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Making a Wood Tray with Cricut for the Holidays

How to Make a Simple Wood Tray with Cricut

This charming project is super inexpensive to make and it looks great. Two things I always appreciate. It also makes a GREAT base to decorate with your Cricut. And it’s a beginner woodworking project. For this project, you’ll see step-by-step how to make a tray for holiday entertaining or a gift. It has a fun Mid-Century Modern look with the pink that’s super trendy for Christmas. You can find the two free SVG downloads, the Making Spirits Bright, and the martini glass in my Free Library. SO are you ready to make your own simple wood tray with Cricut? Let’s put on our Santa Workshop hats and do it!

Need An Inexpensive But Super Trendy DIY Gift? Make This Simple Wood Tray with Cricut

Although these wood trays look expensive, they’re actually pretty cheap to make. Even if you don’t go with simple pine for your base, or scrap wood and purchase the more decorative reclaimed wood from your home improvement store you can still make this for under $15. I used old fence posts.

And I recommend you make several at once. You’ll be glad you did!

Rather Buy than Build?

This tray is also a beginner woodworking project, but if you don’t have the tools you can buy a pre-made tray from your craft store, or a discount home decor store like Home Goods and paint it.

Welcome to Merry Maker-Mas Day Eleven!

This project is the Merry Maker-mas Featured Holiday Project for Day Eleven of the 25-day Giveaway Event. You can win a Cricut Maker, a Silhouette Portrait, or other prizes as well. And you can enter daily to improve your chances!

Click Here for More Merry Maker-mas Projects and to Enter the Giveaway!

How to Make a Wood Serving Tray with Cricut

Tools and Materials

To Build the Wood Tray:

  • Wood Boards- You can use regular pine or reclaimed wood boards. You can find the wood at home improvement stores, the Habitat ReStore, or even your backyard. I reused our old fence boards for the charcuterie tray.
  • Saw- You can use a handsaw or power saw. Or sometimes Lowe’s or HD will cut the boards for you)
  • Drill (w/ drill bit)- I love my Bosch Drill but had this Black and Decker Drill for ages and it worked great too!
  • Screws- I used wood screws that were long enough to go through my cross piece and go into the planks. The size of screw sort of depends on the depth of your wood.
  • Chalk Paint or Stain- Rustoleum has a pretty great chalk paint, but you can also find it at your local craft store in smaller sizes now too! I also used some for the decorative painting that was from Michael’s (below).
  • Paint Brush or Rag for Stain Application
  • Sandpaper
  • Power Sander (optional)- You can just use a sanding block but it’s way more satisfying to use that power sander! [Insert Tim Allen’s hohoho from Home Improvement.]
  • 2 Drawer Handles- I picked up a bunch of these off of Amazon, and then grabbed these two from Lowe’s.

To Decorate the Wood Trays:

  • Cricut Cutting Machine– You can use the Cricut Explore Air, Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore 3, Cricut Maker 3, or the Cricut Joy for this project.
  • Vinyl- Since we’re using this as a stencil you don’t need to choose a color. Just use whatever you have available.
  • Transfer Tape (or you can sub masking tape in a pinch)
  • Old Credit Card or Scraper
  • Chalk Paint- For the decorative painting I used Folk Art’s Chalk Paint from Michael’s but you can use craft paint too!
  • Foam Brush– To apply chalk paint
  • Wax for Chalk PaintThis both seals and applies a finished look that really makes your tray look great.
  • Detail Brush(Optional)- If you add the extra hand painting like I did with the Making Spirits Bright Tray you’ll want a smaller brush.
  • Lint Free Cloth– To apply wax and buff surface

These are affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase through them, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!


Step One: Cut the Wood to Length

Cut 2 pieces of the reclaimed wood about 25″ long and 2 pieces of scrap pine for the cross supports that are the width of two of your boards together. My planks are 5 1/2″ wide ea. so 11″ total. So I made my cross pieces about 9 3/4″.

You can use a power mitre saw like the one I show below, or you can just use a hand saw with a mitre box instead.

No saw? If you’re really super nice, and they aren’t busy, often employees at your home improvement store or lumber yard will make the cuts for you.

Cut the wood for your trays to length

Step Two: Pre-Drill Holes for the Screws

Using the drill and a drill bit, pre-drill holes into the wood where you plan to screw the boards together. I use to try and skip this step, but when you pre-drill the screw holes you’re much more likely to get a smooth joining of the two pieces. So it’s important for a high-quality finished piece.

Step Three: Screw Together the Wood to Make a Tray

Use the drill (with a driver bit) to screw together your wood pieces to form a tray. I like to put a couple into each plank.

Screw together the cross piece and your wood planks to make a wood tray

Step Five: Sand the Wood

Use a sander to knock down any rough edges from the cut. Just kind of round them to give them a bit of a worn look, and if your wood is reclaimed, you’ll want to give it a sand along the top as well.

For the drinks tray I rounded quite a bit on the ends, but on the coffee tray my dad kept the edges pretty straight. It’s a design choice how much you sand, but you do want to make sure the wood is smooth enough that you won’t get splinters when you handle it.

Step Five: Paint Wood (optional) and Sand it Back

For the longer charcuterie tray, I used cream Rustoleum Chalk Paint.

Once the paint has dried, to keep with the rustic vibe, but create a smooth surface, use the sander on the top and edges.

Step Six: Add the Handles

Measure to find the center of your board and then center your handle on top of that.

measure to find center for handles

Check the length of your screws. My handles came with two lengths, so I checked to see which length worked best.

