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DIY Project: How To Make A Herringbone Serving Tray

[pinit count=”horizontal” url=”” image_url=”” description=”Herringbone serving tray made with iron-on wood veneer edge banding.” ]

You know that I’ve been on a wood veneer kick lately, first with this refinished storage cabinet, and then with this simple wood vase made from a coffee can.  Well, I have yet another wood veneer project for you — a serving tray with a pretty herringbone design and rope handles.

This time I’m using iron-on wood veneer edge banding that you can purchase at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and other home improvement stores.  This edge banding is generally used on the edge of items made out of plywood (e.g., tabletops, shelves, etc.) to make them look like solid wood.  But I had a different idea in my mind.  Here’s how I made this herringbone serving tray…

I started with a scrap piece of 3/4″ plywood, cut to the size I wanted using my circular saw.  (The size is irrelevant.  You can make it any size you want.)

I bought two packages of this edge banding.  I originally had a different design in mind that would have taken much more edge banding, but quickly realized that that idea wouldn’t work…and wasted lots of edge banding in the process.  So I think you would probably only need one package.

I used my paper cutter to cut the edge banding into pieces that are 1 1/2 inches long (double the width of the edge banding).

With all of the pieces cut, I started on the edge and began ironing them on in a herringbone pattern.

With the pattern complete, I used my rotary sander to get a perfectly smooth finish (and that’s when I realized that it had been a waste of time to stain the edge banding before ironing them on).  After sanding, I gave it one more coat of stain, and then trimmed the excess edge banding with my X-acto knife.

Next I used my miter saw to cut pieces of 1″ x 3″ wood to create a frame around the tray bottom.

And then I used wood glue and my brad nailer to attach the frame.  I first attached the pieces to each other, and then nailed the frame to the tray bottom.

Next I used wood filler to fill in any gaps between the frame and the tray bottom, as well as any spaces in the herringbone pattern.

DIY Tip:  If you use wood filler on something that you don’t want to use sandpaper on, you can use a moist cloth or paper towel instead of sandpaper.  It’ll remove the excess wood filler while not damaging the item like sandpaper will.

I then drilled holes in each end for the rope handles.  The package on the rope said that it was 3/4″, but I couldn’t get it to fit through a 3/4″ hole, so I ended up drilling 1/2″ holes for the handles.

Next I taped off the bottom of the tray using painters tape, then I painted the sides black.  When it was dry, I sanded it to give it a worn look, and then gave the entire thing one last coat of stain.

And finally, I attached the rope handles.  When you have to tie knots in rope, always allow yourself way more rope than you would imagine it needs.  That makes it much easier to tie the knots.  After all of the knots were tied, I secured them with hot glue.

And there it is!  Herringbone is one of my favorite patterns.  I’m pretty much a sucker for anything herringbone, and I’d love to have a hardwood floor that looks like this!!

And I really seem to be on a painted/stained kick lately as well.  Anything that has a combo of black or white painted parts along with stained wood is a winner in my book.  And of course, any addition of jute, sisal, or any other natural twine or rope is just icing on the cake.

Just a word of caution…if you make this project, just expect a little pain.  After ironing on all of those edge banding pieces and holding them down with my fingers while the adhesive cooled, my fingers were numb and aching.  Then add to that the two hot glue burns that I got…one of which resulted in a pretty nasty blister on my thumb…and well, let’s just say that this was one of the more painful projects I’ve ever made.  🙂  But I’m sure you’ll be smart enough to wear something to protect your hands, right?  I’m evidently not that smart.  🙂

This project was for my condo breakfast room makeover. Click here to see the whole before and after of the breakfast room makeover.

Or click on the thumbnails below to see other DIY projects that I did for my condo breakfast room makeover.

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  • Reply
    July 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Gosh Kristi, you are so talented. Such a creative way to use the veneer edging. I love the herringbone pattern.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2012 at 9:23 am


  • Reply
    July 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    What a clever idea! I love the woven look.

  • Reply
    amy @
    July 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    That is a beautiful tray! Awesome job!!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage
    July 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Kristi – that’s gorgeous! Herringbone taken to the next level! I have the same paper cutter – and love that it’s iron on (although that would be the only time I’d be willing to use an iron)!
    Pinning this!

  • Reply
    Taryn @ Design, Dining + Diapers
    July 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous Kristi! I love it!

  • Reply
    Mark E Tisdale
    July 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Awesome final product! Love the worn look, but the herringbone pattern is my favorite part. I’ll definitely be tucking that tip away for later. I’m sure I’ll come up with a use for it at some point!

  • Reply
    Nelly @ Brown Girl Decorating
    July 16, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Such a great idea this is. I had no idea you could do this with wood veneer. For me the stain made all the difference. Great job!

  • Reply
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