This DIY Art Deco Tray is going to get you some attention – potentially coming in a bear-like manner. When I introduced our new drinks tray to my boyfriend, he grabbed it and ran away shouting “MINE”… No jokes. He then explained in human language he loved it. I had to negotiate that we would USE it, not display it as a showpiece. So, yeah, this tray is definitely a conversation starter.
I love marquetry, unfortunately, I don’t have the skills to pull it off. Maybe a new craft to learn 🤔. In the meantime, this tutorial will show you the trick to create faux marquetry using different wood stains. I used Red Chestnut, Light Oak, and Dark Oak but this isn’t set in stone. Any combinations of light and dark stains would look great so feel free to experiment!
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To make this DIY Art Deco Tray, you’ll need…
- Plywood sheet
- Square dowel
- Masking tape
- Wood stain in Red Chestnut, Light Oak and Dark Oak
- Top coat
- Wood glue
- Wood clamps
Step 1: Create the Art Deco tray stencil
To start off, draft your design onto a sheet of paper for reference. If you like mine, it’s pretty easy to recreate!
First, create a diamond with masking tape in the middle of the plywood board. At the center point of the 4 edges of the board, create triangles. Next, add 2 large arrows starting at the corners of the board and pointing toward the diamond. Finally, create a large cross with masking tape going over the diamond.
Give the tape a good rub with a microfibre cloth to ensure complete adhesion to the plywood sheet. This will prevent the stain from bleeding under the tape.
Now, brush the Red Chestnut stain all over the board. If needed, add another coat to deepen the color.
Once the stain has dried, peel off all the bits of masking tape except the center diamond.
Step 2: Brush on the Dark oak stain
First, work on the large cross, splitting it in half. Start on one diagonal line and protect its sides with masking tape going over the diamond. Brush on the stain and let it dry before peeling off the tape.
Next, repeat the steps on the other diagonal line.
Finally, once the large cross has dried, apply masking tape to protect the edges of the 2 arrows. Brush on the Dark Oak stain and let it dry.
Step 3: Complete the Art Deco stencil with Light Oak
Before you apply the Light Oak stain, peel off the masking tape that remains over the diamond.
Stick more tape around the 4 triangles and the diamond. Brush on the stain – you’ll probably need a couple of coats to achieve a rich golden color – then let it dry and peel off the tape.
Step 4: Cut the border and assemble the tray
Cut a length of square dowel into 4 pieces that fit the size of your plywood board. Sand your pieces smooth and stain them with the Red Chestnut stain.
Finally, coat your dowels and the edge of your plywood board with wood glue and assemble your tray. Use some wood clamps to keep the pieces together while the glue dries, at least a couple of hours.
And voila! Protect your tray with a coat of wood finish and you’re done. This Art Deco tray practically begs to be loaded with fancy drinks!