Our mantel is normally pretty bare. In the fall, I get it all festive, but the rest of the year, it’s fairly plain.
When we remodeled the fireplace a few years back, we chose to put the TV above the mantel because of the unique shape of the room. It’s works well for us to have it here, but it makes actually decorating the mantel a little more challenging. You can’t have anything too bulky that will block the screen, but having nothing just seems boring.
So last summer when I saw this display tray on Pinterest, I knew immediately I wanted something similar. (I just checked out the source from Pinterest and can’t get over the sectional in the post. Surprise… I love it too!)
However, it didn’t originally occur to me to make this tray. I truly thought I could drop into one of my favorite stores and pick one up… easy. But after months of searching, I couldn’t find a tray that was the length I wanted. I was looking for something 48″ across with a shallow lip so that it would sit nicely under the screen. We only have a 5″ clearance. I decided it was time to build the tray myself.
And by myself, I mean with the help of my man and his power tools.
Supplies for Do It Yourself Mantel Tray
Luckily, Home Depot had pre-cut 48″ boards, so Tyson’s help was actually pretty minimal. I picked up one 7″ x 48″ board and three 1.5″ x 48″ boards. This left me with a base, two sides, and a third board for Tyson to cut and make two end pieces for me.
I had also picked up upholstery tacks at JoAnn’s, but Tyson advised that I not use those since the boards were thin and would probably split. But more on that in a bit.
Do It Yourself Mantel Tray
Armed with Minwax Dark Walnut stain left over from this project, I began staining the cut boards.
I then wiped off the excess stain and let the boards dry.
The color is beautiful! I think working with wood stain is official my new favorite.
Once the boards had thoroughly dried, it was time to assemble the tray. This is where things got a little tricky.
I applied wood glue to the long sides and used wood clamps to hold it all together. But things got dicey when I went to add the end pieces. I don’t have clamps that can span the 48″ length and frankly, holding the end pieces to the base and waiting for glue to dry wasn’t gonna happen.
So out came the upholstery tacks. And then this happened.
But I kinda loved that the tack split the wood. So I put in another one. And it split again.
And I loved it even more!
The irregular tack heads and split wood give the whole piece a more distressed look and I’m so happy with the result.
I had been planning on adding rope or drawer handles to each end, but I think the plain ends work just as well.
For now, I’ve filled it with this seashell inspired potpourri. I haven’t used potpourri in over a decade. It’s kinda fun to revisit it.
It’s pretty for spring and the perfect spot for me to add these sand dollars that we found on our beach trip last summer.
I can see changing things out down the road, but for now, this is a nice option.
I was particularly thrilled that Michelle was asked to co-host as she is one of the funniest bloggers I follow and if you haven’t checked her out, you definitely need to. In fact, click on the links to any of these ladies and see hundreds of bloggers sharing their inspired Pinterest posts. There’s sure to be some outstanding craftiness on display.
Ever decide to build something yourself because you couldn’t find it in a store? Do you have a new DIY technique that is quickly becoming your favorite? Are you participating in the Winter Pinterest Challenge? Let me know… I’d love to hear what you all are up to.