Tuesday, January 03, 2012

A Special Tray From a Box

Grocery boxes are made a little different these days, with a section cut out, as you see below:

Our mothers used to go to a lot of work to make these breakfast trays from a cardboard box, and now they are made with the space already cut out. That saves some time and effort, so we can spend a little more time decorating them.  They can be used for a child's tray when they are housebound because of needing a little more rest or recovering from being ill.  It is just fine to use them as they are, but if for some reason you need to make them look a little better, here are a few ideas:

The contact paper is a lot better these days, also, for it is removeable and you can adjust it over and over to get the wrinkles to lie flat and give it a smooth look.  I used some from this roll of green paper. It has a peel-off backing.

Turn the contact paper to the side with the peel-off backing and trace around sections of the box: top and sides, and then cut the pieces out separately. Peel off the backing and press the pieces  on to the box.

You can leave a little extra on the edges of each piece so it can be folded over the edges and hide the seams of the box.

Cut extra strips to cover the side seam areas to make it look neat and smooth and hide the cut edges of the paper.

Clip the corners diagonally so you can press them down flat.

This box even had "handle" sections in it, making it even more perfect for a tray.

Now it becomes a very attractive tray for a child to sit under while he is reclining, and can be used for a quiet activity from lego structures to reading.

Mr. Bear looks thrilled with his breakfast tray, so I think a real boy would like it too.

I used metallic gift wrap on the other box, with office glue sticks and clear tape to hold it in place. It is wrapped just like a present except where it is cut out. I scribbled the glue stick all over the box first, to help the edges of the cut out areas to stay flat.

This is what it looked like finished. The paper can be replaced with something else at another time, or the box can be thrown out until you are ready to make a new one.  Decoupage glue used on the underside and topside of   scrapbook papers might work well on this project.

Something cheerful for a child who has to stay in bed for a day.

Mmmm...peanut butter sandwiches on potato bread, with milk. Great comfort food! Maybe your real
doll would like a tray like this to put over her little lap when she wants to rest.


Country Victorian said...


Let me be the first to congratulate you on another successful way to make something beautiful on a budget! I have always heard that the most creative people make beauty out of what others would discard. This is an amazing gift and shows us that one can truly have "luxury in lean times" and make the best out of difficulties. I truly pray your readers will value the gift you given them. That gift is "you" and I know I do! You are such a treasure. See you soon.

Love Lisa

Lydia said...


You can keep the box on its back and put something in it for delivering to to a person outside of your home. Put a note in it to turn it upright to use as a tray, and put all the goodies (paper, crayons, crackers, juice packs, etc) on top the "tray".. If you are able, you could cut a hole for a cup, in the top, to hold a drink or a bunch of colored pencils.

Barbara Jean said...

wonderful idea!! And adorable the way you have done them.

Our daughter was thrilled with her Yorkshire Gold Christmas present. =)


Anonymous said...

How beautiful!

Elizabeth said...

That craft is absolutely adorable! I can't wait to pick up some of those boxes, and let my 15 y.o. get creative for the younger kids.

Rightthinker said...

I just love this idea! We will be using this for sure!

I will buy some new contact paper this week, and make a few!

God Bless, and thanks for another beautiful, practical and affordable idea!

Lydia said...

Andrea: you can use the boxes just as they are, and the children have just as much fun with them!

Anonymous said...

What a neat idea!

Anonymous said...

very cute and frugal...love it

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mr. Bear is adorable!

Nicole said...

This is wonderful! One of the things I want to work on this year is simplicity and frugality - this fits right in! Thanks!

Don and Shelly said...

What a cleaver idea... I would have never thought of this...!

Alexandra said...

How clever! My daughter makes things out of boxes. She made her own worktable and tea time table(for her stuffed animals). I've not thought to cover them or use the cut-out boxes. These are very pretty and water-proof.