I’m always up for a unique challenge and enjoy making things that have never been done before. But when my fellow IBC’ers suggested we do a “Chic Tray” challenge this month, my heart sank. It seemed like a gazillion tray tutorials were floating around the internet already. I really struggled to come up with something that was both different and doable. And then I stubbed my toe on a cracked tile!! Once I’d exhausted my collection of swear words, I finally figured out what I would make and share with all of you; this cardboard resin tray with a slate border.

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

Quite a mouthful but oh, so rusticly gorgeous and quirky. And it’s eco-friendly too.

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

Just the way I like it 😉

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a cardboard resin tray with a slate border. If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, you’ll see what my fellow bloggers in the IBC (International Blogger’s Club) did for their “Tray Chic” challenge. But before we get there, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!

What you need

  • Cardboard
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Craft paint and paintbrush
  • Masking tape
  • Hard clear varnish
  • Glue gun and glue
  • 2-part epoxy resin
  • Slate chips
  • Tin foil
  • Black Alcohol ink
  • Clear sealer
What you need to make a cardboard and resin tray with a slate border

Making a cardboard resin tray with a slate border

Prepping the cardboard tray base

Using a sharp craft knife and a ruler, cut two equally sized cardboard rectangles.

Measure and cut two cardboard rectangles as a base for the tray

You can make them as big or small as you want. My tray measures 30.5 cm x 25.5 cm (12” x 10”).

Glue the two cardboard rectangles together

Glue the two rectangles together, so you have one thick base to work on.

Glue the two cardboard rectangles together

Use masking tape to disguise the wiggly, waggly cardboard edges.

Apply masking tape around the cardboard edges to disguise them

Paint the cardboard black and apply 3 to 4 coats of hard varnish to one side to protect the cardboard from damage. This plain side will be the bottom of the tray.

Apply 2 -3 coats of clear hard varnish to protect the bottom of the cardboard tray

The next step is entirely optional. A few weeks back, I was playing around with alcohol ink and tin foil (aluminium foil) and noticed that black ink made the most amazingly random colours once dry. I tried the other colors, but they didn’t do the same thing.

Use black alcohol ink to change the look of the foil

I’ve been dying to incorporate that randomness into some craft. You can dolly up the top of your cardboard tray any way you want to. You can even add lights, but just in case you’re curious, here’s how I created that random alcohol ink inlay.

Random alcohol ink inlay

Tear off a strip of tin foil that’s bigger than the cardboard.

Place the tin foil over the cardboard

Drip black alcohol ink on the foil.

Gorgeous random drops of alcohol ink on tin foil (aluminium foil)

Spread it out a little using another piece of foil and leave it to dry. Repeat until the entire area is covered. Scrunch up the foil and straighten it out again. Add more ink if you see big shiny gaps. You can watch a quick video of how it’s done below.

Alcohol inks and Foil Inlay

Glue the foil to the cardboard and seal it with a clear sealer.

Apply 2 - 3 coats of clear varnish to seal and protect the alcohol ink

Make sure the sealer is non-alcohol; you don’t want to reactivate the ink.  I applied three coats of the sealer.

Adding a thin resin layer

Before adding the slate border, pour a thin layer of resin to the foil and alcohol ink inlay. I created a dam wall with my glue gun, so I didn’t have to worry about any resin overflow.

Use hot glue to create a temporary border around the cardboard tray
Use hot glue to create a temporary border around the cardboard tray

The thin resin layer is just there to protect the foil for the next steps.

Mix up a small amount of clear resin

Leave the resin to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions before removing the glue border and adding the branch tray handles.

Remove the glue once the resin cures

Making branch handles

To make the handles for my recycled cardboard resin tray, I use a dead branch and a wooden dowel. You can use store-bought handles too.

A dead branch from our garden is perfect for making the tray handles

Cut the branch into two 10 cm (3 3/8”) pieces, and the dowel sticks into four 6 cm (2 2/8”) pieces.

Two cut branches that will for the cardboard tray handles

Using a drill bit that’s the same width as the dowels stick, drill two holes about 1.5 cm from the ends of the cut branch.

Getting ready to glue the branch handles onto the cardboard tray

Flip the cardboard tray over so the unadorned bottom faces up. Using the drilled holes as a guide, mark about 2 cm in from the border of the tray. Drill a pilot hole through the cardboard and add a screw.

Make where to drill the holes for the screw and screw them in from the bottom

The screws should poke out on the other side, as shown below.

Make where to drill the holes for the dowel

Drill a pilot hole on either end of the cut dowel sticks. Screw the dowel sticks into the cardboard resin tray.  

Drill a pilot hole in the dowel stick

The dowels will form the upright supports for the wooden handle. Put the cut branches in a safe place for now. We’ll add them once the slate border is done.

Making a slate border

Remember that tile I told you about earlier? Mmmmm, revenge is sweet when it involves a hammer 😉 This cardboard resin tray has a border made from slate tile chips. If you don’t have a personal vendetta against a tile, you can buy slate chips at most garden stores or online. Or, you can make your own.

