{five minute friday} DIY Acrylic Tray Updated

Last spring, I came up with a way to create a DIY version of the stylish, but pricey acrylic trays I had been swooning over in all my favorite stores. My tray cost a grand total of $4! And best of all, this year, in under five minutes and for less $1, I was able to give my DIY tray a brand new, updated look with one quick and easy change.

DIY acrylic tray for spring

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Acrylic trays are HOT right now. I see them in just about every catalog I get in the mail, like these from West Elm and CB2. They are all gorgeous, but with price tags between $30-50, I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money.

But then, last spring, I bought an acrylic box frame to frame a photo, and as I laid it down to insert he photo, I realized that it looked exactly like an acrylic tray. So, on my next trip to Michaels, I picked up two more acrylic box frames - an 8x10 for $3.99 and an 8.5x11 for $4.99 {you can also find lots of other sizes of acrylic box frames on Amazon}.

The acrylic box frames are intended to stand up right with a photo inside, but with the photo removed, laying down, the frame becomes a great knock-off for a high dollar acrylic tray.

Picture Frame Becomes Acrylic Tray

I wanted my tray to have some personality, but I also wanted to be able to update and reimagine it for each holiday or season. I picked a brightly colored piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper from my craft stash.

DIY acrylic tray from photo frame styled with scrapbook paper

Since the paper was larger than the 8.5x11" frame, I needed to cut the paper to size. I laid the tray on top of the paper so that I could decide what portion of the design I wanted to use, then used a pencil to trace the outside of the tray on to the paper and cut it out. {Note that if you want to place paper inside the tray, you should instead trace the cardboard insert that comes with the frame, rather than the tracing the outside of the tray, in order make the paper fit in correctly.}

DIY acrylic tray lined with scrapbook paper

Because I want to be able to frequently restyle this tray, I simply affixed the paper to the bottom of the tray using a few strips of double sided Scotch tape {one in each corner}.

DIY acrylic tray lined with scrapbook paper

By placing the paper on the underside of the tray, the paper is protected and will stay looking nice no matter what I put inside the tray.

DIY acrylic tray lined with scrapbook paper

Back when I created this tray last spring, my intent was to simply pull the paper and tape off of the bottom of the tray and affix a new piece of paper when I was ready to restyle the tray. And this spring, that's exactly what I did. 

I found a piece of scrapbook paper I fell in love, and this time it was an 8.5x11" sheet, so it was already the perfect size without requiring any cutting. It took me less than a minute to pull of the previous paper and tape the new piece to the frame. But what a change! It gives the tray a whole new look.

DIY acrylic tray

DIY acrylic tray for spring

Of course, scrapbook paper is just one way you can style a DIY acrylic frame. The options endless!

Last spring, I also created a tray to hold our tv remote and coasters on the coffee table shelf in our living room, and an 8x10 frame was just the right size. I added some gold and teal polka dot stickers.

Picture Frame Becomes Decorative Acrylic Tray

When I spread out the sheets of polka dots to get an idea of how many would fit on the tray, I realized that the sheet of polka dots worked great as a template for perfectly spacing the dots on the tray.

Picture Frame Becomes Acrylic Tray

I laid the tray on top of the teal polka dots and placed the gold polka dots on the tray in line with the dots below.

Add adhesive decals to diy acrylic tray

I mixed in just a few teal polka dots here and there among the gold, and I love the way the tray turned out. 

DIY gold polka dot acrylic tray for remotes and coasters

It tray tucks neatly on the shelf of the coffee table, in between our stacks of art books. {My real art books, collected from museums around the world, have been temporarily replaced with kid-friendly board books about famous artists}.

DIY Acrylic Tray for TV Remotes and Coasters

Less than minutes, less than $5, and the style can be updated anytime. That's my kind of project!!

5 minute DIY acrylic trays

How would you style your acrylic tray?


  1. I love this! I have been looking for an affordable acrylic tray for a while and this is just what I needed! I have a beautiful carved wooden chest I inherited and I want to use it as a coffee table but of course needed a way to protect it without covering up the carvings (and of course have a flat surface for glasses and flowers). An acrylic tray is the answer but I was beginning to lose hope I'd ever get one! Thank you so much!

  2. What a fantastic idea and they really stand out with all the bright colors! I love this project and it looks so easy to do. Thanks for sharing!