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Restoration Hardware Inspired Vintage Industrial Mailroom Tray

Restoration Hardware Inpsired Metal and Wood Vintage Tray
Today’s project is slightly outside of my normal style, since it is very industrial and uses metal and dark stained wood (which is typically not my thing.)  However, there is a reason for this.  It is because this project was inspired by the need to clean out my garage and use only materials I had on hand.
I had a LOT of this Galvanized Steel Roof Flashing leftover (like 9 feet since they only sell this stuff in 10 foot lengths) from when I made faux locker tags.
Roof edge flashing 2Remember those? They take 1-2 INCHES of flashing.  And here I was with this long piece of razor sharp metal hanging around in my garage.  I really wanted to use it for something.

So I was poking around the internet looking for something I could use it on, when I stumbled upon these Mailroom trays from Restoration Hardware.  At $200 a pop I thought they were worth trying to knock off.  I wouldn’t get that patina on the metal, but more like the shine of vintage aluminum.
And here is the result: Vintage Inspired DIY wooden trayI have to say.. I LOVE IT.  (And it seriously is not normally my style.)

Steel trim on wood tray DIY project
The rivits and shiny metal remind me of an old metal airplane or something.
Wooden tray with metal trimPlus.. the best part.. I used ONLY things I already had on hand.
Metal and Wood DIY serving tray
What did I use?


Sanded plywood (I had some leftover from my Pull Out Cabinet Shelves project)
(One) 6 ft 1x3”
(One) 10 ft length of Galvanized Steel Roof Flashing (the thinner the better)
3/4” Flat head wiring nails or Furniture Tacks (i had a pack of these I found at the Re-Store and was saving for a rainy day) You want them to have a head so it looks like “rivets”
1-1/4” self-tapping screws
Wood Stain/Polyuratane (I used Polyshades in American Chestnut)

Tool List (check out my favorite tool picks):
Circular Saw or Table Saw (to rip down the plywood)
Miter Saw or Hand Saw (to cut down the 1x3s)
Tin Snips
Rubber Mallet
Protective Leather Gloves
Bar Clamps


My tray was 22 inches by 13 inches, but you could make it any size.

 22” x 11.5”

1 x 3:
(2) @22”
(2) @ 13”

(2) @ 23”    Split down the center (cut at the bend line)
(2) @ 14” Split down the center
(4) @ 3” NOT split down the center

Cutting down plywood for serving tray
Screw the tray edges onto the Attaching tray sides with screws
I predrilled the holes along with using self tapping screws, just to prevent splitting.
Building a simple wooden trayNow you can stain your tray (or paint it) so that it can dry while you prepare the metal trim.
Next you want to take your strips of flashing (remember you have cut them to length and then split them the long ways along the bend in the metal) and create a vice for them.  You will need 2 pieces of 1x3 (or any 1-by will do) because you need to make sure the metal covers that top edge of the tray. Clamp the metal upright between the boards (making sure it is pushed all the way to the bottom) and then clamp the boards to the table.  Holding sheet metal in vice to crease itNext, while wearing gloves, push the metal over the edge of the board creating an “L” shape. Creasing metal to wrap around boardIt will be hard to bend, but once you have it started, you can use a mallet to really level it off.  (I even bent it a little past 90 degrees once I took it out of the vice, to make sure I got a really tight fit on the boards.
Bending sheet metal with a rubber mallet
Before attaching the strips to your tray, MAKE SURE YOU SAND THEM.  They are super sharp (especially the edge you cut with the tin snips) so you don’t want to cut yourself on your tray.
Sanding sharp edges of sheet metal
Next you want to attach your flashing strips. I liked the rivit look so I used these furniture tacks. Furniture tacks as metal rivitsI attached them with two nails on the short size and 3 nails on the long side.  Adding metal trim to wood with upholstery tacksI also used a nail on the top at each corner.  Here is what they tray looked like with the strips in place.
Adding metal flashing on wooden tray
Finally, you want to cut corner pieces out to cover the seams (and sharp edges).  I just made a template out of paper and then used that to trace onto the metal in Sharpie.  Once again, make sure you SAND THE EDGES. Cutting metal flashing for corner trim
I didn’t have enough furniture tacks to attach the corners (and I didn’t want to buy anything extra for this project) so I used wiring nails. I think it looks AWESOME: Steel flashing as trim on wooden tray
The final tray is so industrial and fun.  Not like a regular old woodworking project. Industrial metal and wood DIY trayAnd the tacks totally look like rivets.
Adding Metal trim to wood with upholstry tacks

It even goes okay with my boring transitional living room.Metal and Wood Serving trayI may just be a convert yet! Vintage industrial serving tray

If you liked this project, you may want to check out these fun builds: 

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