Prototyped a Tray

Hadn’t felt creative lately, and it seemed that a lot of what I’m making doesn’t have much practical value. I guess this is an antidote.

I’d been playing with box generators (I especially like, so this was an outgrowth. A low, wide open-topped box starts to look like a tray, so I grafted on some handles in Illustrator and…

Here’s the finished product and some WIP shots. I notice all of the imperfections, but it looks good overall and has some heft.

This is cut from cheap Home Depot ply, nominally 1/4”. The joints aren’t particularly tight, so it’s all bonded with wood glue.

I used an orbital sander to take off the char and de-sharpen the edges, and took a nice gray stain to it, then sealed with an acrylic spray.

I laid in some mesh-matrix glass kitchen tile and grouted. This is pre-polish and seal, so the tiles look dull here.

I made the inside measurements of the tray to fit this plan, and the outside measurements consider the max size of the GF bed. Dimensions are 18.5” x 10” x 1” (about 2” high at the handle tops).

Here’s the cut file if you want it. You may see fit issues if the thickness of your material deviates too much.

18.5x10x1 Fingerjoint Tray.pdf (45.6 KB)


The grouted tile inlay is a nice twist, Good of you to supply the file! :sunglasses:


What sort of polish and seal did you use?

For the tile and grout? The polishing was just buffing with a cloth to remove the grout residue from the glass. The grout is sealed with this:


Seemed good for some style and durability. Next time I’ll probably do a mosaic of my own.

Really cool! Unrelated to OP, I looked at Etsy to see how many people are selling personalized serving trays, and there’s like a dozen sellers with 10K+ sales each all with the same exact photos of the their “custom” serving trays. Probably all one factory in China pumping them out. How is that allowed on Etsy where everything is supposed to be handmade and unique to that seller?? What a scam!


Isn’t it cool that you can size your project to fit the materials precisely? Nice job, and thanks for the file.


Really like the use of tile! I’ve seen tile that I’d love to see … Just not a place maybe in our home. This opened my eyes to some fun uses!

Thank you for sharing your file.


Thank you nice looking piece to share.


Practical and beautiful. Thanks for sharing the file!


Yeah, really like the mosaic in the bottom. Great idea for gifting! :grinning:


Really nice! I’ve been thinking about a mosaic-bottomed tray for a while, but haven’t gotten a design to fall out of my brain yet. :slight_smile:


Totally cheated on the mosaic this time, though - pre-fab backsplash from Home Depot. I had planned to use bigger tiles but got paralyzed by indecision over those.

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Yeah, that happens to me a lot!


I saw a YouTube video explaining that Etsy had changed their policy and was allowing this to happen. A lot of creators are very concerned that Chinese companies will just screen scrape the site and flood it with cheap knock-offs.