DIY wood tray (& overcoming tool fears)

Hello all! First off, I hope everyone on the east coast is staying safe and dry today!! We are praying that everyone comes out unscathed and the weather isn’t as bad as they are expecting!

Well I’ve been working my booty off this weekend peeps! I have worked SO hard on finishing off the bookcases – my body is screaming at me but I am so stinkin’ excited. I WILL show you this week, even if it kills me. OK, that’s extreme. Even if it makes me really tired. ;)

Just a couple more things to finish up, and then to decorate the things. I’ve had stuff on them for weeks now, but not really how I want them to stay. Sooo…the reveal will come this week, but it may be a couple more days.

Anyway, I continued the DIY from the weekend and finished up a project this morning that I started a couple weeks ago. After I painted the coffee table to a pretty white color, I knew I wanted to add a little somethin’ to it – a wood tray for the top. Now I’m not really a decorate the coffee table kind of girl – I try and then inevitably the surface ends up covered with mail and paper and Legos.

But I thought adding a tray would be a nice in between – it would keep the Legos corralled and would be pretty at the same time. I shopped around a bit for a tray the right size, and found one for $20 at Target – it was the perfect size, but I didn’t care for the design and I really didn’t want to spend $20 when I figured I could make one myself.

See, I had all the wood I needed in the garage. Thing is…I had to overcome one of my tool fears to make this happen. I would have to learn how to use the circular saw.

Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn.

I’ve never used one because, well, they scare me. :) But when I thought about it, I realized it was silly when I was thisclose to a pretty (free!) tray – I knew I needed to overcome my fears.

So I took a trip out to my awesome True Value and took a look at their power tool selection:

I was a little overwhelmed but quickly knocked out the bigger options – I wanted my saw to be as small as possible because for me small = manageable. And then when I saw there were cordless options I was sold! That is because one of the biggest fears I have about circular saws is accidentally cutting the cord and electrocuting myself. For real.

So I landed on this one:

master mechanic saw

Master Mechanic is the True Value brand (which I didn’t realize till they told me that day) and I have been really pleased with this brand so far – the drill I bought last year was the same and I LOVE it.

I can’t remember the cost, but it was way less than I thought I was going to pay – I think it was $60. The blade is pretty small, but plenty big to handle the items I’ll be cutting. And my favorite part of course is that there’s no cord – it’s battery operated:

master mechanic cordless circular saw

So I charged it up, set my wood up on saw horses, and had hubby hold the end of the wood as I cut it.

Umm…I’m hooked. It was FUN. Fun in the I’m a DIY kind of girl and love power tools kind of way. If you’re not like me it may not be as exhilarating. ;)

DIY wood tray

I didn’t take pictures of this part just because our hands were full and I wanted to focus on using the tool. I will say it was SO much simpler than I thought it would be. And the safety features made me feel much calmer about using it.

You can see above that I went ahead and put a couple of coats of dark walnut stain on it before I moved on.

Making the tray was so simple – just the bottom piece, and then the edges (again scrap wood I had):

DIY wood tray

If you aren’t great with mitered corners (where they meet up at an angle like that) you could just butt them up to each other – when it’s done you would hardly notice.

I fit them all together first to make sure the worked before I nailed them into the square base. Oh, and I stained the insides of them as well:

DIY wood tray

I wanted to stain all the inside parts first so the stain wouldn’t gum up in the corners. I can’t remember why I didn’t just go ahead and stain the whole thing before I put it all together, but I’m sure I had a good reason. Whatever. ;)

There were just a few more parts to stain:

DIY wood tray   DIY wood tray

I picked up these felt jobbies while at TV to add to the bottom:

I use these things on everything! This keeps the wood from scratching up surfaces underneath.

The tray sat mostly done for a couple weeks till I finished it up this morning. I knew I wanted to add handles, and originally planned on installing regular cabinet hardware to the sides. Then I thought it may be cool to use some thick rope instead, but it was so thick I couldn’t tie a knot in it to secure it.

So I came up with another idea this weekend and I LOVE how it turned out! I grabbed one of my old belts (I haven’t worn a belt in years!) and cut two strips out of it. I used my cabinet hardware tool to determine where the holes needed to go:

installing hardware

Then just drilled through the belt and the wood for the screw:

I wanted to use something a little prettier than a screw, but couldn’t find anything in my stash that would work. I just used some flat end screws I had (they don’t have the pointy ends):

decorating the coffee table

I was going to cover the screw heads or at least put some Rub n Buff on them, but I really don’t mind them at all, at least so far. I kinda dig the look.

One of the reasons I love this coffee table so much is the drawers that hold all of our remotes and pens and coasters. Since that stuff doesn't normally stay out I was able to pretty the tray up a bit:

decorating the coffee table

I just put some of my magazines and catalogs in there with a few other pretties.

The “handles” work awesome – and they’ll stretch out more as we use them. I love how the combo of the leather with the dark wood against the light table:

DIY wood tray leather handles

And honestly? I think I may try keeping this stuff in there – it may prevent us from using it as a dumping zone. A girl can hope. :) And with the added handles, it’s easy to just take it off for Lego play.

I love how it came together and love even more than it didn’t cost me a dime! It’s exactly what I wanted for the table and this space:

DIY wood tray leather handles So do you decorate your coffee table? Or does it stay cleared off just so you can fill it with clutter like me? It sure is nice to have this surface pretty and organized – we’ll just see if it stays that way. I’ll let you know. ;)


I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.