A tray table -- a small table with a matching tray the same size and shape as its top -- provides an easy and elegant way to serve tea or hors d'oeuvres.
You can enhance a glass-bottomed tray easily and inexpensively by adding a decorative lining to match the decor of the room where the table will be used. This tray, which was found at Furniture on Consignment in Westport, Connecticut, is lined with an underlay cut from a straw beach mat; decorative paper and fabrics such as toile work nicely as well.
It's easy to have a tray custom-built for small square or rectangular tables: Simply have a framer build a frame to the dimensions of the tabletop, attach handles, and fit it with glass.
- Kraft paper
- Wood glue
- Straw beach mat
- Heavy piece of plywood or large breadboard
- Masking tape
Turn your table upside down, and trace the shape of the tabletop onto a large piece of kraft paper. If the edges of your table are beveled, place the paper on top of the table, securing with tape if necessary, and trace around the interior edge with your fingernail. Cut out the shape of your tabletop; this will be your template.
You need to back the straw mat with muslin fabric so it will hold together when cut. Lay a piece of muslin about the size of your straw mat down on your work surface, and use a paintbrush to apply wood glue that you've diluted a bit with water -- a ratio of 2 parts glue to 1 part water is ideal. Place the straw mat onto the muslin, and run over the surface with a rag, applying pressure and wiping off excess glue. Place a heavy board and other heavy objects, such as books, on top of the muslin and straw mat to press them flat until the glue is dry.
When the glue is dry, tape the template to the mat, and cut around it with scissors. Place it on your tabletop, and set the glass-bottomed tray on top of the mat.