Build a Breakfast-in-Bed Tray

Bed Tray

This tray is perfect for serving breakfast in bed on those special occasions, or as a terrific decorative display tray that can be placed on an oversized ottoman or table.  Decorate it for any season and it will be a treasured project for years to come.

Materials List:

  • 1×3 Poplar board – 8 feet long
  • 18×30 inch pine panel
  • 4 – 1x1inch decorative corner posts – 6 inch lengths
  • Circular saw
  • Edge guide
  • Miter saw
  • Router with roman ogee bit
  • Wood glue
  • Bar clamps
  • 120-grit sand paper
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Pencil
  • Stain and wipe on polyurethane
  • Damp cloth
  • Paint brushes 


1. Crosscut the panel to 18×28 inches using a circular saw and an edge guide. Remember when cutting with a circular saw to cut with the best side of the wood facing down.

2. With a miter saw, cut two end pieces 14 ½ inches long, and two side pieces 24 inches long from 1×3 poplar board.  Sand the pieces smooth using the 120-grit sandpaper.

3. Using the miter saw, cut the four decorative corner posts so that the post is about ½ inch higher than the 1×3 piece of poplar.

4. Rout the edge of the tray panel using the router with a roman ogee bit with a bearing (the bearing follows the outer edge of the panel, allowing a nice smooth routed edge.  Sand the edges smooth.

5. Using a carpenter’s square or tape measure, locate the layout of the 1×3 pieces and the corner posts on the tray panel.  The 1×3’s should be in from the edges of the panel approximately 1 inch around the perimeter.  The four decorative posts should be placed at all four corners.  Draw a pencil line around the outer edge of the boards for reference.

6. Glue all the pieces using wood glue, place into position and clamp.  Remove any excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.  If the glue is not removed it will not take the stain and will look patchy.  Clamp all the pieces into position and allow to dry overnight.

7. Sand all the edges smooth and remove dust with a soft cloth.  Stain the tray with desired wood stain color.  Allow to dry and apply wipe-on polyurethane.  Several coats may be desired, just follow manufacturer’s suggestions for dry time and prep between coats.

I’ve used this tray in so many situations, sometimes just to move a bunch of small items from point “a” to point “b”!  It’s a great project and I hope you enjoy building it.



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