DIY Cardboard Tray

August 4, 2023

A pink tray made out of cardboard.

Hello there! I made the cutest tray out of cardboard and it's great for organizing things or as a decoration. I'm going to show you how to make this cardboard tray and you can design however you would like.

It's easy to make and you can even change how the sides look. For instance, I went for a scalloped look but you can definitely just make the sides straight.

Also this tray is great for decorative purposes and not great to carry things with because it could break. If you're wanting to use it to carry things, you can definitely want to make sure that you make your tray out of wood.

Here's what you'll need:

Acrylic paint
Mod Podge
Hot glue
Scissors or X-Acto knife
Optional: Scrapbook paper and if you want to make your tray like mine, you'll need something circular like washi tape.

Video Tutorial

Also if you would like more help you can watch the video I made on YouTube right here. You even get to learn how to make two more DIYs.

How To Make The Sides

1. The first thing you want to do is that you want to measure and cut out a piece of cardboard that measures longer than what you want the side of your tray to be. I measured this piece of cardboard to be about 9 by 2 inches but later I made it shorter to make it 8 by 2 inches.

2. Then you want to place the edge of something circular next to one of the long edges of the cardboard and trace a little bit less than half of the circular object.

Then you want to move the circular object over and repeat the same steps until to you've reached the end of the cardboard.

3. When you're done tracing the circular object, you want to trim off the excess with scissors or with an X-Acto knife and if you want you can shorten the cardboard to the length that you want. I ended up making mine to be 8 inches long.

4. When you're done cutting your first side out, you want to trace the cardboard you just cut to make another long piece and you also want to trace it two more times but you want to make these two pieces shorter. I made the shortest sides 6 by 2 inches.

5. When you're done tracing, you want to cut the other sides out with an X-Acto knife or with scissors.

6. Once you're done cutting out the sides, you can make holes that are in any shape on the two shorter sides. You can do this by drawing out a shape on the cardboard and cutting it out with an X-Acto knife.

How To Make The Base

1. For the base, you want to trace a piece of cardboard that's the same length as the sides and cut it out to make two rectangle pieces. I made my base to measure 8 by 6 inches.

2. Then you want to glue these two pieces of cardboard together and if they don't match up completely you can trim off excess with an X-Acto knife. The reason why you want to glue two pieces of cardboard together is because it will help make the tray be a little bit stronger.

How To Attach The Sides

1. Now you're ready to attach the sides and you can do this by putting hot glue on the longest edge of the base. Then you want to place the straightest edge of one of the longer pieces of cardboard that's for the side in the glue and make sure the edge of the cardboard lines up with the base.

2. When the glue is completely dry, you want to repeat the same steps for the other long side and if you're glue is drying too fast, you can add glue in sections.

3. Once your done gluing on the long sides, you want to glue the last two sides on.

4. When your done gluing on the last two sides, you want to add glue on the outside of all four corners and then you want to push the sides together until the glue is dry. You can also add glue in any gaps on the bottom of the tray.

Decorating The Tray

1. Once the glue is completely dry, you can paint the tray with any color of acrylic paint. I painted it white first so it would be easier to paint the the cardboard pink.

If you're planning on covering the bottom of the tray with a piece of paper with a pattern on it, you don't have to paint the base because you're going to cover it up later with the paper. You can also paint the design instead.

2. When the paint is completely dry and if you want to put a pattern on the bottom of the tray, you can put Mod Podge on the bottom of the tray and then you can place a piece of patterned paper on the bottom of the tray.

3. After you're done placing the paper on the bottom of the tray, you'll need to wait for it to dry before you can use it.

Final Look & Thoughts

Here's the final look of the tray! I love how the color turned out and I like the pattern I chose for the bottom. This tray will be great for organizing the stuff on my desk.

What do you think about this cardboard tray?

A pink cardboard tray.

A pink cardboard tray with office supplies on it.

A cardboard tray with office supplies on it.

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