diy project: woven cork ikea skala tray

ikea really does have some amazing finds! while i do love some of their more unique, signature products, my favorites are the very plain, simple accessories; they allow you to customize them in so many ways to fit your own style. they beg for hacking! i’ve had my eye on the skala tray ($14.99) for a while. i love its clean form, and at first the simple beech wood was appealing to me, but when i brought it home i found it disappeared among the more eclectic objects in the bedroom. with a cork roll and some spray paint, i have made a totally transformed tray that is perfect for my bed activities: reading, snacking, drinking tea, using my computer – i admit that i have a tendency to set up camp in bed sometimes. if serving yourself tea in bed isn’t your thing, you could also hang this tray from a ribbon and have a message board! this project takes only an hour or so, and is great for a rainy, snowy day. have fun!! – kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


1. roll of cork (these are available at office, craft, and hardware stores – make sure the cork is at least 20″ wide and the roll needs to be at least 30″ long)
2. craft/utility knife
3. ruler (preferably as long or longer than the cork roll’s width)
4. cutting mat
5. glue gun
6. primer spray paint (i just used primer paint to give it a matte white finish. if you want to paint it another color or a gloss color, i suggest doing a coat of primer and then a coat of color to ensure it adheres to the tray surface)
7. painting surface (tarp or large piece of cardboard)
8. marker
9. scrap paper or cardboard (at least 17″ by 17″)
10. protractor (or pencil and string)

skala tray: $15
spray paint: $2
cork roll: $9
other materials: on hand

1- 2 hours


1. take your tray to a well ventilated area and put it down on the painting surface. cover it with an even coat of primer. allow it to dry for about 15 minutes, then give it another coat, making sure the sides of the tray, both inside and out, are completely covered. let the tray dry. (paint with another color if you desire and let that dry as well.)

2. while the tray is drying, take your cork roll and lay it on your cutting mat. press it down to the surface with the curve of the cork facing down (the opposite of unrolling a blueprint or a map, so the cork want to curl under itself). use the marker and ruler to mark 1″ strips on the cork.

3. using the ruler as a cutting guide, slice the cork into 1″ strips with your utility knife. apply firm pressure and cut in a fluid motion to ensure the cork doesn’t tear.

4. you need about 30 strips total, which will probably not be the whole roll of cork. once you have them all cut, make sure you don’t have any uneven or off-measured ones in the bunch. replace them with new ones if you do.

5. place 15 strips of cork down (curve side down so the edges point down and not up) and push them up next to each other, leaving no space in between. also make sure their edges are lined up.

6. begin by taking another strip and weaving it through the center of the strips, pulling up every other strip to allow the strip in your hand to fit underneath. make sure it is aligned parallel to the 15 strips on the floor and not at an angle.

7. repeat step 6 with another strip, pulling up the opposite strips from the one before it to create an alternating weave. after the strip is woven through, slide it as close the previous strip as possible and adjust it to make sure it is straight. maintain a tight, clean weave throughout by sliding and adjusting the strips.

8. repeat with the remaining strip to create a woven square that is 15 strips by 15 strips. adjust everything to ensure it is tight and straight.

9. glue the end flap of each strip to the strip underneath it. this will close the woven square and secure all the pieces so you can move the entire piece. flip the entire piece over.

10. use the protractor to draw a circle on your scrap piece of paper/cardboard that is 16 and 6/8″ (this is the diameter of the inside of the tray). Cut out this template and use it to trace a circle on the cork. cut out the cork circle carefully. you will be removing the glued pieces but the weaving should still stay together because it is tightly packed.

11. gently flip the woven circle over and place inside the tray. if it doesn’t quite fit in any spots, use your scissors to carefully remove any excess off the sides, until the cork weaving fits perfectly in the tray.

12. use your glue gun to glue down the weaving all around the edges of the tray. you do not need to glue the center, it will sty put if the edges are secure and the weaving fits in the tray correctly.

