Picnic Tray


I got the idea for this project from Ryan Borger back in 2013, who sent me a picture of a serving tray he made. I stuck it in my idea file and, well, it took me three years, but I finally got to make it!

The most important feature of this tray is the simple weight to hold down napkins and keep them from blowing away, a problem at just about any outdoor event. It also features a removable box with dividers for utensils.

This entire tray is made out of solid oak. I began by gluing together three boards to form the tray bottom. Plywood would be easier, but it might be harder to match its color with the solid wood tray sides.


I beveled the edges of the two short tray sides to 20°.


Then made 20° angles on the ends of the long front and back pieces.


Using my cutting template, I cut a curve on the front and back.


To make the handles on the sides, I drilled two holes then connected them using my jigsaw. I rounded over the edges with a roundover bit in my router.





The router can’t reach the areas in the corners, so I rounded them over with a rasp.



I cut 20° bevels in the bottom panel and dropped it into place, gluing the two short sides only.



The I drilled holes and pounded in dowel pins to reinforce the corner joints.



These holes are for the dowels that the napkin weight will slide down on. I only drilled these halfway through the wood.


The hold-down weight is just a rounded board with two holes.


Gluing on the tray dividers:


Nothing fancy about the utensil box. Just glued together butt joints.


Finally I glued in the thicker napkin dowels and sprayed several coats of lacquer over everything.



Free Plans:


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  1. Steve, I hope this is a private e-mail conversation as I would like you to make a private comment to my post to you. I could not find another place on your site. Last week after I watched your video I got a comment on the screen that if I wanted to receive any more notifications on this channel I must sign up for or make but donation to this you tube channel. I did and pledged so much per month. I haven’t gotten any response or email reply. No acknowledgement about receiving anything from your channel

      • He mentioned he used 1×4 oak boards (which are nominally 3/4×3 1/2), and I think the boards are listed in the PDF plans. I’m planning on making the tray part out of redwood for a mothers day gift, but I’m having an issue with the height of the short sides. Sketchup says it’s ~3 3/16ths after making the bevels, and it’s 3 7/16ths before the bevel… Guess I’ll make them 3 1/2 and sand them to match the long sides of 3″. Time to start making! Hope this comment helps anyone else interested in making this project.

  2. The PDF does not work properly for printing entire content for each page. This also means that you cannot print the templates at the correct size.

  3. Steve, I love the build and plan on making it soon. I do plan on making one minor design change. The napkin weight will be the bottom of the utensil holder to free up the other side.

  4. I made this as a bridal shower gift. It went over quite well. I made it out of oak might try cedar next time to save some weight,

  5. Hi Steve
    I have been watching your videos for mere mortals and mere minutes for a few months now, i think they are great you seem to be right down to earth and i like that.
    I am like yourself i am self taught and there is nothing more satisfying than starting with a length of timber then looking at the finished project knowing that you have done it yourself from scratch, and i just love the natural look of wood.
    I have looked for your username on facebook, but i cant seem to find it could you please send me your facebook address so that i can have a chat with you, i was very mobile until 3 years ago that’s when i had to have an operation on my back so now i have 3 plates and a small cage keeping my spine together, but at least im not in a wheelchair, and now i have been left disabled, but im trying not to let it get me down, i can get about on my crutches although i cant walk very far, and i have found great joy and comfort watching your videos i always get a laugh. and you have put a spark back into my life, so i am attempting to try some small projects, like wooden toys and stuff,please get in touch if you can spare 5 minutes i would love to hear from you, i am having problems with my email at the moment but you can get me on face book or facetime that would be even better, my facebook is like my email address, i know if you cant get back to me that your a busy man and that’s ok i understand, o i just though i would mention it im from Edinburgh in Bonny Scotland cheers, Alex


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