls in the living room or on the kitchen island. But it sure would be nice if my snacks were in one spot to provide easier handling around from room to room!
Hmmm… how about a wooden serving tray with an Acorn theme to cart some nut bowls around on?
Now that would be not only fun to make, it would be highly productive too! And would double as a pretty fall table or Thanksgiving tabletop centerpiece, or simply place on a coffee table to snack from!
So… let’s build an Acorns DIY wood tray for serving nuts for those of us who have a passion for eating fresh nuts… in fine fall-style this round!
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DIY fall wooden tray for serving nuts
Tools and supplies needed
Stencil brushes (I love using dome-tipped)
Fusion Mineral Paint in colors of choice
Locate a local Fusion merchant HERE
Cordless Drill (my fav is Makita!)
Orbital sander (I love my Bosch variable speed)
Kreg Jig (optional)
Fresh eating nuts of choice with nut crackers
Where to find a fall Acorns stencil
Since I didn’t have a nut-themed stencil as yet, this would be first! So an Acorns fall stencil was designed to help create some fabulous fall decorating ideas!
The Acorns stencil is sized perfectly for crates, placemats, throw pillows, and in my case, a small serving tray.
So… let’s add a little simple woodworking to build this Acorns DIY wood tray.
Preparing the wood for the tray
1. Cut two long boards to the desired size of your DIY wood tray.
2. Prepare two smaller boards the depth of your boards.
These support boards can either be thick and durable enough to support the tray or for thinner boards for decorative purposes which is the way I am using them today since I am assembling this tray with a Kreg Jig pocket hole maker.
Assembling the wooden tray
You can bypass using a Kreg Jig by screwing the two side wood supports to the main long tray boards instead. However here is how to assemble the tray using pocket holes.
3. Place one of the long boards into a Kreg Jig with the back facing you. Drill at least 3 pocket holes.
4. Flip the boards good-side-down, then attach the boards with screws through the pocket holes.
Kreg Jig Video
Click above to watch a short video on how to use a Kreg Jig (mine is a 4K) or read the full post HERE.
Adding tray sideboards
Whether you are adding side boards for support or decorative purposes, the steps are the same.
5. Position the side boards where desired on the good side of the tray.
6. Hold in place as you flip the tray good-side-down.
7. Assemble with screws from the bottom of the tray.
I used one of the side boards on the bottom of the tray as a spacer to help guild how far to drill from the tray edge.
Stenciling acorn accents on the tray
8. Position the stencil and the nut bowls where desired.
I decided to stencil the Acorns design off-centre so the nut bowls wouldn’t cover the cute graphics!
Fun fact: The Carter Products vintage crate inspired this Acorns design! Even though they look nothing alike except for the oval in the centre. You never know where inspiration will hit.
Paint colors used:
9. Stencil the Acorns graphic in colors desired.
I decided to mimic the black lettering on the crate, then make the acorns graphic in fall stenciled in fall colors to add a visual punch.
Lettering: Fusion Mineral Paint’s Coal Black
Leaf: Fusion’s Park Bench mixed with Coal Black
Acorns: a mix of Fusion’s Coal Black, Fusion’s Algonquin and orange acrylic craft paint.
How to stencil to achieve sharp images with no paint bleed
Stenciling is actually very easy. However, to ensure your images are as sharp as they can be, the key is ensuring your stencil brush feels dry to avoid paint bleed.
- position stencil in place with masking tape
- load a dome-tipped stencil brush with paint, then off-load most onto a rag
- tap or swirl paint through the stencil to achieve the desired effect
Learn more about how to stencil from THIS post.
How to add shading details to the acorns
How adorable is that?!
For the acorns, I kind of bounced around with adding visual texture and shades by going over the stencil a few times until I got the look I was after.
- Decide where the light is coming from
- Add darker tones to the underside of the acorns
- Stencil lighter tones where your chosen light source is coming from
I think the stenciling turned out so cute! With a strong vintage crate-vibe I think!
Adding distressing and protective details – optional
At this point, you could further distress the fall graphics by lightly sanding and protect the wood with a sealer or wood stain of sorts. However for my own use, I have chosen to leave the wood unfinished.
Should the Acorns DIY wood tray be used for beverages, using coasters or protecting the wood tray with Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil in Natural would be my own preferences.
Adding nut bowls
10. Gather up some rustic nut bowls and fill them up with your favorite nuts!
My own rustic nut bowls are holding a mix of nuts – salted peanuts and salt and peppered pistachios, however they will be frequently changed out no doubt.
I’m on the lookout for some fresh hazelnuts from a farm nearby next!
Fall accent ideas to add to the tray
Staging the Acorns DIY wood tray is the fun part! After positioning the nut bowls, simply add whatever fall inspiration you desire to finish the tray off as if it were a beautiful centerpiece for a dining room table or otherwise.
Here are some ideas:
- dried fall leaves or greenery
- rustic bark covered candle / pillar candle / small rustic lanterns / fairy lights
- a vase to hold fall tones of fresh flowers
- moss, berries, gourds, mini pumpkins or pinecones
- acorns to one bowl for decorative purposes
- dried hydrangea blooms
- a faux squirrel would be adorable
- add cookies or candy
- don’t forget the nut crackers!
The finished wooden tray for nuts
Wood serving trays offer all the fall vibes. However this Acorns theme really kicks it up a notch, don’t you think?
I just ADORE it. Love the pop of color as well as the neutrals. It’s rustic, warm, inviting, and of course, holds my favorite healthy snack in full-out fall-style.
Nut tray video how-to
Click above to watch a short video of the making of this tray!
This was such an easy tray to create. Thanks to that epic little Acorns stencil!
I sure could use a fall pillow that looks like this… perhaps that will be on my fall decorating list next!
Oops… nearly forgot my beloved coffee. You can bet this is how I’ll likely use this Acorns DIY wooden tray the very most! And I may even share it with guests…
Fun piece isn’t it? How do you serve nuts during fall? Think you’ll try this serving tray idea?
Find the Acorns stencil HERE
And many other fall stencil designs HERE
Other unique wooden trays to make:
Garden Cafe tray with plant label handles
Tic Tac Toe game tray with game piece coasters
Stencil TV TRAYS IN UNIQUE WAYS
Visit MANY other UNIQUE SERVING TRAYS HERE
Check out other RUSTIC FALL DECORATING PROJECTS HERE
2 thoughts on “DIY fall wooden tray for serving nuts”
Your stenciled nut tray is so fun! The size is perfect and so versatile. You’re making me want to get out my stencils and start creating!
I always enjoy your rustic wood trays, Donna, and this one is no exception. Love it!