I love to decorate our home with unique, eclectic items from around the world. I especially like bohemian functional décor. Check out this boho tray I just made that uses turquoise wood stain, batik fabrics, silver faux leather handles and handmade tassels. Full directions are below!
What You’ll Need:
Wood Picture Frame Tray (with Removable Backing) OR
Unfinished Wood Tray and Custom Glass Inset
Paint or Colored Wood Stain
Up to 12 Different Cotton Batik Fabric Quarters
Scrap Paper or Tissue Paper for Pattern
Thread and Metallic Thread
Clear Caulk Sealant
2 Reels Faux Leather Cording
4 Large Jewelry Clasps
8 Large Hole Silver Beads
I am a sucker for picking up amazing fabrics, though I have never been a quilter. Cotton batiks are one of my favorites. I love the random patterns and organic melding of colors in these dyed fabrics.
Boho Tray Directions:
Start by lightly sanding the wood tray, wiping it down with a damp cloth, then staining it with the colored wood stain. I found the unfinished tray and wood stain at Michaels or you can order the stain from Amazon. I used the Plaid Folkart Ultra Dye, which comes in numerous fun, vibrant colors. I chose the turquoise shade which goes with the décor on our back screen porch.
You may want to add several layers of stain to your tray. It gets slightly darker each time you stain. You can also lightly sand in between coats to keep the wood tray smooth.
You can also choose to paint your tray instead of staining it. My tray was unfinished wood to begin with. However, painting might be easier if you are upcycling a photo tray.
Next I added 2 layers of clear varnish to the tray to seal in the wood stain and help protect the tray from wear and tear. Places like Lowe’s and Home Depot have additional varnish choices if you want to add a glossy, polished look to your wood.
The inner part my boho tray is a slightly odd size, so I had to cut glass to fit. I tried a few times to cut my own but decided after a few breaks to spend the $10 to have the professional at our local frame shop cut the glass for me. Set the glass aside. We will install it after the fabric part is inlaid into the tray.
***Note: If you cut your own or you have the glass custom cut for you, the edges are EXTREMELY sharp, so handle with care so you don’t cut yourself. ***
Now you are ready to play with the batik fabrics that will line the inner part of your boho tray. Measure the interior of your tray and decide how you want your fabrics laid out. I decided to use 12 different batik squares in coordinating and contrasting colors. I used scrap paper to make a pattern and adjust the size of the squares to fit the space in the tray. For my tray, I cut 4-inch squares that included ¼ inch seam allowance on each side. So the final size of the completed squares, when sewn together, would be about 3 ½ inches each.
Next, use your pattern with seam allowance added to cut out your squares. Stitch them together, right side of fabrics together, joining them into a grid.
Once the squares are sewn together, iron all of the seam allowances flat. Then using a half cotton poly/half-metallic thread mix, top stitch your squares. On my fabric squares, I used black and silver metallic thread in a large machine zigzag stitch.
***Note: You can also use completely metallic thread. However, it can be finicky, so you may need to use a special needle in your sewing machine. Also, practice on scrap material. Here are some good tips for working with metallic thread.***
Iron once more and then you are ready to slide the batik fabric squares into the tray. I then carefully set the glass on top. If your fabric is sticking up on the sides beyond the height of the glass, carefully trim it. I had to take about 1/8 of an inch off the edges all the way around.
Once you have the fabric and glass in place, carefully seal the edges of the glass insert with clear silicone sealant. This will protect your fabric from dirt and water when you go to clean the tray, plus will also seal in the sharp edges of the glass overlay.
Next, wrap the handles of the tray in the faux leather trim. Practice how you want it to look and then use a glue gun or jewelry glue to affix the trim. (It may or may not help to have a cat participate in this step).
I decided to make tassels for the handles and attached them to the handles using large jewelry clasps. This allows them to be removed when cleaning the tray.
My tassels are made out of batik fabric scraps that are cut, rolled and held together by wide mouth silver beads. Here’s how to make the tassels:
Boho Batik Tassels:
Cut a desired length of batik.
On one half of the fabric’s length, make vertical cuts most of the way toward the middle of the fabric, 1/8 to ¼ inches wide. Continue until the end.
Turn the fabric and do the same to the other length so that each side of your fabric becomes fringed.
Fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together, right sides out. Roll the fabric into a fringed tube.
Secure with the silver wide mouth bead.
Use your metallic thread and stitch through the top of the tassel above the bead, then loop through the jewelry clasp and knot the thread several times. Trim thread. Make your loops different lengths to give your tassels a cascade look. Afix to the handles of your tray.
Enjoy decorating and entertaining with your new boho tray! Your tray will make a great centerpiece when you throw your next bohemian themed party (with or without cats).
Inspired by this project? Check out more great bohemian DIY projects here. Happy Boho Crafting!