How to Make This DIY Organizing Tray for Mom

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DIY tray main image

Today’s DIY project is brought to you by MOMS EVERYWHERE who need something pretty in their lives! This easy DIY Organizing Tray would make a great Mother’s Day gift, because mom can use it well after her day of cleaning, I mean pampering, is over. Trays are great for DIY home organization projects, because they make everything look neater and give the illusion that you’re organized. You can customize this one to any size for any area of the house.

There’s not a lot of time before Mother’s Day so let’s get started (although I suppose you could build it for other occasions too)!

DIY Organizing Tray Materials List

1/4″ plywood (I used a project panel)
1/4″ square wood strip

Cut List

Cut each side with a 45-degree miter cut on each end.
-2 x 8″ on short side of the miter
-2 x 9 1/2″ on short side of the miter

DIY tray frame miters
Measure and cut the outside frame to your custom size or use my dimensions.

Wood Backing Strip
2 x 9 1/2″
2 x 7 1/2″
Note: I made my strip cuts after the frame was already assembled, but these are the approximate dimensions (see instructions)

8″ x 9 1/2″

DIY tray plywood panel
Notch it out.

Awesome Instructions

First, make your cuts. I did mitered edges to be all fancy, but butt (heh) joints would be fine here too.

DIY tray cuts
Cutting the frame.

Glue and attach your corners. I used nails to speed things up and will hide the nail holes later with wood putty. Shhhhhh.

DIY tray frame
Glue it up. Little darling, glue it up.

Because my miters are never perfect, I cut the 1/4″ backing strip down to size as I was building. Apply glue to the strips on the inside bottom.

DIY tray gluing dowel
Glue one side of the backing strip.

Attach the backing strips and carefully clamp.

DIY tray attaching dowel
Not flipping you off, I swear.

Next, glue the perimeter edges of the plywood base …

DIY tray glue edges
Glue around the perimeter, just enough to stick to the backing strip.

… and lay it down on the strips. Either clamp or put something heavy on the tray while the glue dries.

DIY tray place base
Carefully handle the plywood base so the glue doesn’t get all over the place. (Poet/don’t know it.)

Finally, fill in the corners and nail holes and this DIY organizing tray is almost ready for mom!

DIY tray final
Ain’t she purdy?! Nekkid, but purdy.

I chose a dark stain (Ebony by Minwax) to hide some of the teensy tiny imperfections. In DIY lingo, we have a term for the imperfect side: “the back side.” haha

DIY tray dark stain
I chose a dark stain to hide her tiiiiiiny imperfections.

If you will be using the organizing tray near a wet area (kitchen or bathroom), be sure to apply a coat or two of poly and you can also apply some rubber feet to keep the tray above water.

DIY tray rubber feet
Someone got a little lazy with the stain on the bottom part!

And that’s it!

DIY organizing tray
You’ve just made your own DIY organizing tray! Customize to any size!

A bigger version of this DIY organizing tray would be great as an ottoman tray or in any area where you need some DIY home organization. What mom wouldn’t love that?! Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo of author

About Monique

Monique is indeed “home fixated.” She and her family currently live in Houston but originally hail from Northern California - where you can buy a small, run-down bungalow for $2 Million. She is a freelance writer/stay at home mutha, and in her "spare" time, Monique presides as the family handyman, fixing and building anything she can get her sometimes-manicured hands on. Monique loves anything home-related, loves a challenge and loves learning more about DIY every day.

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