DIY Patriotic Wood Serving Tray (kit instructions)

Independence day is just around the corner! Happy birthday America! Liven up your Patriotic party with this DIY patriotic serving tray kit. It is beautiful! As you serve your guests their food or beverages, they will be surprised to see the star as it slowly emerges with every item removed.

We have a few of these types of wood serving trays that we use ALL. THE. TIME. and we love it! But this one is so much better because it’s patriotic! (did I mention that I LOVE stars!) So this will definitely be used year round at our home.

Let’s get started to see how I did it!

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Step 1 &2: Open Patriotic serving tray kit & tape inside edges

Find a good work surface and open your kit. Get familiar with what’s inside:
– Wood tray
-Vinyl star stencil
– 3 bottles of paint (Red, White Blue)
– 1 Sponge brush
– 2 handles (screws included)
– 1 set of step-by-step instructions

Once you have seen all there is in your kit, set it aside. Brush out or wipe with a damp paper towel the inside of your tray, removing any dirt or sawdust. Using the painter’s tape, begin taping along the inside edges of the bottom of your tray. This will allow you to paint the sides of your tray white without getting any on the bottom part of the tray.

Step: 3 Placing vinyl stencil

When you have the tray all taped, you are going to place your vinyl stencil on the bottom of the inside of the tray.
Very carefully peel the paper backing off the stencil. The vinyl stencil should stick to the clear tape. Now gently place the stencil on the inside bottom of the tray. DO NOT press firmly in case you need to move it.
Measure the distance from the side points of the star to the sides of the tray, using your ruler. Both sides should measure the same.
Now measure the distance from the top point and bottom points to the sides of the tray. These should be the same as well. If all measurements are what you want, press down firmly to secure the stencil into place. I like to rub a flat hard object all over the top of it to make sure it adheres everywhere. (a credit card or similar type of card works great!)

When the stencil is in place, begin peeling the clear tape off. The vinyl stencil should stay on the wood tray. Pull all the clear tape off.
Now use your fingers to rub along all the edges of the star just to double check it has a good seal.

Step: 4 Paint the sides of your Patriotic serving tray white

Squirt some white paint on your paper plate and use your sponge brush to paint all the sides of your tray white. (Be careful not to get any paint on the inside bottom of your tray)

I usually paint 2-3 thin coats of paint and let it dry in between coats. I paint this way, because I find the paint dries faster in between coats and I feel it’s faster in the long run. It’s totally up to you how many coats of paint you do. This is your project and it’s gonna be awesome!
When you have painted all the sides white give it a few minutes to dry before moving on to step 5. While waiting, rinse out your sponge brush and dry with a paper towel.

Step 5: Paint your star on your patriotic serving tray

Decide which color (Red or Blue) you want to paint your star. Squirt some paint on your paper plate and begin painting your star. The way I like to paint my stencils is to start on the the vinyl stencil and brush off the stencil onto the wood. (I hope this is making sense) I do this technique all around the edges of the star and then I fill it in. When the star is all painted, brush over the star in one direction to make sure it has a smooth finish to the surface.
(I painted 1-2 thin coats of paint on my star)

Step 6 & 7: Remove tape and vinyl stencil and sand everything

Before all of the paint dries, begin pulling off the painter’s tape and the vinyl stencil. I find that it is easier to pull everything off when the paint is not completely dry.

Because you are pulling everything off before the paint is dry you need to use CAUTION so that you don’t accidentally get paint on the parts that aren’t supposed to have it.

When you have pulled everything off, you want to set it aside and let it dry before you are going to sand everything.

Using your choice of sanding tool, begin sanding EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere. This is going to remove some of the paint in places so the stain can soak in and give it the antiqued look.

Step 8: Stain your entire Patriotic serving tray

When you have finished sanding your tray, brush all the sawdust off and get ready to stain it. Make sure to put something down to protect your work surface. I like to use an old towel to work on and with. I tear the towel in half, use one under my project and the left over towel, I tear a small piece off and then set it aside.

Using the small piece of an old towel, dip it into the stain (Provincial or color of your choice), and spread it all over the tray. I did the sides first. Then I went and wiped it all back off with the other part of the old towel.
Repeat this step for the inside bottom of your tray. Then I even flipped it over and stained the bottom of my tray.

I like to use the stain because it gives it the antiqued look and I also feel it seals the wood and helps to protect it longer. If you are going to work hard at making this awesome Patriotic serving tray, you might as well protect it, right?!

Step 9: Apply the handles to your Patriotic serving tray

Open the handles that came in your packet along with the screws. You are going to use the smaller of the screws to secure the handles in place.

On the outside of the tray, where the handle holes are drilled, press the screw through it. Now pull it back out. Repeat this for all of the drilled holes. (Sometimes paint or wood chips get stuck in the hole and if you press the screw through the back the first time, it could press stuff out of the hole which could mess up some of the finish on your tray)

Now, insert the screws in the holes from the inside of the tray. Place the handle on the screws that are pocking out and using a screwdriver or drill, secure them into place.

Repeat with the other side.

Setp 10: Display and Serve

Once your handles are secured to your Patriotic serving tray, it’s time to either display it somewhere where everyone can see what an awesome thing you made!


Invite friends and family over and have a party! Serve food or drinks in your new Patriotic serving tray, that you just finished!

Again, I can’t tell you how much we love our serving tray. We use it all the time and for so many things. It just makes it a whole lot more fun knowing that “I made that”. I can’t wait for you to have the same feeling 😉

Until next time, happy crafting!


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