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Ottoman Map Tray

We bought an enormous upholstered ottoman for our very large family room in our last house, and while it’s a bit big for our current house, it’s super comfy for putting your feet up while watching a football game in a front of a fire, so we decided the family room was the best place for it.

However, the problem we have always had with this fabric ottoman is that there is no place to put a plate of food or a drink – a big issue when we entertain. I have used a couple of small trays and even a framed mirror:

but with three kids I worried about this option – they are not exactly gentle, my cherubs. So the mirror went onto a wall, where the darlings are less likely to shatter it, and I was back to my ottoman issue.

I simply could NOT find a tray that was big enough and within my budget. So what’s a girl to do but build her own tray? When I recently “inherited” some nautical charts from my parents-in-law, I realized one of them would be perfect in size and color for my tray project! The end result is super functional as well as bringing a little personality to our family room.

This is a really easy project for a newbie carpenter, just a few cuts and joins!



1 |  I bought a piece of 1/4″ oak plywood – oak because it seemed to be the most non-warped of the plywoods, but birch is another great option because it’s smooth. I had the plywood sheet cut down to a smidgen bigger than the map in the store.

2 |  Then I sanded the edges and Mod Podged the map onto the the plywood. I also coated the top of the map with Mod Podge so the surface of the tray would be protected from spills.

3 | I cut down trim for the sides of the tray, spray painted these pieces and pre-drilled holes for handles (cabinet pulls are perfect for this project.)
4 | When the trim was dry, I attached the trim to the plywood, covering the edges of the map. I used wood glue, then put crown staples every 2″ or so with my nail gun.
5 | Yesterday when the sun was actually shining, I took the tray outside and gave the bottom of the tray and the sides a couple coats of glossy black spray paint to finish it off.
**Quick spray painting tip!!**
When you are done spray painting, turn the can upside down and spray until air is coming out. This way the nozzle is cleared for the next time. Do you know how many bottles of spray paint I’ve had to throw out because the nozzle was blocked? Ugh. Say no to blocked nozzles 🙂
6 | Lastly, I added handles – aka cabinet door pulls. I inset the screws into the trim and then puttied over them and touched up with paint.
And that’s it!
 Here it is!!
Lake Winnipesaukee is one of our favorite places, and I think the green and white map is perfect with the colors in the family room.

It’s not huge, but big enough for some refreshments, plus it makes the ottoman look less like a twin bed in the middle of our family room, and more like an actual coffee table.

I’m envisioning a nice fire in that fireplace tonight,
and a glass of red wine on my new map tray.
Come over and join me, would you?
That’s the story of my little old ottoman map tray.
If you can’t find a tray you like, just build your own!
If you are looking for more map projects, check out this post at Simple Details!
Wishing you a happy weekend ahead my dears!



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Urban Orchard Interiors

Thursday 18th of October 2012

So clever! I love a good map project.


Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles

Tuesday 16th of October 2012

You are brilliant! I think if you could have or would have spent a chunk of change on a tray, it wouldn't have been better than this one! How satisfying to know you made it yourself, and it's such a personal, functional and interesting accessory!

Linda @ it all started with paint

Monday 15th of October 2012

Single. Best. Spray. Paint. Tip. Ever.

Oh, and love the tray too!

Thanks so much for sharing at our spray paint link party!




Saturday 13th of October 2012

I love what you did with the ottoman tray, it is perfect! Great job. A perfect place for a map... hope your little man doesn't mind losing his nap spot!xo

Dana Frieling

Saturday 13th of October 2012

I love it! I really love the green map. So unique! This is one of the things I appreciate about you...can't find it? Oh well, I'll just make it. You're awesome like that!