Nursery Tray for Plants

Happy Mother's Day! You all may know that I love making things I see on the internet with my own spin on them. 

Today I found something on one of my favorite sites that I was sure I could make myself in one way or another. 

I am so pleased with the results and I can't wait to use it on my outdoor table this summer!

Take a look...

nursery tray with transfer design

One of my favorite sites is the inspiration for my project today. They had a beautiful old looking nursery tray and the price looked good too. 

The tray looked simple enough to make so I couldn't think about spending the money and if I built it myself I could put my own spin on it. 

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I began with pieces of a broken kids cedar planter I had laying around. I figured the pieces would be good for something one day. Some of the pieces, these are the legs,  had a great vintage green color and I wanted to be sure to highlight those pieces. 

cedar scraps

In case you don't know what a nursery tray is, it is a tray with a wire bottom that you can carry, plant, or display plants in.  

I bought something similar at one time in an antique store. They called it a sifting tray. 

antique sifting tray

The one I bought was huge so to use it in my own home I gave it a little makeover. You can read all about it here. Right now the new smaller version is hanging on the wall in my living room. 

antique nursery tray with a wreath

Today I'm making something with the same idea only this one will have handles. 

To make the handles I used 2 pieces of cedar and drilled 2 one inch holes in it with a paddle bit. 

wood with 1" holes

I will use these holes and my jigsaw to create the oval shaped handle in the wood. 

handles for nursery tray

Now to create the frame of my nursery box, I chose the pretty green pieces that used to be the legs on a cedar planter. I also grabbed a couple of other wood scraps from the pile and created a box. 

corner of wooden tray

I used wood glue and nails to hold the pieces together. 

nursery box frame

I added the handles I made to the sides of the tray. As an after thought I cut the edges of the handles in a triangular shape with a jigsaw. 

crate handle with cut lines

In the center of the tray I added a support because the base of this tray will be made of hardware cloth and will need some support.

center support

Once the frame was finished I gave the whole thing a good sanding to remove dirt, paint, and discoloration. 

sanded handles

Now I had the frame for my nursery tray. 

nursery tray frame

I decided to add graphics to the side of the tray so I'm using a rub on transfer from Redesigns with Prima. There are so many transfers to choose from. I'm using one of the farmhouse designs. 

farmhouse rub on transfers

All you have to do is to rub the design onto the side of the tray with a popsicle stick. 

transfer design on tray

I gave the transfer a quick sanding to distress it then sealed the design with Tough Coat by Fusion Mineral Paint.  Tough Coat is a wipe on water based poly that seals without yellowing. 

distressed transfer on tray

Now comes the fun part! 😏 Adding the hardware cloth to the bottom of the tray can be a struggle! Hardware cloth is found at Home Depot and comes in a large roll. There is enough in the roll to do several projects like this. 

roll of hardware cloth

Just a heads up... hardware cloth is a little difficult to work with. It is sharp and you will need tin snips to cut the wire. I would recommend wearing safety glasses when you cut the wire and maybe even gloves. 

hardware cloth and the frame

I cut the hardware cloth to fit the size of the bottom of the tray frame then used a staple gun to attach it all the way around. 

staple gun and hardware cloth

I found that the U shaped staples that came with this staple gun worked the best on the wire. 

hardware cloth on bottom of tray

And that's it! Well it was a lot 😅 but I love the way it turned out!!!

nursery tray with wire bottom

This is going to be perfect on the large outdoor coffee table I made a few years ago! 

large tray on large outdoor table

All that is left to do now is to fill this tray with plants! 

plants in outdoor nursery tray

Please pin for later --->> 

outdoor tray with plants and overlay


Garden tray with plants


Outdoor tray with plants

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tray on outdoor table

thanks for visiting


I am Susan, the author and creator at Homeroad. I am a wife, mother of 4 daughters, and a grandmother of 5 and counting. I am a retired teacher, a DIY blogger and an artist at heart. .