How to Build a Tray from Reclaimed Barn Wood

Using reclaimed barn wood, this tray adds both form and function to your living space. Incorporate into your decor to keep magazines organized on your coffee table, or save it for special occasions and use it as a serving tray for cocktails. 



You'll need the following materials for this project: 

2x4 barn wood

¼” plywood

Miter Saw

Table Saw

Air Compressor


Brad/Staple Nail Gun

Brad Nails and Staples

Framing Nail Gun


Wood Glue

Measuring Tape


Standing Paper

Paper Towels

Foam Paint Brush

Tack Cloth

Wood Conditioner



Paper Towels or Lintless rags

Leather belt


barn wood tray materials

First, cut the 2x4 to the size you want your tray to be. We cut two pieces total using the miter saw, one side 12 inches long and the other side of the 14 1/2 inches long. Next using a table saw, cut them in half longways.

cut barn wood pieces to size

Next, glue and nail the corners together using the Framing nailer, making a butt joint. Be sure the fresh cut sides of the wood are face down so that they are not seen once the tray is finished.

glue pieces of barn wood tray together

join edges of barn wood tray with nail gun

Now you'll prep the plywood base of the tray. Using the table saw, cut the plywood down by 1/4 inch on all side of your finished tray. 

Sand the plywood using 200 grit paper and remove the dust with a tack cloth. 

Stain the plywood to match the color of your reclaimed barn wood. Remove excess, and allow to try. First, prep with wood conditioner.

prep plywood with wood conditioner

stain plywood to match barn wood

Be sure to get the sides of the plywood, as they'll be visible when the tray is complete. 

stain edges of plywood

remove excess stain

Turn the tray over so the bottom is facing up. Staple the plywood in place using the staple gun. 

staple plywood to tray frame

Finally, you're ready to attach your handles. Cut an old down to your preferred handle size, keeping in mind that approximately one inch on either end will lay flat against the tray (to accommodate the staple). 

cut leather belt to desired handle length

attach handles with staple gun