DIY Picture Frame Trays


We’ve all been there (well, I’m sure most of you have), strolling down the aisles at your local thrift store and there you see a pile of discarded wooden frames. Some with glass, some without. Half of them split at the corners. The lucky ones still include their out-of-date art prints. Would you ever think you could turn one of those frames into a beautiful tray like the ones above?! You CAN and here’s how!


What You Need:

  • Frame
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Spray Paint
  • Glue or other adhesive
  • Glass or sturdy plastic
  • Decorative Insert (pictures, scrapbook paper, print out, wallpaper, etc)
  • Handles
  • Wood Screws
  • Screwdriver

First take the frame apart and take a look at what you have to work with. What I learned first was that the style of frame is important. As you can see below the larger tray has a decorative frame without much surface space on top, so I had to put the handles on the sides instead of on the top as I did with the smaller tray. Keep in mind where you want your handles when you’re picking out your frames.


Make sure you pick out WOOD frames. Not plastic, or metal or particle-board. Wood frames will be the sturdiest and easiest to work with. Once you have a nice, sturdy wood frame you’ll need to pick out some cute handles, which you can pick up at any hardware store. They usually come with their own screws, but those are used when a hole is predrilled into a drawer so you’ll still need wood screws. Make sure you get the right length so that the screws will go through the frame AND into the handle enough to hold it in. I won’t tell you how many times I had to go back to the store to exchange screws. *sigh* But now I know better.. and so do you!


Take your frame apart until you’re down to just the wood frame and then you get to the do the fun part: Paint It! Pick out a color that will compliment your decorative insert. Make sure to do this in a well ventilated area and on a surface you don’t mind throwing away. I did mine outside on an old box. You might need a few coats to get the color you want and be sure to hold the can at least 6-12 inches away or you’ll get those weird bubbles you see on the left side of my frame above. :/

Then measure and arrange your decorative insert to fit inside your frame. I used the white paper/backing that was already inside the frames to measure and cut my paper easily, then I just simply glued the pieces onto it! if you’re not using an insert that’s all one piece, you’ll need some sort of backing to glue your pictures, paper, etc onto. Remember to measure twice, cut once!


When the frames are dry, line up your handles on the outside of the frame and mark where your screws will go on the other side. Screw your screws in until you see them start to come through, then line up your handle onto the screws and finish screwing the handles on. Keep your screws straight and be careful! I used a manual screwdriver, but I really wish I had an electric one…it would have made it a lot faster and less work, but either will do just fine.

If your frame didn’t have a glass insert you’ll need to find some sturdy plastic and cut it to fit your frame to protect your insert and make a sturdy surface for carrying items.

Then when you’re done putting the handles on, assemble your frame back together and you’ll have a beautiful new tray!



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