How To Easily DIY A Rustic Farmhouse Tray

It is time for another Power Tool Challenge and the members of the team have been assigned the task of building a tray. Who couldn't use a tray, right?

If you spend any time on Pinterest you've probably noticed the popularity of Wooden Word Art Farmhouse Signs. I've been wanting to build one for the longest time and when I heard about this month's theme, I decided to spin mine into a Rustic Word Art Farmhouse Tray with a copper twist.

Rustic Word Art Farmhouse Tray

How To DIY A Rustic Farmhouse Tray

These are the materials I used to make mine...

DIY Rustic Farmhouse Tray Supplies

Affiliate links have been included in this post so you can see what products I used or recommend to build this project. See my full disclosure policy.

Materials List

White Melamine Particle Board
Pine 1 x 2 Lumber
Wood Construction Glue
2 Copper Drawer Pulls
Bar Keepers Friend
Metallic Bronze Sharpie Marker
Fusion Mineral Paint Picket Fence
Minwax Wood Finish Stain Dark Walnut
Dixie Belle Paint Company Gator Hide Poly
Countersink Bore Drill Bit
3/4-inch Drill Bit
Laser Printer
Graphite Paper
1 1/2-inch Brad Nails
Wood Handle Awl

Tool List

Table saw
Miter saw
Power drill
Pneumatic nail gun and compressor

Cut Wood Sizes

Wood Pieces Cut For DIY Farmhouse Tray

The white melamine particleboard top was cut with a table saw. If you don't have a table saw, most home improvement stores will cut a sheet to your size preference.

The 10-inch pine 1 x 2 boards are for the end rails of the tray and the hardware will be mounted on them. The 16 ½-inch pine 1 x 2 boards are for the side rails. Both were cut using a miter saw and the tray will be assembled with a simple butt joint.

DIY Farmhouse Tray with A Copper Twist

Cleaning copper drawer pulls

Notice how shiny the copper drawer pulls are in the photo above? In the photo below you can see how dirty they were from years of grime. Nasty but the price was right. They were included in a Lot of assorted hardware at a local auction. 

I looked high and low for Bar Keepers Friend to clean them and when I couldn't find any at Canadian retailers I soaked them in vinegar (lemon juice and Borax will also work) overnight and scrubbed them with a general-purpose scouring pad, being careful not to scratch the metal.

Tarnished Copper Pulls for DIY Farmhouse Tray

Chalk paint tray top

To get a smooth finish and avoid brush strokes, I rolled the Picket Fence color mineral paint over the top with a foam roller.

Rolling Chalk Paint On DIY Farmhouse Tray

Image Transfer onto a tray

I created the word art in PicMonkey for the top of the tray and printed it on legal size bond paper. To transfer the graphic onto the painted tray top, I centered the paper and secured it with painter's tape. Next, I slipped a piece of graphite paper underneath and traced over each letter with a pen.

Graphite Paper Image Transfer On DIY Farmhouse Tray

To get an unwatermarked copy of the graphic to use for non-commercial use, press the image below.

I went over the transferred graphic with a Metallic Bronze Sharpie Pen to get the look of copper to match the drawer pulls.
Metallic Copper Word Art Ink on DIY Farmhouse Tray

Waterproof Protection

I waited several hours to be sure the ink was completely dry before applying two coats of poly called Gator Hide by Dixie Belle Paint Company. Considering liquids may be spilled on the tray, I wanted waterproof protection over top the melamine.
Waterproof Poly Protection on DIY Farmhouse Tray

Staining the side rails

To make it easier, I stained the wood tray rails before assembly. I love dark walnut stain for a rustic farmhouse look. I applied just one coat with a lint-free rag.

Dark Walnut Stain on rails of Rustic Farmhouse Tray

Pre-drilling holes for hardware

It's important that the hardware is mounted on the side rails before assembly because part of the screws will be concealed beneath the melamine base (see photo after the one below). 

Tip for marking screw holes for handles

  • Cut a piece of painter's tape the same length as the 10-inch pine board.
  • Mark the center both horizontally and vertically with a +.
  • Center the drawer pull over the mark on the tape.
  • Press firmly onto the tape to make an imprint of the posts on the hardware.
  • Use a square or measuring tape to ensure the imprints are straight on the board (we don't want crooked handles).
  • With an Awl, pierce a hole in the center of each mark.

Drill holes using a drill bit around the same size as the screws for the drawer pulls.  

Countersinking holes for handles on DIY Farmhouse Tray

Using a countersink bit (as pictured above), countersink the holes so the heads of the screws do not interfere with the base of the tray (as seen below).

Drawer Pull Handles mounted on Rustic Farmhouse Tray

Assembling the tray

Starting with the handle rails, run a bead of construction glue along the edge of the tray base then using a pneumatic nail gun and 1 ½-inch nail, attach them to the base. Caution: make sure you hit the nail in the center of the base otherwise you'll have nails sticking up over the top or bottom of the tray.

Next, butt the joints together for the sides and attach them to the base as above. Nail the corners at the top (as seen below). I didn't try to conceal the nails with filler because I think they add to the rustic charm of the tray.

DIY Rustic Farmhouse Tray assembled with pneumatic nail gun

I love how I have the look of a Farmhouse Word Art Sign in the form of a Rustic Farmhouse Coffee Tray.

DIY Rustic Farmhouse Tray

How To Easily Build A Rustic Wooden Word Art Farmhouse Tray

Before I send you off to see the trays my friends on the Power Tool Challenge Team made, here is a recap of other rustic projects I made for previous challenges. Like this Coffee Mug Holder I made for my daughter's kitchen. I also made a Pallet Wall Art trio for my grandson's nursery. One of my favorite projects was using antique chair spindles to build four DIY Wooden Garden Caddies with French Graphics.

Power Tool Challenge Team Projects

Power Tool Challenge Team DIY Tray Tutorials

Designed Décor - DIY Serving Tray 
Virginia Sweet Pea - DIY Farmhouse Style Tray 
My Repurposed Life - DIY Tray Using Metal Tiles 
My Love 2 Create - DIY Chalkboard Serving Tray 
Create And Babble - DIY Wooden Quilt Square Tray 
The Kim Six Fix - Easy Hexagonal Tray 
Domestically Speaking - DIY Coastal Tray 

You will find this project linked to these fabulous LINK PARTIES.