Christmas Tray Upcycle -

Christmas Tray Upcycle

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This Christmas Tray Upcycle is the simplest decorating idea of the season, and it’s perfect for small spaces and small seasonal displays.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

It was only supposed to be shared on Instagram – a quick 30 second video set to to some catchy top-40 song-of-the-moment.

It was meant to be consumed, enjoyed and largely forgotten by the fickle fingers of social media.

Perhaps I would put it on TikTok too.

TikTok – the savage garden of wild antics and a billion “HEY LOOK AT ME!” moments captured daily and regurgitated to glazed eyes around the globe. It’s where productivity goes to die, and it’s a jungle whose vines I’ve yet to tame.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it. Perhaps I should give myself a good whack on the head with a frying pan before posting there. Or maybe I’m not dancing enough in my DIY tutorials. Apparently the world loves nothing more than to watch everyone else in the world dance to the same song. How about that? Raise your hand if you want more videos of me dancing on TikTok and less writing on the blog. (I see you back there with your hand up, madam. Shame.)

I don’t usual.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

But anyway, my social media ineptitude aside (I’m almost 50 – I should be taking a hard pass at TikTok, not trying to figure it out), this little Christmas decor diversion was never meant to grace the pages of our blog.

It was too easy, we thought.

It didn’t have enough substance, we worried.

But after finishing the…the what? “Project” didn’t seem like the right word – it implied too much work…work that simply wasn’t neccessary.

“Craft” didn’t seem to fit either. I need a simpler word, but I guess the best fit would be “upcycle” or maybe “repurpose.”

As with many things in our line of business, more complicated doesn’t necessarily mean better, and often it’s simple stupid that rules the day.

After finishing this upcycle and seeing how beautifully it turned out, we thought, hey, this looks pretty dang good, and it’s a simple decor idea that anyone can do – let’s make a post out of it.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

So here I am. And there you are.

And now I will write. Trust me, madam – my writing is far better than my dancing. Consider yourself spared.

Oh, I’ve still made the 30 second video for Instagram, and I’ll set it to some vanilla pop music. And I’m sure I’ll even toss it out into the ocean of TikTok where it will bob around for a moment like a wine cork in a hurricane before being swallowed by the noisy foam.

But here? This is my turf. Here it will endure!

Let’s have a look.


Christmas Tray Upcycle

Christmas Tray Upcycle -


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Christmas Tray Upcycle -

So Target Dollar Spot has these Christmas trays in white, green and red. They are five dollars each, which begs the question of why it’s called Dollar Spot when very few items are actually one dollar. But hey, I’m not in marketing, so who am I to judge?

man holding a white christmas tray from Target

Okay, the plan was to hang these trays on the wall and use them to display some of our small Christmas ornaments and decorations. The white one (shown below) would be hung higher than the green one. Thus, I kept the writing on the side of the tray facing up, so it wouldn’t be seen. I used Command Strip picture hangers, but because they don’t stick well to MDF…

man holding command strip picture hangers

…I applied super glue to the sticky parts before pressing the Command Strips onto the back of the tray.

man putting super glue on a command strip
man pressing a command strip onto the back of a wooden christmas tray
man pressing a command strip onto the back of a wooden christmas tray

I used accelerator to speed up the process, but it’s not necessary if you don’t mind waiting a minute or two.

man spraying super glue accelerator on command strips on the back of a wooden tray

Since the green tray would be hung lower than the white one, I pointed the writing downwards, so it wouldn’t be seen when viewed by the casual standing observer.

man pointing to the writing on a christmas tray
mans finger pointing down

I super glued two Command Strips to the back, just as I did for the white one.

And that was it…well, except for hanging them on the wall.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

Sometimes all you need is a new perspective. What was once horizontal is now vertical. And these trays are perfect for this year’s Christmas display.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

We won’t have a tree this year in our apartment. Instead, we’re going to decorate a small corner in the living room, and these upcycled Christmas trays are the focal point of one side of the corner display.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

I really like small-space decorating, especially for the holidays. But don’t get the wrong idea – my babes is the one who decorates…I just sit back and enjoy it!

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

Almost everything we’ve decorated our upcycled Christmas trays with comes from either Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target Dollar Spot or Hobby Lobby, and they’re mostly $3 or less. Most of the decorations around the trays are $5 or less, and some, like the square signs on the table next to the red tray, we made with our own printables.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

When I show you the rest of our Christmas display in upcoming posts, along with the new projects we’ve incorporated into it, you’ll see we’re still decorating with many of our DIY decor items from years ago. That’s our goal here with the projects we create and share. We want for ourselves (and to share with you) DIYs that we’ll use (and you’ll use) year after year after year. That is when seasonal DIY makes the most sense.

DIY is not always as cheap as we’d like it to be anymore. Prices are going up across the board, so if we’re going to invest in the materials to make something, we want a good return on our time and money.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

And for us, that means trying our very best to make timeless DIY decor pieces that we’ll want to display each and every year.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

Some of the little stuff changes from year-to-year – the stuff we buy from dollar stores and use as-is. But our creations endure. You should see how many huge plastic tubs we have dedicated to Halloween and Christmas! I am very well acquainted with all of them having moved them twice in two years (with another move not too far off).

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

As the years tick by, some of the things we made four, five and six years ago are becoming nostalgic. I know six years isn’t a lot, but man, have we been through a lot of changes in those six years! Each DIY brings me back to a a different time and a different place.

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

I’m looking forward to sharing this year’s Christmas crafts with you guys. We’ve got some really cool stuff in store, and most of it is easy and inexpensive – our favorite combination!

Christmas Tray Upcycle -

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  1. I love this, and I’m probably going to do it because quick and simple are my jam, but WHERE DID YOU GET THE SNOW SHOES???

  2. The photos — and writing — in this post make me smile! What a lovely sense of style you both have! Thank you for sharing. Ann

  3. Thank you for posting this on the blog. I don’t do Instagram, Tik Tok, or Facebook, so I would have missed this. Your idea is great for small decorating. We have a new kitty this year and EVERYTHING will have to be up on the wall or high shelfs. And thank you for the great tip of using Super Glue on the Command strips and MDF. I did not know that and it will help with my decorating.

    1. You’re welcome, Carol! We realize that many of our readers don’t engage with those other platforms, so we configured our workflow to allow our projects easily to be shared on all of them! No more picking and choosing! I’m glad you found the post and tips helpful! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you, Franki! Yeah, I never realized how many little Christmas doodads we had until Handan started to fill up all those little shelves!

  4. Greg, first off “Happy Birthday”!. You said it was coming up soon. So here’s an early wish. Second thing, please don’t stop writing. I enjoy it so much. I’m like Carol, I don’t do Instagram, Tik Tok, or Facebook. Thanks for all the wonderful ideals. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Hi Jill, well thank you so much! But I still have a good chunk of 49 left in me…my birthday is in September, so the “almost 50” was in relation to all of my 40s, not just the current year! But hey, I’ll take a good birthday wish any day of the year! And no worries, I have no plans to stop writing. This blog will never become second fiddle to some form of social media like some other bloggers have done. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Source for the white Christmas-y buildings? Beautiful! Sure do enjoy your blog & appreciate you sharing all your crafty, wonderful projects!