How to Make a Tin Tile Serving Tray

Bring vintage style to the table with this vintage-meets-mod serving tray. 

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Trays are the answer to so many of life's problems. They corral your accessories; they make an instant table on a lap, an ottoman or a bed; and they make projects and meals instantly transportable. In a nutshell, we love them. Find out how to make this striking—and useful, natch—tray using the funky tin tiles you often see on older home ceilings. This tray makes a great gift, by the way.

Tin Tile Serving Tray

Tin Tile Serving Tray

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Materials Needed:

  • (2) 1”x3”x4’ boards
  • (1) 1 24”x24” project panel
  • saw
  • drill and bit
  • white paint
  • construction adhesive
  • heavy duty gloves
  • (1) tin tile, at least 18” squared
  • permanent marker
  • tin shears
  • clamps
  • wood glue
  • 1-1/4” finishing nails
  • hammer
  • wood filler
  • (2) drawer pulls
  • screwdriver
Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Cut the two 1”x3”x4’ boards to two 17” lengths and two 18-1/2” lengths. Cut the project panel to 17”x17”.

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

On the two 18-1/2” pieces, determine the center point and then use it to mark the spots for the drawer pull to be attached evenly on either side of the center point. Use a drill with a bit large enough for the screw to make holes at the marks. Paint all four pieces with one or two coats as necessary.

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Mark a 17” square in the center of the back of the tin tile with a permanent marker. Use tin shears to carefully cut out a 17” square. NOTE: Wear gloves while working with tin tiles as they can be very sharp around the edges. Apply construction adhesive to one side of the 17”x17” project panel. Press the tin tile to the adhesive, lining up all of the edges. Press firmly in all of the recesses to secure.

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Add a thin bead of wood glue to the edge of the 17”x17” project panel. Add the edge pieces with the 17” pieces sandwiched between the 18-1/2” pieces to create a frame. Clamp them in place.

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

With the edges clamped in place and neatly aligned add finishing nails around the edges and through the ends to secure the frame together. Sink the nails slightly. Fill the recess with filler and allow it to dry. Sand lightly and then touch up with paint.

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Attach the drawer pulls to the outside of the 18-1/2” boards with a screwdriver to finish. 

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Blue Hawaiian Recipe

Learn to make a tin tile serving tray

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

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