I used our new miter saw (swoon) to make quick work of cutting each section, making sure to be VERY careful with my fingers once I got close to the end.
Then I laid my wood pieces in the tray in a brick pattern. (Better Homes & Gardens tells me it is called “running bond”) I started the first row flush against one side of the tray, then started the next row halfway down the first piece (2″ down in this case). I measured the rest of the pieces I needed to complete the pattern and made the cuts. I needed 5 – 2″ pieces, 5 – 2 3/4″ pieces, and 5 – 3/4″ pieces.
Next it was time for the fun part, staining! Rather than staining them all one uniform color, I decided to do various shades to create some interest. I took each wood piece out of the tray one at a time and wrote a number 1, 2, or 3 on the back with a pencil. I sorted the pieces by number and sanded down all the rough edges.
Instead of purchasing three new stain colors, I decided to use what I had: a dark walnut stain and a light gray stain called Sun-bleached. The first group I gave a good coat of dark walnut and let it sit until it dried. It created a gorgeous, deep brown color. For the second group, I did one coat of Sun-bleached, and once that dried I added a light coat of dark walnut on top. I only let it sit for just a second and wiped it off with a paper towel. It created a lighter wood with gray undertones. For the third group, I applied the Sun-bleached stain in multiple coats, since it is such a light stain on light wood.
P.S. I found it easiest to use small foam brushes for this project!
Instead of glueing the wood pieces directly to the tray, I decided to glue them to a piece of poster board I cut to fit inside the tray. Let’s face it, I’m a compulsive re-decorater, and you never know when the mood will strike again to switch things up. This will also make it easier to clean if something gets spilled!
Even the smallest screws I could find were too big for the tray, so I decided to just hot glue them onto the corners. Simple, easy, and quick!
I’ve always said that I pictured my husband and I drinking coffee at this table and looking out the window to our family farm as we grow old together. And now we’re finally getting there : )
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