Versatile DIY Outdoor Entertaining Trays


Welcome back to part two (of three) of this preparing for summer soirees series (how do you like that alliteration?!).  The first part of the series started with the first “C” of the series: cleaning (porches). Now we are on to the second “C” of preparing for outdoor entertaining: creating! This may be my favorite yet!

Whenever we entertain I like to use something that is personal, handmade, or meaningful. I think it makes a thoughtful gathering. Thankfully, you can make something once and use it all summer (or even all year).

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

I am SO excited to share with you today these versatile outdoor entertaining reversible trays. They are easy to make, extremely useful, and are like a chameleon – they can really morph into whatever you need them for at that time.

Here are some ideas on how to use them:

  • Eating trays for when you run out of table space and guests are perched in chairs trying to balance their food and drink.
  • A hors d‘oeurves, dessert, or drink tray that can move from room to room.
  • An afternoon tea and cookie tray for a drop-in from a friend.
  • A children’s chalkboard to stay entertained while those adults talk (and talk and talk and talk).
  • Breakfast (or any other meal) in bed tray.
  • A laptop desk when everyone leaves.

Now that we have a bunch of ways to use them, let’s get to how to make them with these oh-so simple steps!

Materials:

  • A 18x48x1 board
  • Sander
  • Various paints (including chalkboard paint)
  • Stain (optional)
  • Painters tape and brush
  • Clear protective gloss spray
  • 4 inch bolts (4)
  • Corresponding nuts (12)
  • Screw Eyes (8) that bolts can thread through

Directions on How to Make Trays:

1. When picking up your wood, have them cut it down for you in-store. I had them cut two 20 inch pieces to make two trays.

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

2. Sand down the sides, edges, and corners so they are smooth and rounded. Clean boards thoroughly.

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

3. Paint one side of each of the pieces of wood with chalkboard paint. I did three coats.

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

4. When dry, paint the other side of the wood. I used painters tape and paint samples (free! Find those coupons in magazines for free paint samples at Lowe’s!). I did a different pattern on each but kept the same color palette so they looked like a pair.  As a bonus (and to try to help cover any paint drips on the side) I took a dark walnut stain and stained the sides.

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

5. Once dry, use a clear protective gloss spray paint to cover the paint side and stained area. This will protect the tray from spills.

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.comHow to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

Directions on How to Make Handles

You will use the nuts, bolts, and screw eyes for this step. Also, thank you Lansdowne Life for the tutorial for this!

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.comHow to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

  1. To get your handles centered on the side of your tray, find the halfway point and then subtract two inches (if using four inch bolts). Put your first screw eye there.
  2. Then thread the bolt through and start two nuts on the bolt. Use the bolt to measure where the next screw eye should be. There should be space for the bolt to thread through the second screw eye and be secured with a nut.
  3. Screw in the next screw eye and finish with a nut.
  4. Repeat three more times to finish the handles for the tray.

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.comHow to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

Now let’s get to some pretty pictures of them in use, right?!

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

How to make versatile outdoor entertaining trays | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

That wraps up the second part of the series: Create! Tell me, what would you use these trays for?

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  • I love the patterns you created and the way you made the handles with nuts and bolts. These will be fun to use all summer.ReplyCancel

    • Thanks Paula! Those handles are one of my favorite things ever!ReplyCancel

  • Wow girl, they look fabulous! #colormeimpressed Totally pinned it!

    I’d use the trays for cards on the deck or even bring them along with me in the car on long drives!! Maybe even a mini-laptop desk!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you so much Trisha! I love all your ideas for using them. The list can just go on and on, right? I’m definitely stealing the cards and car idea!ReplyCancel

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