Thursday, March 21, 2013

Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box

Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box
Follow me on Pinterest! C'mon, it'll be fun! :)

Check out this tray and all the other room projects in our Completed Master Bedroom Makeover!

I made a decorative tray during my lunch break today on a whim and I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially because it didn't cost me a thing and it took about 20 minutes! Why can't I just eat lunch during my lunch break like normal people do? Maybe because I work mostly from home, I don't know, but this time I'm glad to be abnormal. Ha! Here's how I did it, using things I already had around the house:

Materials used:
Cardboard box + another piece of cardboard to fit into the bottom of the box
Fabric from a previous project (I got this at Hobby Lobby a couple months ago for my front entry bench. It was around $4/yard or so)
Hot glue gun
Scissors
Decorative paper (optional)


Find an empty cardboard box of the size you want for a tray. I liked the width and length of this box and cut the height down to what I wanted along that black line that I marked around the box, below. In hindsight, I should have found a sturdier cardboard box. This one is a little flimsy so you really can't carry anything heavy on it, but since it's purely decorative, I suppose it doesn't really matter. I would suggest a heavier cardboard box though:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box
Yes, I emptied out the work envelopes from this box before using.
No one will miss those envelopes. Kidding! I just consolidated them into another box of envelopes in the office. 

Reinforce your box if necessary with tape. I used white duct tape since that's what I had, so it's a little hard to see, but I wrapped all the outer corners as well as reinforced some seams on the insides:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


Cut another piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of your tray. Cut it just a little smaller since the fabric will add a little bulk to it. You want the finished piece to fit nicely inside the bottom of the tray. Cut a piece of fabric about 1/2" bigger on each side than the piece of cardboard you just cut:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


Add a line of hot glue along each edge and fold the fabric over onto the hot glue. Do one edge at a time. You can snip the extra bit of fabric off at the corner so you don't have a bulky corner, like this:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


After you do all four sides, the inside bottom of your tray will look like this:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


Let's move on to cover the box itself. Cut a piece of fabric long enough to go around all four sides of your box, like this. It should be wide enough to cover the side on the outside, the inside, and an extra inch to give you a half inch "seam allowance" on each side of the fabric to glue along: 
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


Start at the bottom and hot glue the fabric all around the bottom of the box using that 1/2" seam allowance you allowed for. Fold the corners as you go around it. It will look like this after you've glued along all 4 sides on the bottom:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


Turn the tray right side up and wrap the fabric inside the box, gluing each side using that other 1/2" seam allowance you allowed for, like this:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


Now pop that finished bottom piece in, and you're done!
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box


Optional: Even though you can't see the underside of the tray, I wanted it finished so I used an extra piece of scrapbook paper I had lying around, turned the tray upside down, and hot glued it to the bottom of the tray, like this, just to make it all perty-like:
Make a Decorative Tray from a Recycled Cardboard Box



Not bad for free! This tray is going to go on my newly painted dresser in our bedroom. I will write a post about the dresser just as soon as I get the handles back on it and get the drawers back in. It seems like I've had that dresser painted for a couple weeks now and still haven't finished it completely yet. Oh well, that's how it goes around here sometimes. I hope to share that with you sometime this weekend! 

Update: You can see this tray on my newly painted dresser here. I'm really happy with how it turned out!



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48 comments:

  1. Very cute idea! If you wanted a sturdier tray you could probably use a heavier cardboard box and once it was covered with fabric, it would look just fine. Love your choice of fabric for your project too :-)

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    1. Thanks Bev! I agree, a heavier cardboard box would have been better I think too! Sharon

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  2. Very creative and frugal! I love it! Pinning!

    Jenna @ Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

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  3. Wow...that's amazing - love the pattern!!

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  4. Decopoge or white glue would have made it sturdier. Awesome idea. Thanks

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  5. Only you would come up with something so clever and creative as this. I also love how you threw it together on your lunch hour :) You're hilarious! I have a whole DIY board that is really dedicated to your DIY posts. You're so good at taking something that most of us would recycle or give away and make it into something new. Your hubby must be proud because you are truly saving some money girl! Love these posts :)
    xoxo, Jackie

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    1. LOL! I was sort of laughing at myself thinking, I should really make myself a sandwich but nooo, I'm cutting up a cardboard box instead! :) It really was so spontaneous. That is so sweet about you pinning my stuff, thank you! I always appreciate your encouragement and support. xoxo, Sharon

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  6. Man Sharon. You keep doing all these awesome projects. So creative. I would have never thought to make a tray out of a gift box. You are awesome. Love the fabric too.

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  7. This tray turned out so nice. Good job!

    Missy Inspired
    http://missyinspired.blogspot.com

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  8. Wow, it turned out really darling! Thanks for sharing your marvelous vision.

