From wooden trays to hanging jewelry organizers


My dear friend, Megan, and I were recently discussing the cute handmade jewelry-hanging ideas that we’ve seen in bloggyland.  We both agreed that we also need a spot for things that don’t hang, without having two different items for storage.

Last week, I got inspired.

I realized that using a tray on its side would provide a place for hanging necklaces and bracelets as well as a shelf (or two) for sitting little boxes or tins to hold things that don’t hang.

Since I happened to have two trays on hand that were just waiting for a purpose in life, I challenged myself to make both pieces using only materials I had in the house.

For Megan’s, I started with these


and ended with this.

(I apologize for the poor picture quality.  Who knew tiny polka dots do not like to be photographed?  I finally just gave up on a clear shot.)


For mine, I started with these


and this was the end result.

Here are the bare-bones instructions, then I’ll follow up with photos and specifics for each one.

  1. Prime and paint wooden tray.  Spray on a topcoat.
  2. Cut a piece of foam board (usually found with the poster board at a craft store) to fit inside the tray.  Shave about 1/8″ off each of your width & length measurements to allow room for the fabric.
  3. Cut a piece of fabric about 4″ wider and longer than the piece of foam board.
  4. Place fabric pattern side down and center foam board on top of it.  Wrap like you would a present, folding in and then up, adhering as you go.  I used a strong scrapbooking adhesive for the sides and Tacky Glue to help hold the corners down.
  5. Spread glue over back of foam board and press firmly into tray.  Anchor down with a book or two for about 10 minutes.
  6. Measure and mark where you want your hooks/nails to go, then put them in.
  7. Add hanging hooks to back of tray.
  8. Decorate boxes, tins, etc. to sit on the lower shelf and hold loose pieces.  Label them, if desired.

And now for the details.  First, Megan’s.  (She has a birthday coming up in a few weeks, but there was no way I could wait to give this to her.  Do you blame me?)

I removed the drawers from the little piece pictured above, primed and painted.


Then I wanted to add a more padded surface inside.  So I cut small pieces of foam board to fit in the bottom each drawer and covered them with the same fabric.


Then I cut chipboard to fit in the drawer fronts, covered it with patterned paper, and made labels.


I was going to fasten the drawers to the tray, but I decided it would be more convenient to be able to remove them.  So I added felt to the bottom to prevent the brown paint from rubbing off on the tray.

I primed and spray painted basic cup hooks, used a ruler and an upholstery tack to make the holes, then simply screwed the hooks into the tray.


When I finished this part, I decided it needed a little something more.  Then I remembered a cute piece of scalloped trim I bought at Michaels a couple years ago to use for… something.  Perfect! :)  I cut off a piece, primed, painted, and used wood glue to attach it to the front.  It gave a little extra surface area to that bottom shelf, which helped since the drawers are a bit deeper than the tray.


I’ll have to get Megan to take a picture of it all dressed up.

tray: Krylon (no longer have the can, but it’s barely off-white in a satin finish)
drawers: Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X, Satin Espresso
hooks: Rust-oleum American Accents Metallic, Oil Rubbed Bronze
topcoat: Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane, Clear Satin


And now, mine.

I bought this shabby, over-nailed tray at The Sisters sale for $3, because I saw her potential.  I’m sure she was thrilled to finally be rescued from our garage.


First, I removed the handles.  Yikes.  I’m lucky I didn’t end up in the ER.


Then I made a wash of my favorite robin’s egg blue custom paint mix by stirring in some water.


I just brushed it over the raw wood until it looked the way I wanted, then I used an antiquing glaze over the top. I chose burlap for the fabric since the look of it goes well with this tray, and because it has its own holes where I can hang my dangly earrings.


I wanted to do something a little different for hooks. I love the wooden spool hooks from Pottery Barn (but not the price!) and remembered the bag of spools I had found at a garage sale for $1.  Now, how to attach them.  This required some creativity since I was only using materials on hand.  So I came up with… drywall anchors!


I just pounded one into each hole and attached them with screws from the back of the tray.  Then there was the dilemma of hiding where the anchors showed on the other side.


I tried it out and found that I could screw those cup hooks right into the plastic of the anchors.  Woo-hoo, more places to hang stuff!

For the boxes, I used some papier mache ones that I rescued from their demise a few years ago at the end of a MOPS year.  They were stamped with different images, so it took a lot of priming & painting to cover them up.  I also used antiquing glaze on these, used brads to attach metal bookplates that I had spray-painted and distressed, and cut some patterned vellum to line the bottom.

I cut patterned paper to fit inside the bookplates and labeled them.

Here are some close-ups


and a shot of the little nook in our bedroom where it hangs.

tray: Behr Premium Plus custom mix, eggshell
boxes: Rust-oleum American Accents, Heirloom White
hooks & bookplates: Rust-oleum American Accents Metallic, Oil Rubbed Bronze
antiquing glaze: Valspar

topcoat: Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane, Clear Satin

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  1. 1


    Oh that's awesome. I have some wood drawers I've been hanging onto that would be perfect for this!

    (And BTW, thanks for stopping by my blog – much appreciated. Congrats of finishing your projects from your stash)

  2. 3


    That is just amazing! Truly! Love it. So funny – I just bought some of that trim yesterday. I love the scallops. Darling project!

    Thanks for linking up to my party!


  3. 6


    Those jewelry hangers are too great!!

    Love the tray one, and I need display at the store, soooo guess what one of the trays in my closet is going to be?? Yes!!

    Thanks so much for the idea.


    barbara jean

  4. 9


    omg I LOVE that! How cute!!! I'm stopping by from Finesse Your Nest and I'm so glad I did!!! I have one question for you – the valspar glaze – is it tinted already or did you mix it with a color to "antique" it? OH and I lurve the spools!!! Really creative!

  5. 10


    There are many ways to go about organizing your accessory. Different methods make more sense depending on your space and what you’re storing. No matter which method you choose, these accessory organizer  definitely helps you to reduce the space usage. Once again great post man! Cheers!

    • 12

      Melissa Kaiserman says

      Hi, Michelle! I attached two D-ring hangers to the back and then used strong anchor screws in the wall.

  6. 13

    Rachel says

    I love this! My boyfriend and I are trying to make one for me from scrap wood we found, but I need help with the dimensions.. Do you know what size your tray is? I would really appreciate it! I think the size of yours is perfect!


  1. […] of this vintage frame jewelry holder from The Elli Blog. I love how this DIY jewelry holder from ATimeForEverything even has cute little boxes at the bottom for bracelets and rings, but the old spools as necklace […]

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