13. remove any splinters of cork from cutting, and any loose strands of hot glue. make sure all flaps at the edges of the weaving are glued down to the tray, and the cork flaps are glued to the cork strip that lies underneath it on the edges.


  1. genius, kate, truly! i love it!

  2. gina says:

    I love this project! It looks expensive and is perfect for the Mother’s Day gift I’m working on. Thanks, Grace & Kate:)

  3. craftydill says:

    What a great idea…thanks so much for sharing!!

  4. Brett says:

    I love this! I’ve been on the lookout for something similar to place next to me on the couch for my tea while I work on the laptop. Because I’m just too lazy to reach for the coffee table. Great idea!

  5. Susan says:

    cute! the cork will keep everything from sliding around.

  6. What a FANTASTIC idea! I love sprucing up inexpensive finds! They add so much character to a space and you end up with a one-of-kind piece that all of your friends want!

  7. mandie says:

    What a perfect idea! it’s beautiful, too!

  8. Katy says:

    SO fantastic!!! I love love love it!

  9. Megan says:

    I love Ikea and that so many of their objects are like blank canvases. This is a great mod, thank you for the directions!

  10. kim says:

    Just awesome!! I need to do this on one of my trays!!!

  11. Casey says:

    That’s such a great idea! The woven cork really makes the tray special. Hmm, I might have to make an Ikea run!

  12. Kate says:

    Where is your happy white tea mug from?

  13. This is pretty amazing. I wish I had one ounce of your creativity!!

  14. betsy & iya says:

    texture … cannot beat the texture. beautiful and so cool!

  15. Haley Hollenbach says:

    Love the project! I also love the yellow flowers in the photo. Do you know their name?

  16. jenny says:

    Woah, Kate, is that your bedroom? It is gorgeous!!

  17. Jenny N. says:

    Wow, that’s a genius idea! Really adds lots of texture and interest!

  18. Kate says:

    Cute! I was also wondering where those yellow flowers are from… they make frequent appearances in the design blogs!

  19. haley– the yellow flower is called craspedia globosa, billy balls or billy buttons

  20. Kate says:

    hey everyone! thanks for your comments.
    kate – the teas mug is from anthropologie, several years back.

    haley – they are called billy balls, but their official name is Craspedia i think.

    jenny – yes, that is my bedroom. it is actually supposed to be the living room, but we switched it because it is my favorite room in the house. it also gets the most attention design-wise:)

  21. seriously cute. thanks so much for posting!

  22. I really love this idea. Especially how thrifty it can be with dollar store self adhesive cork thats out there. thanks!

  23. Cayla says:

    I am loving cork right now and this is such a cute fun project. It is going on my list of “things to do” – When I get time.. OF course. :) Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  24. What a great idea. I’m obsessed with trays.

  25. !!! I just about got up to grab my car keys to drive immediately to Ikea! The only thing stopping me is it’s 1 in the morning. Plus I know if I went I’d eat a hot dog. I love these how-tos!

  26. MEG says:

    LOVE IT! reminds me of the shaker woven tape chairs…so simple and beautiful.

  27. Julie says:

    This is a wonderful idea, I think I’m going to try it myself!

  28. What a gorgeous and uniques idea. Love it!

  29. (Oops. I guess ‘uniques’ means plural, really extra unique… : )

  30. Katy says:

    Oh holy moly… putting this on my list of things to do this weekend. I have a tray sitting at home waiting to be painted. It will definitely have to be corked! I’ll give this a whirl and blog about it on Monday!

  31. nauli says:

    Looks great! Feel like I wanna start making one bymyself on the spot. Thanks for sharing the idea!

  32. cvjn says:

    Sadly, these trays are gone from IKEA. They are all out, pretty much nationwide. Hopefully I’ll be able to find something else.

  33. Zoua says:

    I bought a roll of cork, which I was going to originally use to create bulletin board on my pantry door– but later realized was not thick enough. Came upon this tutorial! Love the idea. Now I just have to find a tray.. sad that these ones are gone!


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