Multipurpose Tray Project

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Photo by Allison Sarkesian

This multipurpose tray can be used for a variety of things. It’s handy for carrying condiments outdoors for a summer gathering; it keeps a TV remote, reading glasses, and a book at your fingertips in the living room; and it makes a functional and stylish catch-all tray on a kitchen island, a bedroom dresser, or a bathroom counter. Choose fabric that either matches your décor color and style, or that features a themed pattern that coordinates with the tray’s purpose, such as a barbecue theme for a tray that’s used during grilling season.

Materials & Tools:

  • Photo frame, in size of your choice
  • Chalk paint, in colors of your choice (I used black and white)
  • Paint cups
  • Foam paintbrushes
  • 4 wooden ball knobs, sized proportionately for your frame
  • Sandpaper, optional
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Fabric, in style of your choice
  • Super glue
  • Corkboard, optional
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 2 handles, in size, color, and design of your choice
  • Screws


Step 1: Remove the backing and glass from the frame, and set them aside.

Step 2: Pour some black chalk paint into a paint cup, and use a foam brush to paint the frame, covering all of the surfaces that’ll be visible. Set aside to dry completely.

Photo by Adobe Stock/Sergey Yarochkin & Ivaylo

2a: Using the same paint and foam brush, paint the wooden ball knobs, and set them aside to dry.

Photo by Traci Smith

NOTE: FolkArt chalk paint is my favorite brand. It covers thoroughly, and it goes a long way, so start with a small amount, and add more as needed.

Step 3: When the frame is completely dry, pour some of the white paint into a clean paint cup, and use a clean foam brush to cover the black paint with white. Set aside until completely dry. Then, rough up the edges of the frame with sandpaper, which will “peel” off some of the white paint and expose the black, giving the frame a weathered look. Replace the glass in the frame.

Step 4: Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut the fabric to fit the frame, leaving about 1⁄2 inch excess on each side. Place the fabric, print side up, on top of the backing, and position it so it’s straight and even. Carefully flip the whole thing over, so the backing is now on top of the fabric. Run a thin layer of super glue along one side of the backing, and glue down the fabric. Repeat on the remaining three sides, pulling the fabric gently to keep it flat.

4a: Place the backing inside the frame so the fabric presses up against the glass. Fold the tabs down to keep it in place.

Photo by Traci Smith

NOTE: If you’re using a frame that has a desktop easel on the backing, carefully remove it before you glue the fabric down, as you want the backing to be flat.

Step 5: Turn the frame upside-down, and glue or screw a wooden ball knob in each corner.

Photo by Traci Smith

NOTE: If you plan to use the tray on a surface you don’t want scratched, you can cut a piece of corkboard to cover the bottom of each ball knob, and super glue it in place.

Step 6: Using a ruler or tape measure, center your handles on two sides of the frame. Use a pencil to mark where the screws will go, then attach the handles with screws.

Find more fun and exciting craft ideas in Photo Frame Craft Projects.

Capper’s Farmer editor Traci Smith enjoys crafting alone occasionally, but she prefers getting together with her sister and best friend, sharing lots of laughs and making plans to try new craft projects.