In this post, I’ll show you how to turn a picture frame into a tray. I’m using mine to display vintage sewing ads, needle books, sewing kits, and some beading cord. I love buying old sewing lots at thrift stores and antique shops, but I’m never sure what to do with all of the odds and ends I acquire. I love the graphics on some of these vintage sewing items–they make for a great display. I’m using this tray to hold sewing supplies and projects in progress, so it’s functional and cute!
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- Picture frame (check thrift stores and antique shops–I got mine for $1)
- Paper for background (Michaels has a great selection of single sheets that you can buy)
- Items for display
- 3m Surgical Tape
- 1/2″ Wire Nails
- Hand Drill Set with Drill Bits
- Handles, 2-Pack
Turn Your Picture Frame into a Tray
I tested out a few different backgrounds and layouts to see what looked best.
My frame was kind of old, so I had to pull up the nails holding the backing in place. Some of the nails were too warped/loose after this, so I had to replace them later on. I used pliers to pull up the nails, and I manually unscrewed the eyelets holding the string in place, so the back would lay flat.
I used the cardboard that I removed from the frame as a template to cut my paper to the right size. Then I started arranging my sewing paraphernalia on it.
Because I had a bunch of small items to display, I used surgical tape to hold them down. I use this tape to hold things in place while sewing, too. This particular tape holds things well, but also isn’t hugely sticky, so you can remove it from paper/fabric with ease, just in case I decide to remove these items from the tray at some point and don’t want them damaged.
As noted above, I had to replace some of the nails. I only included nails in the long sides of the frame, since I knew I wanted to add handles on the shorter sides. I didn’t want to hit any nails when I drilled into the sides.
Here’s what it looked like after assembly, but before adding handles.
And here’s the finished product with handles. I used drawer-pull handles, but I think most handles would work. These handles are held on with screws. Since my frame was older, I didn’t want to risk damaging it with an electric drill, so I pre-drilled the holes for the screws with a hand drill instead. The wood was pretty soft, so this wasn’t difficult. Now I’m using it to hold sewing supplies next to my sewing machine!