How to Make a Vanity Tray

Written by pamela martin
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How to Make a Vanity Tray
Vanity trays add interest to dressers and bathroom counters. (towels, soap, sponges and bathoil on vanity image by David Smith from

A vanity tray adds decorative appeal to a dresser top while serving the practical purpose of organising cosmetics, fragrance bottles, combs and brushes or other toiletries. Creating it yourself lets you choose whether the style is elegant, whimsical or nostalgic. Put your own individual mark on what could become a family treasure.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Picture frame
  • Drawer or cabinet pulls
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Self-adhesive felt dots or squares
  • Bevelled mirror (optional)
  • Photographs or other artwork (optional)
  • Craft glue
  • Water
  • Paintbrush

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    Simple Tray

  1. 1

    Remove the glass and cardboard backing from the frame to avoid breaking it. You will be putting it back in the frame later.

  2. 2

    Center a drawer or cabinet pull on one of the short sides of the frame. Lightly mark where the screw holes touch the frame. Do the same on the other short side.

  3. 3

    Drill holes where you marked the frame. Place the pull on the top of the frame and attach the screws from the underside. Do the same on the other side.

  4. 4

    Replace the glass and the backing in the frame or, if you prefer, replace the glass with a bevelled mirror.

  5. 5

    Remove the backing from the felt pieces. Stick one on each corner of the underside of the tray. If you chose a large frame, you may want to add pieces along the edges, as well.

    Reverse Collage Tray

  1. 1

    Remove the glass and cardboard backing from the frame.

  2. 2

    Add the drawer or cabinet pulls to the short sides of the frame, as described in steps 2 and 3 of the simple tray.

  3. 3

    Mix the craft glue and the water in equal parts. Stir them until they are thoroughly mixed.

  4. 4

    Arrange photographs, greeting cards or magazines cut outs, paper napkins or any other art designs face down on the back of the glass. When you are satisfied with the arrangement of your reverse collage, gently lift the edges of each piece and apply the water and glue mixture lightly with a paintbrush, then gently press it back onto the glass.

  5. 5

    Brush the glue mixture over the back of the collage, using a light, even coat. If air bubbles appear, gently push the air out with your finger. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

  6. 6

    Place the glass and the cardboard pieces back in the frame and add the felt pieces to the back, as in step 5 of the simple tray.

Tips and warnings

  • Gilded frames recreate the Victorian era, and add elegance to the design. You can also use wider, unfinished wooden frames that have been painted, decorated with rubber stamps, covered with decorative papers or embellished with buttons, rhinestones or other fun items.
  • Do not use the tray to carry anything; it cannot bear the weight.

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