Justin Newcombe has the perfect vehicle for a Mother's Day treat.
There's been a lot of washing, cooking, cleaning, tearful sticking plaster application (and removal). A lot of butt-wiping and, when it is needed, a bit of butt-kicking. Yep mums do it all and in some cases have to be dads too. So for Dads out there, it is time to round up the troops and try to get them to give something back in a coherent, thoughtful kind of way rather than the two minute biro drawing she got last year (not naming names of course).
This is a really easy project anybody in the family can help with, so start this weekend to give the kids plenty of time for the decorating and artwork. The main part of the tray is the base. For this I've laminated fabric on to a piece of board, a technique known as decoupage. This is the part the kids can get stuck into and could be any sort of material or paper including photographs or other family memorabilia, pictures of mum's favourite things or some of the things you're most grateful for. Of course you can mix and match all of the above.
I used PVA glue which is water-based and less likely to stain or discolour the fabric. If you are using paper instead of fabric, do a small test before you start to make sure the glue won't damage the image. Be sure with paper to smooth out the air bubbles as this can affect the finish.
The sides of the tray are basically ply offcuts from the workshop but you could use something finer and varnish it. I've made basic handles out by cutting and filing slots into the ply but Bunnings have a huge range of handles that will add that little bit of extra finish.
Finally, don't forget it's not Mother's breakfast or Mother's morning, its Mother's Day. Your breakfast tray is just the beginning.
Measure and cut the baseboard out for the bottom of the tray. Make sure it's big enough for plates, cups, cutlery etc, but still manageable for a small wait-person.
Cut out the fabric so it is an inch or two bigger than the board. Apply a generous amount of PVA glue to the board and spread it out evenly making sure you reach into all the corners. Carefully apply the fabric to the board, smoothing it to make sure you remove bubbles and excess glue.
If you are taking a multimedia approach, instead of using one piece of fabric, glue and smooth each layer of pictures, allowing each one to dry before you add more.
Once the glue is dry trim the edges with a file, then apply the varnish. I've used a water-based gloss varnish because it dries faster and is much easier to tidy up. You'll need to apply at least three coats allowing each one to dry before applying the next.
Measure and cut the sides of the tray. I've allowed for handle slots in the side pieces so they are deeper than the front and back pieces. If you are using handles from Bunnings, all the sides can be the same depth. Cut the slots in the side pieces to form the handles. I've used a drill and file but you could use a jigsaw.
Join the sides together to form a frame (I've used dowels to do this) then paint. Attach separate handles once the final coat of paint has dried.
Screw and glue the frame to the backing.By Justin Newcombe Email Justin