15-INCH ROUND TRAY (“In all things give thanks”)


First, decide which side you want to use by looking at your wood – choose the side that has the least amount of nicks/grooves/knots where your words will be painted. Also be careful to look for knots that might interfere with where you have to insert the screws for your handles.

Now, sand your wood round using your sand paper (or an orbital sander if you are comfortable). Remember to ALWAYS SAND WITH THE GRAIN and not against which can cause obvious scratches that will show after staining. Be sure to sand the outer edge of the round also…this edge can be very rough.

Next, apply stain color of your choice (see the video titled Staining 101 in the Unit for November in both Facebook and the Members Area of the website). I prefer to stain the back as well for a more finished look but that’s up to you. In my example, I chose Minwax Early American. (See document/file titled “General Tips and Product Information when Getting Started with Boxed Up” which can be found in the Files of the Facebook group as well as in the Members Area of the website.)

Allow your stain to dry completely according to instructions on the stain can.


*TIP: If you used a dark stain such as Dark Walnut, or Espresso and plan to use white (and sometimes even off white) for your solid paint color around the leaf, it is important to know that SEALING the final product (this comes later in the instructions) can pull the tannins from the dark stain up through the white/off white paint and make it look blotchy or yellow-ish. It’s recommended that if you want to use a darker stain color, then you also use a little bit darker of a solid paint color that what I did in my example for around your leaf.



Once the stain is dry, it’s time to apply the leaf. Decide which way you you’re your grain to be going. Then, carefully peel off the solid white backing of your vinyl leaf, exposing the sticky back of the leaf (so, now the leaf will just be attached to the front transfer paper) and you can discard the backing. Lightly lay the leaf down where you’d like it (as centered as possible) on the round. I chose to put my leaf with the stem towards the top of our tray. When you are happy with where the leaf is, press it down firmly onto the wood and then, slowly and carefully, grab a corner of the top transfer paper and slowly peel it off, leaving the leaf in place. Take a solid color paint (if you’d like, use the creamy color we gave you in your box – BUT PLEASE NOTE that this is not the color I used in my example because I had not yet ordered the paint for your boxes and used what I had. Your color is darker than what I used, so you could lighten it with some white if you want to/have some). You can use the larger paint brush we included in your box to paint a thin coat of color all around your leaf, overlapping the edges. I prefer to paint with the grain rather than against. I like thin coats rather than heavy and would rather do multiple thin coats with nice dry time in between than one thick coat as I have better results.

When you are painting around the edges of the leaf, it’s best to paint AWAY from the edges, not towards…to avoid pushing paint under the vinyl leaf. If necessary, apply a second (or third) of color until you are happy with the coverage and no brush strokes show.

Before the color/paint is completely dry, use a sharp object (you can use the pick tool we provided) to grab under an edge and slowly peel up the leaf.

*TIP: peel the leaf up by going against the grain on the wood to avoid peeling up little slivers of the wood with the vinyl.

Allow this coat of color to completely dry.




It’s time to apply your words! Turn your stencil of words right side down and slowly and carefully (so that you don’t rip any parts of your vinyl lettering) peel off the solid white back of the stencil. Discard.

You’ve now exposed the sticky back of your vinyl stencil. Turn your stencil back upside right and LIGHTLY lay it down where you think you want it. If you do not press it firmly down, you should be able to lift and re-position this stencil if you are careful. Try to look for the word “thanks” to be centered within the bottom portion of the leaf. Do your best to get the wording as straight as possible within the leaf.

Once you are happy with the placement of your stencil, press down with your finger (a credit card also works OR a squeegee if you have one from a previous box) around the letters to make sure they are sealed against the wood.

*TIP: At this point, you may choose to use the Mod Podge provided to apply a thin coat over your letters. For more information about this technique, see the video about applying sealer uploaded into the Facebook group and Members Area of the Website. This technique can help with bleed through on your project, especially if your wood feels a little rough in spots.

Now, using a makeup sponge provided and holding the thinnest end of the sponge, dip the opposite/rectangular side into the paint and then dab the paint off onto a paper towel several times so that the paint is very thin on the sponge. Using an up and down dabbing motion, dab the paint onto the wood by covering the open stencil areas. THIN coats of paint will mean the least amount of bleeding. If you “brush” the paint on in strokes, you risk pushing the paint under the stencil which can also cause bleed through. Continue with as many thin coats as you feel happy with. Be sure that the edges of all the letters are covered as well.

Before the paint is completely dry, grab hold of one side of your stencil and slowly and carefully start to peel it off the wood. GO SLOWLY because you do not want to peel your paint up with it! You may need a second person to hold down your wood while you peel up the stencil. The stencil will likely not come up in one piece. So, once you have the majority of it peeled off, use your pick or other flat/sharp tool to slide the point under the small insides of the letters that are still stuck down.

Once you have peeled up all of the pieces of stencil, you may need to do some minor touch ups using a small detail brush if you have one available.



If you plan to use your tray for setting things on top of it, you should add a sealer. You can do one of two things. You can use one of the sealers mentioned in file posted in the Files section of Facebook and in the Members Only Area of the website OR you can apply a sealer apply a couple of layers of Mod Podge. Mod Podge can be applied as a sealer using a regular artist’s paint brush (such as the one we provided if well cleaned) – use thin coats, allowing them to dry according to the bottle directions in between coats.  If you use Mod Podge, be sure to rinse out your brush thoroughly with soap and water when finished so that it does not harden up.



Now it’s time to add the handles! (If you prefer it to be a sign, then just skip this step!) To add the handles, you will need a Phillips head screw driver OR a power drill. Measure or layout your handles so that they are where you want them. Take a screw and press it into the hole where it will attach the first handle and then take the screw driver and press the screw (put a little muscle into this part!) into the wood and this will help you get the screw started as you turn the screw driver. Sometimes even a slight tap using the screw driver to press the point into the wood will help the screw go into the wood more easily as you start turning the screw driver. Insert all four screws WHILE your handle is in place.


I hope you enjoyed this project and can proudly display your tray (or sign) this holiday season! Wishing you a very nice Thanksgiving project month.

Can’t wait to see your projects!