DIY Pallet Wood Serving Tray

west elm wood tray knockoff

I am well aware that I am a crazy DIY lady who hunts around and looks for really expensive projects to knockoff (hence the name, DIY Huntress). But, I swear this one dropped right into my lap (or really, my iPhone) and it was too perfect not to try. When I saw that West Elm was essentially selling pallet wood trays for right around $100, I nearly fell out of my chair and rolled into fetal position. $100 for a reclaimed wood tray!? Get outta here… I’ll show you how you can  literally make the same exact tray for the cost of some nails,glue, stain, and pallet board… also known as, virtually nothing. You guys are going to love this.

How To Make A Pallet Wood Serving Tray

Besides the fact that I love the look of the wood trays, I really can only make projects that are practical ever since moving into our tiny studio apartment. So, before I could commit, I had to justify this one. It was then that I realized, I keep misplacing my favorite watch from JORD Wood Watches when I come home from work, and it needs a cute home. Perfection. So, not only is this project a super awesome knockoff, but it’s also practical. Set and win.

Here’s the original:

west elm wood tray

And here is mine:

diy pallet wood tray

Not bad, huh? Here’s how I did it.

(*Quick Disclaimer: This post uses affiliate links. Purchases made through these links help support the blog so I can keep bringing you guys awesomely cool, free content!)

What You’ll Need:

how to break down pallets

Table Saw/Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Jig Saw
Nail Gun
Drill With Large Bit
Tape Measure
Safety Gear

Pallet Wood
Wood Stain
Brad Nails
DAP Rapid Fuse Wood Adhesive

The Steps:

1. Because pallet wood is so imperfect, I used my table saw to rip down all of my boards to 2½” inches in width. I made sure to create straight edges on both sides. In doing this, you will be able to lay the boards flush against each other when they are glued later.

how to make a pallet tray

2. Once the boards were all the same width, measure the length of my base. While I really wanted to make the larger tray, I just don’t have room for it. So, instead, I measured the length of the boards to 17″, since the pallet wood was ½” thick (this makes the board 18″ in total length).

pallet wood project

3. Use your miter saw to cut the pieces down to size.

diy serving tray

4. Once cut, use wood adhesive to connect the base. I used DAP’s Rapid Fuse Wood Adhesive and clamped the boards together so they would dry flat.

pallet project

5. At this point, measure and cut the pieces for the frame. The smaller pieces of mine were 10″ wide and the outside pieces were 19″ (the longer pieces account for the ½” extra width on both ends with the shorter frame piece).

diy wood tray

6. Once the smaller pieces are cut, use a straightedge to find the center of the board. From here, draw a rectangle that will act as a template for the handle.

how to build a serving tray

7. Use a drill to create pilot holes for your jig saw blade.

free pallet projects

8. Starting from the holes, use the jig saw to carve out the handle. You will then repeat steps 5-8 on the other small frame piece as well.

how to cut center of wood

9. To make life easier, sand down the base before attaching it to the frame. This will help get into all of the crevices prior to assembly.

how to create a wood tray

10. Once both of your handles are created, and the base is sanded, attach the frames to the base of the tray using wood glue and brad nails.

reclaimed wood tray

11. Stain your tray. I used the color “Golden Oak” from Rustoleum.

barnwood tray

All together, this project took me about 2 hours from start to finish. I’ll take that over paying upwards of $120 for the original any day!

barnwood tray

Not only does this tray look cool, but now I have a spot to keep my JORD Wood Watch. Honestly though,  a piece this cool needs a home that is equally as cool.

(PS. If you like my watch, you can enter to win $75 toward your very own by entering here!: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/diyhuntress)

Don’t forget to Pin It for later!

pallet projects pinterest

* A huge thank you to DAP Products for sponsoring the glue used in this post & Rustoleum for providing me with the stain. Also, a giant shout out to JORD Wood Watches for providing me with my awesome watch and hosting the giveaway. While these companies have helped by providing me with stuff, all opinions and crazy ideas are my own.

Sam Raimondi

Sam is a full time psychologist and part time content creator from Long Island, New York.




  • Gaurav

    Thanks for sharing this. For those without a table saw how would you recommend ripping the boards?


    • Sam Raimondi

      Hi! You can use a circular saw with a fence or guide. Otherwise, a jig saw or band saw would work great as well! Thanks for checking out my project! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Megan Richardson

    I was hesitant to use glue to keep the bottom boards together because I wasn’t sure it would be sturdy enough to hold items if it was carried around (like serving coffee) have you found it to be sturdy? Because this is way easier then the way I went about it!

    • Sam Raimondi

      Hi Megan! My tray is used on a daily basis and it’s holding together beautifully! I did use Rapid Fuse for this project, and it cures fast and strong. If you are using yellow glue, please make sure to clamp the bottom and allow it to dry for an ample amount of time! Curious to see how you assembled! Please share the project to #diyhuntress on social. Would love to see it!

  • Kelly

    Hi! Your tray is beautiful and I would love to make a similar one. When you connect the side boards to the bottom do you nail from the bottom up or the side in? I’m worried about nailing from the bottom up and keeping the tray on an ottoman in fear of snags. Thanks for the advice!

  • Linda

    This is great! I actually like yours better!!

    • Sam

      Thank you so much!

what do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Pingback: West Elm Inspired Palled wood Tray on October 5, 2016
  • Pingback: Rustic Tray – Free Woodworking Plan.com on October 5, 2016