diy project: ashley’s picture frame tray

this fun diy project comes from photographer ashley ann. inspired to create something custom from a run-of-the-mill picture frame, ashley created this easily customizable tray that can be used for carrying breakfast in bed, or in the bathroom as a special area to display your favorite perfume or jewelry. click here for the full project or just click “read more” below. thanks, ashley!


Project: Picture Frame Tray

Supply List:

-11×14 double glass picture frame (the kind that makes the object inside appear to be floating)
– 2 to 4 inch handles ( I used the kind that are attached from the underside)
-Something fairly flat to place inside the frame


-On the short sides of the frame measure from the middle to determine where to attach the handles.
-Using a drill bit the diameter of the handle screws, drill holes to attach the handles.
-Screw in each handle.
-Prepare the object to be placed inside. I used a thin kitchen towel, so I pressed it before placing inside. Place inside and secure back of frame tightly. If your frame (like mine) has fasteners that are not recessed, you will want to avoid hard surfaces. This can be solved by recessing the handle holes and fasteners. Any picture frame with a flat border wide enough to attach handles will work, it does not need to be the floating kind. This idea can be used to make an whole range of different looks based on the frame and handles chosen.

  1. lealou says:

    oh fun! this was on my (large) list of things to do!

  2. what a great idea! love it!!

  3. Annelies says:

    Oh, that is so cute! It makes me wonder why I didn’t think of it before!

  4. lena says:

    What a cute & clever idea!

  5. Avril says:

    I love it…a great way to display dishtowels that are too nice to use.

  6. a. grimes says:

    I have been looking for a way to use a vintage hankie from the 40’s for a friend who loves ‘cowgirl’ memorabilia. Thanks!

  7. wayne pate says:

    Damn! That’s so clever. Love it!

  8. Iver Jane says:

    Wait, I’m confused about what kind of frames I’ll need. These look like the cheap IKEA frames (which is why I got so excited… I have a huge abundance of them laying around from an abandoned project).

  9. Kristan says:

    Very clever use of the frame! I love it. Unfortunately I almost never use trays…

  10. Lesley says:

    Love this idea! What a clever and beautifully executed design. Can’t wait to make my own.

  11. Carol says:

    What a beautiful way to preserve a cherished item

  12. beautiful deco pattern chosen. wonderfully executed project!~

  13. Down Pillow says:

    That was really cool – cheap to make too.

  14. i love this idea. so easy peasy. and i am a big fan of kitchen towels too :)

  15. Very nice idea. I have the perfect frame and a vintage 8×10 Hawaiian postcard that has never quite worked as a framed piece. This is perfect. Mahalo for the idea.

  16. Amber says:

    These are awesome… I am going to make some for sure! Where would I find flat kitchen towels like that?!

  17. michelle says:

    This was a cute idea when I saw it on “Creative Juice” two years ago!,,DIY_13780_5356903,00.html

  18. Ashley Ann says:

    Wendy…wow! I can honestly say I never saw that, I’ve never even heard of Creative Juice! It is a pretty simple idea – just a frame and handles. I came up with mine out of a desire to show off my grandma’s towel, but didn’t want to mess it up….and I needed a tray to hold my drink while I work….

  19. Ashley Ann says:

    I meant “Michelle” not “Wendy” :)

  20. Ana says:

    Love it! Could be a fun bridal shower gift w/ pictures of the couple and some mugs and coffee. Wheels are turning…

  21. I’m definitely going to have to pass this one on to my readers! This is such a simple idea, but it is beautiful and you’ll get the added bonus of being able to brag about your ingenuity :)

  22. Erica says:

    I tried this out and sure enough, within an hour I had a beautifully elegant tray. Instead of the linen, I used a couples wedding invitation and plan to give it to them as their bridal shower gift. Thanks for the idea!

  23. Lizzy says:

    Tisk, tisk, why were you so rude. You are creating such a negative energy on the site. It has definately turned me off from Creative Juice. Sorry that you need to be taught the lessons that I am teaching my kids about tattling. I just don’t see why it was necessary to write about something from 2 years ago. She had a great idea. I love the sentimental value that she came up with. I would not have thought of that element. I have towels from my great grandma that are special, but stored away becuase I don’t want them to get ruined, but I didn’t know how to display them. She not only brought the tray idea to the table, but she brought the creative sentimental value to it. Thank you Ashley Ann, I enjoy your site.

  24. Cathy says:

    Wow, I love this idea. Putting on my list of “things to craft”

  25. samantha says:

    this is really lovely. and the kitchen towel you selected is delightful. is this something from your travels?

  26. Andy says:

    This idea is not 2 years old, its over 50 years old. I have a picture that my parents received as a wedding present, on close examination you can see where Tray handles where once attached. In post war rationing pictures where classed as a luxury item and therefore expensive. Pictures fitted with hands where sold as trays, and because trays where classed as functional could be sold much cheaper.

  27. Barb says:

    OMG people, who cares where or when it came, I’m just glad I came across it today. I just had my picture frames listed on a site to sell them and I am now going to rethink this. I have over 150 frames and am going to get started right away to make some for gifts and maybe I’ll even sell some at a craft fair next year. So thank you, thank you, thank you. This is going to be so fun. WOOT WOOT!!!

  28. Victoria says:

    I know this is an older post, but I remembered seeing it (8!!!!) years ago. I’ve been plotting some DIY Christmas gifts and did a google search to find your post. So happy it worked, but strangely I cannot get the photos to load. I’ve tried three different browsers and still get error messages where the photos should be. Wondering if you still have access to them and could make them available??


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