This is an elegant serving tray ideal for hors d'oeuvres or afternoon tea out of a picture frame, a piece of glass, and a simple maple-veneer lattice.
Veneer is a pliable material that woodworkers use for inlays in furniture and hobbyists often use to make models.
A vintage picture frame picked up at a flea market will make a beautiful tray, or you may want to construct your own. Martha makes hers out of stock molding cut with mitered edges that are stapled together. The glass, which fits into the lip of the frame, measures twelve by twenty inches. Martha uses this measurement as the template with which she forms the veneer lattice.
Tools and Materials
- Wood veneer
- Utility knife
- Wood glue
- Right-angle straightedge
- Craft paper
Picture Frame Tray How-To
1. Measure the diameter of the piece of glass, and draw a template onto craft paper.
2. On a self-healing cutting surface, cut a series of veneer strips 1 1/2 inches wide, using a utility knife and a right-angle straightedge. The measurements of your glass will determine the number and lengths of your strips. Martha will need 9 strips that are 12 inches long and 6 strips that are 20 inches long. To cut the strips, score the veneer as many time as you need to. You may want to cut a few extra strips, since the veneer is quite delicate, and a few pieces may snap when you try to weave them together.
3. Sand the cut edges with 220-grit sandpaper. If you're thinking of staining the wood, now is the time to do it. For a natural look, Martha chooses to leave the wood on her frame untreated.
4. To begin weaving the lattice, mark the halfway point of the horizontal line on your template. Place all the 20-inch lengths on the horizontal axis of your rectangle, making sure that they're evenly spaced, leaving the top and bottom strips 1/2 inch away from the edge of the template. Now remove every other piece. Set a 9-inch strip vertically at the halfway point you've marked. Replace the remaining 20-inch strips, so that they cover the central vertical strip. You have just made your first weave.
5. Using low-tack tape, tape the central vertical piece to the table. Tape down the left side of the rectangle as well.
6. Starting just to the right of the center vertical strip, weave successive vertical strips through the horizontal strips, spacing them evenly, using an over-under technique. As you near the outside edge, the wood will become more and more difficult to weave. Handle it carefully, as the veneer is brittle and may break.
7. Once you have finished weaving the right half of the rectangle, remove the tape from the left-hand side, and continue weaving from the center out.
8. Place the frame facedown. Set the glass inside the frame, followed by the lattice. You may need to adjust the lattice slightly, so that it fits within the lip of the frame.
9. Secure the lattice to the frame using wood glue and brads. Take care not to hammer the brads through the class.
10. Cover the edges of the back of tray with adhesive felt to protect the surfaces on which you will be setting the tray. Miter the corners of the felt so that the tray rests evenly on any surface.