DIYdiy projects

diy project: etched map serving tray

by AshleyAnn

Summer brings out the travel bug in me. I start dreaming of the beautiful places I’ve been and the locations I still hope to visit. My initial idea for this project was to create a roadmap of one of my favorite travel destinations. I thought a subtle tray celebrating a place I love would be a fun daily reminder of my dreamy locale. However, the more I thought about it, the more I knew my favorite place did not require a plane, train or automobile. It sounds cliche, but my home is my favorite place.

So, instead of a roadmap of an exotic destination, my tray bears the grid of where I spend all my days. The combination of a salvaged window and modern road grid appealed to me, but you could create the same project in countless ways. Etched glass is very subtle, only really noticeable if you look at it from a certain angle. So it is perfect for an unexpected design. — Ashley

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Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • window pane
  • Armour Etch
  • utility knife
  • clear contact paper
  • paintbrush
  • roadmap
  • 2 decorative knobs (mine are from Anthropologie)


1. Print a roadmap of your desired location based on the size of your frame. I chose my location and used an online search to find a roadmap. After measuring my window, I enlarged my map using Photoshop. If you do not have Photoshop, you can take your small map to a local copy center for a basic enlargement. Do not worry if the map is blurry; you only need to see where the roads are located. Tape your map to the underside of your window.

2. Apply clear contact paper to the top of the frame. My window was wider than the contact paper, so I need to use two sheets of contact paper. Instead of trying to make the two sheets of contact paper line up perfectly, I used a main road down the middle of the frame as a space between the two sheets.

3. Using your utility knife and a ruler, cut out each road by tracing the map on the underside of the window. Remove the cut out sections.

4. Using your paintbrush, apply a thick coat of Armour Etch over the exposed glass areas. Let dry for a minimum of 5 minutes, and then wash thoroughly. You can now remove all the extra contact paper and clean the window again.

5. Attach your drawer handles by drilling two holes into the window frame at the desired locations. I wanted a feminine feel to contrast the geometric design of the grid, so I chose floral drawer pulls. You could give the tray an entirely different feel based on the type of handles you choose.

6. Once your tray is complete, you can display it on a table as a subtle reminder of your favorite place. I think this would also work well hanging on a wall without the drawer pulls or propped on a mantle. You could also create a very modern piece by using a basic sheet of glass and new frame with clean lines. There are so many creative options for taking this basic idea of etching a roadmap onto glass. Have fun creating!

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