Check the length of your screws

Use a ruler to double check that each end is an equal distance from the sides. Then, use a pencil to mark where to make the holes. I drill the holes from the front., but flipped it over so you could see the holes a little better.

Use a pencil to mark your drill holes.

Step Seven: Download the Free SVG design from Well Crafted Studio and Upload into Cricut Design Space

In my Free Library, once you enter the password you’ll find these designs under SVG’s and they’ll have a little Christmas tree next to them. 🎄 Download the designs and then Upload them into Cricut Design Space as Cut files.

To Upload- Open Cricut Design Space and choose New Project. Then on your canvas click the Upload icon at bottom of the left-side toolbar. This opens up the Image Gallery where you choose Upload Image.

Click Browse when prompted and click on the downloaded files. Select Upload and process as a Cut file. Repeat for second SVG. Then, click on both images and in the lower right of the Gallery choose Add to Canvas.

Step Eight: Size the Design to Fit Your Tray and Attach

Measure your tray to find the size you want to make your design. Then, in the top toolbar change the size of your design to match the tray. Make sure you include the martini glass in your overall size, if you want to add that element.

I sized all the layers of Making Spirits Bright to a width of 6″ and then Attached the 3 word layers. I have these layers import in as separate layers so you can move them around to fit the size of your tray.

Attach is at the lower left side of your screen at the bottom of your Layers panel. This is different then group in that it brings everything to the cutting mat together. (Otherwise, Cricut tries to place things to make the best use of the space on your mat.)

Click the Select All in the top toolbar and make sure your overall width fits your tray. Then Attach everything.

Step Nine: Prep Your Mat and Make it!

Save your project, and then hit make it in the top left corner of your canvas. This takes you to a Mat Preview Page, and if everything looks good you can press continue.

Cricut will give you a warning that you need to use a longer mat. This is the 12″ x 24″ cutting mat. You can use the green Standard Cutting Mat or a Light Blue Cutting Mat for this.

Using a Larger Mat in Cricut Design Space to Make Wood Trays

Don’t Have a Longer Mat? You can tape two shorter cutting mats together.

Follow the prompts to select your material (Premium Vinyl) and then follow the onscreen prompts to load your mat and press Go. If you’re using a larger mat be sure to give yourself enough clearance on both sides of your machine.

Cutting Your Vinyl Stencil

Step Ten: Weed the Stencil and Apply Transfer Tape

Weeding means you remove the parts of the vinyl you don’t want to keep. For our purposes, you want to remove everything but the design. So all the negative space. I also trim the extra space around the design.

Weeding the vinyl means removing the extra vinyl you don't want from your cut design.

Then, cut a piece of transfer tape the size of your design and apply on top of your vinyl design.

Note: Transfer tape can be clear plastic like the Cricut brand, or you can use a masking tape version, you can even use the tape that comes on lint rollers! But it can’t be SUPER sticky for vinyl, because we want to hold our vinyl design in place just enough to transfer it.

Next, use an old credit card or a scraper to firmly adhere the transfer tape to the vinyl.

Use a scraper to rub the transfer tape so that the vinyl transfers to your surface.

Step Eleven: Apply Vinyl to the Tray

Using a ruler, decide where you want to place the stencil. I had to move mine down just a bit from center so that the cross stroke in my “t” didn’t fall into the crack between the boards.

Use masking tape to fix in place at the top. Then pull back the backing paper to remove it, pressing down as you go so it goes down flat.

Then, using the scraper or a an old credit card, press down on the vinyl so it transfers to the tray.

Peel back the transfer tape, making sure that it releases the vinyl as you pull. This can be a slow process and I found it helps a ton if you pull at a diagonal.

Peel Back the Transfer Tape

Step Twelve: Chalk Paint Tray and Remove Vinyl

Really press down on the vinyl to make sure that it is firmly adhering. And then brush over the top of it with the foam brush and pink chalk paint. You want to really swipe across the top so that the paint is less likely to seep underneath your vinyl lettering.

Swipe Chalk Paint Across the Top of Your Vinyl Lettering

Step Thirteen: Do Decorative Painting and Add Touch-Ups

I used Unicorn Gel Paint for the blue and another white chalk paint to add some highlights to the martini glass. But you can use regular craft paint too.

And you can kind of see in the photo that all I really did was make some simple star like accents and some dabs of paint to kind of look like circles. You can totally do this, or skip it too.

I also went in with my fine tip brush and did some touch-ups in the lettering where the paint had seeped under the vinyl. This totally happens, but with a little touch- up you’d never be able to tell!

Step Fourteen: Apply Wax to the Tray (Optional)

This is a great finishing step if you’ve used chalk paint. It basically soaks into the paint and both seals and hardens it. I really love how professional this makes my projects look!

To apply the wax use a lint-free cloth rag and rub it on sparingly. Once it’s dried a little, use another cloth and rub it to create a slight luster. You can read more about how to apply wax here.

Apply Wax to the Finished Sign with a Lint Free Cloth

And You’re Done- You’ve Made a Simple Wood Tray with Cricut!

Either one of these simple trays will make an AMAZING Christmas gift. And if you really wanted to you could package them with a drinks mix, or personalized glassed, or with a coffee mug and some Christmas Morning Roast from your favorite coffee place. Fun!

Make this Super Fun and Festive Tray for Holiday Entertaining!

For More Christmas Inspiration…

Be sure to check out the other Merry Maker-mas holiday projects! There are a ton of fun but simple projects that you’ll love making. You can also enter to win a Cricut Maker or Silhouette Portrait!

Love This? Share it!

If you found this tutorial helpful and fun, please leave a comment, share the post, or tag your finished project on IG with #wellcraftedstudio. Thank you!

Thanks for Reading,

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