    Warmly, Michelle
    Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust

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    1. Hi Michelle, thanks so much for your kind words! :) Sharon

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  9. I love your tray and awesome blog! I just pinned from Pintastic Tuesday! New follower, too. :)

    Kathy
    www.lifeonlakeshoredrive.com

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  10. Wow, that's awesome! Amazing what can be done on a lunch break, haha. You should join my new linky party {1 party, 5 blogs!}
    http://www.somuchbetterwithage.com/2013/03/give-me-goods-party-1.html
    Have a great week!
    Jamie @ somuchbetterwithage.com

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  11. Great recycling use for an ordinary box! Love it. :-)

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  12. What a wonderful Idea! My son is all into recycling right now so he will love this project! Pinning! Julia @ www.juliakendrick.com

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  13. I love this!! That fabric is perfect...so graphic and fun!!I may have to try and make my own!

    Visiting from Elizabeth & Co. :-)

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  14. Great use of a box that may have gone in the trash. Love the fabric! Found you from the Natasha in Oz party. I also saw you on Google+

    Cynthia at http://FeedingBig.com

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Cynthia! Sharon

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  15. Very creative! I love your choice of fabric! I am having a a linky party on sunday and would love for you to link this up. :)

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  16. What a great idea! I love that the tray has sides ~ so handy.
    I'm visiting you today from G'Day Saturday. I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Spring JOY Frame ~ Printable

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  17. I love that fabric and this is such a good idea for all my leftover Christmas boxes that aren't quite good enough for wrapping gifts in! I absolutely love it! We'd love for you to link up at Living Well Spending Less' Thrifty Thursday! Hope to see you there! http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/category/thrifty-thursday/

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    1. Thanks Ruth, and thanks for the invite! If you're going to use the Christmas boxes, I'd recommend reinforcing them more since they are flimsier than other cardboard boxes - maybe with duct tape or something. If you can find a heavier duty cardboard box, I'd try that too if you're looking for something more sturdy!

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  18. So cute! What a great idea! I just bought a console table for my entry way and was thinking I could use something like this.

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  19. What a great idea! So thrifty and so pretty.
    I would love if you would share this at my link party. http://www.realcoake.com/2013/03/real-family-fun-7.html

    Take care,

    KC

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  20. This is so brilliant! I LOVE it! I am so into FREE! :) I found you at Project Inspire{d}--thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

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  21. I love the fabric you chose... very classic and chic! It looks amazing! (thanks for sharing on Project Inspire{d} this week!)

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  22. What a super clever idea. I will be featuring this tonight at my Swing into Spring party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I've Been Featured button. Thanks. http://diybydesign.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much Judy! How exciting. I will stop by tonight. Sharon

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  23. Very cute idea! I will have to try this with a sturdy cardboard crate/box I have been holding onto for a while... waiting for the perfect project to pop up. I think your project is it!!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Krista @thehappyhousie

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    1. Thanks Krista! I hope you do try it and if you do and get stuck, just send me a note and I'll try to help you out. :) Sharon

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  24. This is my kind of project...take something that would end up in the refuse and make something really cool out of it! The material you used looks really nice. I would love to have you share it at The Shady Porch! Blessings, D

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  25. Very cool. Like that you made the extra effort to finish off the underside even though it isn't visible. Pinning this :)

    (Visiting from the Taylor House)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Angela! Sharon

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  26. What a great project!! Thanks so much for sharing, I am featuring at my party today. -K

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  27. I love what you did what a little ole cardboard box! How clever! I just love thrifty little creative things like this. And it looks so fabulous on top of that gorgeous turquoise dresser of yours.
    Thanks for linking it up to the Project Inspired link party!! :)
    Hope you have a great weekend.
    xo
    Nancy

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  28. Super cute and who doesn't have a cardboard box they can do up so pretty like this!?!? Looks great.

    Would you mind if I featured this on a DIY blog update next week. It's such a great, simple project!

    Love the site too. I have never been before, but saw this post on another blog.

    Will be subscribing now for sure!

    Cortney@www.organicallyopulent.com

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    1. Hi Cortney, Thanks for stopping by and for wanting to feature it on your blog, that's great! Thanks for asking. :) I'll be sure to check your blog out too. Take care, Sharon

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  29. I love it! I plan to show your tray off in an upcoming list of Mother's Day ideas. And, don't worry, I have two separate links to your post to credit your picture and say nothing about the process other than it's awesome =)

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  30. very cute idea...seems easy to do with less effort

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  31. I cover boxes all the time, Sharon! I really liked that you are using a lid for a dresser tray. Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday.

    xoxo
    Denyse

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