Making a Mock Wooden Inlay Tray

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September 8, 2016

A tray with a stamped "inlay" of leaves.Christmas is getting ever so close. It is time to start making some meaningful gifts for friends and colleagues without breaking the bank in the process. Here is a clever way to turn an ordinary natural wooden tray into a mock inlay tray that looks more expensive than what it is. The tray holds two mugs, so it will be a perfect gift for a young couple, or for a friend that regularly invites someone over for coffee.


Total Time: 45 minutes, drying time included

Yield: one tray


  • natural wooden tray sized 5.6" x 8.4"
  • two small laser cut wooden ornamental borders that would fit on the sides of the tray
  • Meyco stencil of vine leaves
  • acrylic paint in the following two colors: black and orange crush
  • brazed copper gilder's paste
  • Pilot gold marker extra fine point pen
  • Super Glue
  • quick-drying matte spray varnish
  • paintbrush
  • two small foam sponges ~ use ones that were in a medicine bottle
  • standard scissors


  1. Use the paintbrush to add a thin layer of black paint to the tray and allow to dry thoroughly. Do not paint the outer bottom of the tray.
  3. Use a sponge to rub a thin layer of gilder's paste over all the painted areas and allow to dry for approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Lighter finish has been added to the wooden tray.

  5. Cut a section from the Meyco stencil that will fit in the inner bottom of the tray. Place that part of the stencil on the one side of the inner bottom. Use the second sponge and orange paint to transfer the image onto the tray. Repeat on the other side of the inner bottom.
  6. A lighter color stain was used to stamp leaves and a vine onto the bottom of the tray.
  7. Use the Pilot gold marker to add a border all around the edges of the tray. Do not color the edges of the tray's cut-out handles.
  8. Close up of the tray and it's stamped leaves.
  9. Use the gold marker to add gold to the top of each ornamental border and allow to dry. Use the Super Glue to glue a border to each of the longer sides of the tray.
  10. A wood scroll on a white background.

  11. Spray the tray with the varnish. Allow to dry thoroughly before applying a second coat of varnish.
  12. A tray with a stamped "inlay" of leaves.
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