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Silverware Tray DIY Shadow Box

How to make a silverware tray DIY shadow box! This is such a cool project and fits for all kinds of personalities!

This is one of my all-time favorite projects – use a silverware tray to make a DIY shadow box! Open the drawer to your nightstand. See all those trinkets and things you love so dearly? Take them out of hiding and give them the proper respect they deserve: Put them in a silverware sorter instead! This project wins four silver stars for innovation.

Think about it – a silverware sorter tucked inside a tea tray that is made into a table collage? Now that’s a crafty idea.

RELATED: Visual storytelling: DIY mixed media shadow box art

And the cool idea is that you can hang it on the wall or do what I did, screw it into a TV tray or other table top, and add a glass top to make it a cool 3-d storyteller table. I used Latin culture as a theme, but you can make one that represents your family or a vacation, or the time of year. If you use a thick piece of tempered glass (have the edges seamed), then you can easily remove it to change out the items.

Mount a silverware tray to a table, add items, top with glass, by CraftyChica.com

Supplies for a silverware tray DIY shadow box:

1 shallow wood silverware tray, approximately 17 x 12 inches

1 standard folding wood TV tray

1 tea tray with a flat top edges, approximately 19 x 14 inches (this will give the box more structure)

1 piece of tempered glass, 1/4 inch thick, edges seamed, 19 x 14 inches

Assorted mementos that will fit inside of the compartments: small dolls, toys, magnets, souvenirs, printed phrases and pictures glued to card stock, alphabet blocks, etc.

Assorted patterned papers

Glues: E6000 Industrial strength adhesive, hot glue

Black spray paint

Spray-on varnish

Handheld drill, electric screwdriver, 1-1/2-inch flat head screws

Double bond tape, 6 feet (purchase with the glass)

Fringe, 2 yards

Scissors, craft knife

Turn a silverware tray into a shadowbox, by CraftyChica.com.

Make it:

The table:

  1. Spray paint the silverware tray, the tea tray and TV tray. Let dry. Spray on two layers of varnish, letting dry between each coat. Let dry.
  2. Stand the TV tray upright. Place the tea tray on top. On each inside corner of the tea tray, use the drill, screwdriver and screws to attach the two pieces together.

The collage:

  1. Now you are going to build the collage inside the silverware tray. Using the craft knife and glue stick, line the back of each compartment of the silverware tray with contrasting papers. For a subdued look, they can be in all the same color family, but just in different hues. Let dry.
  2. Arrange your items in the compartments to your liking. Try to create a balance of large items in one compartment and a grouping of smaller pieces in another. Once you’ve designed the layout you like, use the E6000 to glue the pieces in place. Let dry for 24 hours.


  1. Lift the silverware tray and apply a generous amount to the bottom. Center it inside the table and press down to secure. Let dry for 24 hours.
  2. Clean the glass so it is free of fingerprints and/or or streaks. Cut and apply the bonding tape to the top edges of the tea tray. Carefully place the glass on top and press firmly around the edges. Make sure to line it up correctly because the tape will evaporate as soon as it comes in contact with the glass. Use hot glue to add fringe around the bottom of the tea tray, so it extends below the edge of the TV tray.

Tips: To keep items in place while the E6000 cures, add a drop of hot glue as well. Instead of paint, stain your table for a toned down look. Don’t try to cram everything in the compartments, if you have too many items; just create an extra table to match!

Take it to the next level!

  • If you don’t need an end table, create the piece inside the silverware tray, cover it with glass and hang it as a shadow box instead.
  • Theme your table to vacation trips, family heirlooms, a hobby, or a story (use each compartment for a different reference).
  • Make it reusable. Don’t glue any of the items down and don’t glue down the glass. That way you can change it season by season.

And here is an image you can pin!

How to make a showbox table from a silverware tray by CraftyChica.com.


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1 thought on “Silverware Tray DIY Shadow Box”

  1. Ha! The timing of this project is excellent. I have a tray that came with a child’s play set. I’ve kept the tray because it was so sturdy and made of wood. Now I know what my daughter and I will do with it. Thanks!


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