How to make slate chips

Our friends often ask us to make slate hearts and coasters, so there are a lot of off-cuts (and toe-stubbing tiles) lying around. If you have a spare slate tile floating around, give it a few good smacks with a hammer, and you’ll have chippings in no time.

Give the slate tile a few good smacks with a hammers to make slate chips

Remember to wear safety goggles; the little shards go everywhere.

Slate shards of chips that will be used as a border for the cardboard and resin tray

Check for any sharp edges and file them away on a brick or sandpaper.

File down any sharp edges on a brick or use sand paper

Pop the slate chips in a bag until you’re ready to use them.

Adding the slate border

I was in two minds about this part of the process; I could either use thinset (tile adhesive) or glue to add the slate chips. After having an internal debate, I settled on the glue option.

Glue the slate chips or shards all around the cardboard tray

Thinset would make the tray too heavy, and I wasn’t 100% sure if it would muddy cloud the next resin layer. Making the slate border is kinda like doing a mosaic, except you’ll glue the slate chips around the edge of the tray.  Try to line up the straight edges of the slate chips with the edges of the cardboard base. To hide the edge of the cardboard, place the chips half-on-half-off.

Glue the slate chips or shards all around the cardboard tray

Work from the corners inwards and pile the slate chips on top of each other to create a small wall.

Glue the slate chips or shards all around the cardboard tray

Slate chips are pretty soft, so you can use tile nippers, old scissors or a metal file to shape them. Don’t worry too much if they’re not a perfect fit. You can cover any gaps with another piece of slate as you build up the wall.

Use hot glue to fill any gaps between the slate chips

My wall is about 2 cm (1”) high. As a last step in preparation for the final resin pour, check for small gaps at the bottom of the slate wall border and fill them up with hot glue.

Use hot glue to fill any gaps between the slate chips

Pouring a final resin layer

Almost done. Mix up another batch of clear resin and carefully pour the resin over the cardboard tray inlay.

Mix clear resin according to the manufacture's instructions

The resin should completely cover the foil inlay. I underestimated how high some of the foil peaks were and had to do another thin layer to ensure the tray was level.

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

Finally, glue the branch handles onto the cut dowel sticks.

Getting ready to glue the branch handles onto the cardboard tray

Leave the glue and resin to cure completely before using your recycled tray.

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

The resin coating strengthens the cardboard making the tray stain-resistant and impervious to whatever you throw at it. It also accentuates and protects those random alcohol ink blots and crinkled foil texture.  

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

The tray is perfect as a designated key holder or for serving snacks, and she adds a touch of elegance to our décor.

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

What do you think? Have you used cardboard to make a tray?

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

If you like the idea of making a recycled cardboard resin tray with a slate border, don’t forget to pin it for later.

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

Sharing is caring

Looking for a fun DIY project that promotes sustainability and enhances your living space with a one-of-a-kind creation? Look no further! This craft tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a gorgeous cardboard resin tray with a trendy slate border. We share detailed instructions and handy tips that will help you transform that pizza box or piece of cardboard into a stylish home décor that's both visually appealing and eco-friendly. #ACraftyMix

Want to see more crazy crafts using cardboard? Here are a few of our favorite tutorials on the blog.

More “Tray Chic” ideas

Fun Fact Alert! Did you know trays have been around for centuries? Ancient Egyptians used them to serve food to the gods in religious ceremonies. I don’t think our IBC “Tray Chic” ideas will be used in quite the same way, but they are all special and unique. Just click on the links below to find out more.

International Blogger's Club (IBC) "tray Chic" challenge for June 2023
  1. Anita hand-crafted her barn wood quilt tray from scratch using scrap wood.
  2. A bed tray gets a pretty folk art decor stamp makeover in the capable hands of Rachel.
  3. Kristen shares how you can use thrifted pieces to make tray risers.
  4. You’ve just read all about this one 😉

Oh, BTW, if you’re looking for some of the things I used to make our cardboard resin tray, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you.

Natural Slate Stone -1 to 3 inch Rocks for Miniature or Fairy Garden, Aquarium, Model Railroad & Wargaming (5lb)
16oz Premium Clear Epoxy Resin Kit Casting and Coating for River Table Tops, Art Casting Resin,Jewelry Projects, DIY,Tumbler Crafts, Molds, Art Painting, Easy Mix 1:1 Ratio, Christmas DIY Gift
Alcohol Ink Set Resin Dye - Vibrant High Concentrated Alcohol-Based Ink, Epoxy Resin Paint Color Pigment Fast-Drying Permanent for Resin Petri Dish Tumbler Cup Making Coaster Painting (20x10ml/0.35oz)

And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.

Glazzle Sipps Company Luxury Oval Vanity Tray Organizer, Faux Marble Resin, Oval Vanity Accessory, Table Centerpiece Storage Tray, Home Decor for Bathroom, Jewelry, Perfumes, and Office
Sale Stonebriar Rectangle Slate Metal Serving Tray with Rust Trim & Cutout Handles, Industrial Butler Tray, For Serving Drinks & Snacks, Centerpiece for Coffee Table, Document Organizer for Desk or Office
The Just Slate Company Handcrafted Slate Rounded Rectangle Serving Tray, Stainless Steel Antler-Shaped Handles, Medium

And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix