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Picture Frame Serving Tray

Happy, happy Monday to you!  I hope you had a super lovely weekend.  Mine was relaxing and very low key…just like I like ‘em.

I’m slowly but surely marking off the items on my “to do” list to complete my kitchen and breakfast area.  My table has been bare for far too long, so I decided it was time to make a colorful centerpiece.  Want to see what I made?  It’s a serving tray that I made from a frame.

serving tray made from frame 1


Do you remember what my table used to look like before I tamed it down with wood veneer and stain?

patchwork table


I loved that table.  Matt…not so much.  But I figured maybe in a smaller dose, the patchwork paper design would work better in the room.  And Matt actually likes it!

serving tray made from frame 2


The frame I used was an 11 x 17 (a size I’ve never heard of before), which I thought was the perfect size for my table.  The handles are the cabinet hardware that I put on our kitchen cabinets when we first bought our condo.  I’ve had them piled in a drawer since I remodeled the kitchen, thinking I would find a use for them.

serving tray made from frame 3


I love how the design plays off of the stripes in my hand painted floor cloth.

serving tray made from frame 4


It’s getting there!  This area is almost finished.  Oh, what a glorious day that will be!

serving tray made from frame 5


serving tray made from frame 6


I’m definitely going to have to find something other than flowers to put on the tray because of this sneaky little booger.

serving tray made from frame 7


As soon as I walked in the door with flowers, she was hot on my heels.  As I trimmed the stems, she was sitting right at the edge of the sink sniffing the flowers.  And as soon as I put them in the vase and put the vase on the table, she was on the table nibbling the petals.  Uugghhh!!!!  So frustrating!

I told her to stop several times, and she finally left.  I thought she had lost interest, but when I went into the kitchen later that night, I noticed the vase tipped over, the flowers scattered on the table, and the water poured all on the tray, the table, and running off onto the floor.

I cleaned it up, put the flowers back in the vase, filled it with more water, and put it back on the table.

The next day, she did it again.

I cleaned it up…again.

She did it…again.

I just can’t have fresh flowers.  It’s very sad.

Anyway, back to the tray.

serving tray made from frame 3


Want o make your own?  Here’s how…


Tools & Materials:

  1. Picture frame,
  2. Piece of 1/4″ MDF cut to fit the frame opening,
  3. Spray primer,
  4. Latex paint in your choice of color,
  5. Four or five pieces of scrapbook paper,
  6. Mod Podge,
  7. Wood glue,
  8. Four wood doll heads, approx. 1 1/2″ in diameter,
  9. Polycrylic clear finish,
  10. Two cabinet door handles,
  11. Screwdriver,
  12. Paint brush,
  13. Foam brush,
  14. Paper cutter.



First, I removed all of the hanging hardware and staples from the back of the frame.

How to make a serving tray from a picture frame


Using wood glue, I attached a doll head to each corner of the frame back to create “feet” for the tray.

How to make a serving tray out of a picture frame


Once the glue was dry on the feet, I turned the tray right side up, marked where the handles needed to be, and drilled holes for the handle screws.

How to make a serving tray out of a picture frame


Then I tested to be sure that the handles fit the holes I just drilled.

How to make a serving tray from a picture frame


With the handles removed, I used spray primer to prime the frame.

How to make a serving tray out of a picture frame


How to make a serving tray out of a picture frame


I also used spray primer to prime the piece of MDF that fits inside the frame opening.

How to make a serving tray from a picture frame


While those were drying, I cut five different sheets of scrapbook paper into strips approximately 1.25″ wide.

How to make a serving tray from a picture frame


Using Mod Podge, I adhered the strips of paper onto the primed MDF. I applied the strips randomly, but a specific pattern could also be used.

DIY serving tray


When the paper was dried to the MDF, I applied two coats of Mod Podge to the top of the paper strips.

Make a serving tray


I then painted the frame with latex paint. A sample pot of paint is more than enough for this project.

How to make a serving tray out of a picture frame


When the paint was dry, I used wood glue and ran a very thin bead of glue around the lip of the frame where a photo and glass would generally go.

Turn a picture frame into a serving tray


Then I inserted the decoupaged MDF and used small nails to secure it in place. I turned the frame over immediately to wipe away any wood glue that oozed out on top.

Turn a picture frame into a serving tray


Using 150-grit sandpaper, I lightly sanded some of the raised areas for a slightly distressed look.

DIY decorative serving tray


Then I applied two coats of a water-based clear coat over the entire tray, concentrating especially on the area where the decoupaged MDF met the frame.

Turn a picture frame into a serving tray


I set it aside for about an hour to let the Polycrylic dry completely.

DIY decorative serving tray


And then I re-attached the handles.

DIY serving tray with decorative paper design


And there it is! A completely custom decorative tray.

Make a decorative serving tray


Decoupaged serving tray


Decorative serving tray paint and decoupaged



You could use just about anything to decoupage onto the MDF, and in any configuration you want: Sheet music, handwritten letters, candy wrappers. The possibilities are endless!

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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  1. Hey Kristi! nice DIY! This si a project that I have used many times in LR's or Great rooms. When I am having furniture made, I order fabric to created a coordinated tray. When the 'coffee table' is a leather ottoman it is a great combination.

  2. I just got the Nikon D3100 for Mother's Day. IT'S AMAZING! Exactly what I need as a beginner, and super easy to learn. You're going to LOVE it.

  3. Thanks, Breanna!  You should find the "follow" information on the right sidebar.  You'll find Google Friend Connect, RSS info, Feedburner info, and also a link to my A2D Facebook page, where I share links to all of my posts. 

  4. What an awesome idea!!  I love it!  Especially the paint color.  I am going to paint my front door a color similar to that.  You are so creative!


  5. You're going to paint your front door orange?!  That's brave!  I'd LOVE to see it when it's finished!!!

  6. You might be able to create a 'safe zone' for at least one bouquet of fresh flowers.

    I suggest buying a SSSCAT motion detecting thingie that makes a loud SSSSS sound and sprays a harmless spray whenever your critter goes in the wrong area? You can get them on Amazon for around $20.


    Kristi I know that you're probably want to put your own link up above the lines but here's the Amazon link for you: SSSCAT


  7. This is so cute!  I would love to feature this on Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle.  Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button. Thanks!

  8. What an absolutely adorable DIY! Well done.
    I hope that you will stop by and enter my giveaway.
    Happy Monday!

  9. Kristi – Is it possible to decoupage paper over glass? I have a long narrow window frame with a solid piece of glass and it would be the perfect size for this project. Instead of me knocking the glass out and using MDF, I was curious to know if the paper and decoupage would stick on glass? Thanks for your input!

    1. Hi Tina~
      You’re talking about just a decorative window, right? Not an actual window in your house. It would definitely work. Just keep in mind that you can’t get it wet, and also, if you apply the paper from behind the glass pane so that you still see the glass, the decoupage medium will make the glass look cloudy. But if you apply the paper to the front of the glass, it shouldn’t be a problem.

      1. Yes, just for decorative purposes. I was wanting to make a tray using this glass window instead of picture frame. Thanks for your advice. I appreciate it!