Weathered Wood Tray

A while back, my uncle brought me a few chunks of wood that he cut from his mountain property. I had no idea what I would do with them at the time, so I let them sit in the living room. Every day I would walk past them and brainstorm different ideas. I even used them as props when I photographed my gold rimmed chalkboard pots.

Then, one day it hit me!

I grabbed the flattest and straightest of the boards and set off to make a tray.

Weathered Wood Tray by The Wood Grain Cottage

Because the wood was dry, but still very natural looking, I wanted to give it a weathered look. It’s very easy!

Here’s how!

First, stuff a mason jar with steel wool and then fill it up with vinegar. Let that sit at least 24 hours.

Weathered Wood Supplies | The Wood Grain Cottage

Next, boil water then add a few black tea bags (flavor doesn’t matter) to the water. Let it steep until it’s really dark.

Weathered Wood | The Wood Grain Cottage

To get the wood ready, I had to sand it. It was a very “rough” cut, which I love. However, it had all sorts of splinters.

step 1 | The Wood Grain Cottage

I grabbed our sander and gave both sides a good sandin’.

Much better! And I made sure to leave the majority of the original markings.

step 3 | The Wood Grain Cottage

To weather the wood, first use the tea and wipe it on. It’s ok if the tea has cooled.

step 4 | The Wood Grain Cottage

Once it’s dried, wipe on the steel wool/ vinegar mixture.

step 5 | The Wood Grain Cottage

It will immediately start turning a “gray” color.

step 6 | The Wood Grain Cottage

I added a few more coats and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

step 7 | The Wood Grain Cottage

Side note: I used a rag to wipe it on, but I would highly recommend that you use a paint brush or wear gloves.. My hands have been stained for several days. All part of the process!

Once the wood was dried and the color I wanted, I grabbed my handles.

step 8 | The Wood Grain Cottage

I made sure each handle was centered and screwed them on.

step 9 | The Wood Grain Cottage

That’s it!

It’s just lovely beyond belief!

Weathered Wood Tray by The Wood Grain Cottage

I made sure to leave the bark on each side…

Weathered Wood Tray | The Wood Grain Cottage

I’m tellin’ ya, I LOVE the markings in the wood!

Weathered Wood Tray | The Wood Grain Cottage

The handles are the perfect touch!

Weathered Wood Tray | The Wood Grain Cottage

And the gray weathered finish is my favorite… just look at it!

Weathered Wood Tray | The Wood Grain Cottage


Weathered Wood Tray | The Wood Grain Cottage

I’m so happy I have one more board too!

Weathered Wood Tray | The Wood Grain Cottage

Thanks Uncle! You can bring me random wood pieces anytime! Seriously.

Now to figure out what to do with the other board…

Happy Memorial Day!!

Shayna | The Wood Grain Cottage

Linking up to:

Home Stories A to Z

DIY Show Off

Rain On A Tin Roof

City Farmhouse

The 36th Avenue

House of Hepworths

Tatertots & Jello

Jennifer Rizzo

Design Dining & Diapers

Love of Family & Home

It’s Overflowing

Lovely comments so far...

  1. :-) so pretty! I love the handles and the look of it; unique! :-) thanks for letting us know how you did this, never thought of tea bags 😉 & can’t wait to see what you will do with the next board! :-)

    • THANK YOU Ingrid! I’m happy you like it! The weathered stain is so very easy— and pretty! I can’t wait to see what I’ll do with the next board too! :)

  2. This is gorgeous! I love the grey weathered stain & the handles you chose.

  3. I wish we were neighbours!!! Love, love, LOVE this tray:) Beautiful & soooo creative Shayna! Love it!

  4. What a great tray! I love it, it looks beautiful and what a creative idea!!!

    • THANK YOU so much, Maria! I love it too- and I’m still shocked it came from a random piece of wood! :)

  5. Seriously in love with your tray!! Great idea.

  6. Jessica says:

    I love it! I have a bunch of weathered wood chunks on my property, and you’ve given me great ideas on using them around my place, thank you! I like how your stuff looks weathered and worn but still clean and safe to use indoors. You didn’t mention sealing it, do you think thats necessary or will water on the wood with that treatment not leave a mark?

    • Hi Jessica! I’m so happy you love this and that it’s inspired you to make your own!
      I didn’t seal the wood. I thought about it, but didn’t end up doing it because I didn’t want the finish to have any type of “sheen” since I was going for a full “weathered” appearance. You could absolutely seal it though and it would probably be beneficial if you plan on leaving glasses or anything that could leave a mark on the wood.
      I hope that helps! :)

  7. So simple but so beautiful! Thanks for the weathering tutorial. Never tried that!

  8. Your tray turned out beautiful! Love the weathered gray.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Pieced Pastimes
    PS-Would love to have you link this up to Saturday Sparks. Links open till Friday.

  9. You are sooooo creative! I love all your ideas!

  10. Sweet! Love this look!!

  11. Love it! Simple and pretty.

  12. Love this tray! I will tell you from experience that the bark may falloff over time. Once the wood really dries out it tends to pull away from the bark. But if you have had this drying for a while and it hasn’t happened yet, maybe not. Just thought I’d let you know in case you want to just poly the sides to keep the bark in place.

    But I love everything about this tray, I tell ya’!

    • Hi Kim! Thank you so much for your comment and advice! I’m thinkin’ that because this has been cut for so long, the bark is going to stay as is. Hopefully. It sure adds a nice touch. :)

  13. ok. I just keep browsing and pinning and pinning some more! Your blog and projects are amazing! So glad to find you a be a new follower. {hugs}

    • THANK YOU so very much for the super sweet comment, Denise! I’m so happy you found me! :)
      Welcome to The WGC!


  1. […] here, here, here & here for […]

  2. […] I love how the weathered look turned out!  Check out the tutorial by The Woodgrain Cottage. […]

  3. […] aspen tree on his ranch. He’s truly awesome! He also brought me the wood that I turned into a serving tray and he lets me collect driftwood anytime I need it for projects like this, this, or this. Awesome, […]

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