in partnership
If leather isn't your thing, we've added options on how to use parchment paper or fabric scraps instead (Image: Kate Sigafoos / Seattle Refined)

DIY: Leather Tray

I have several go-to life hacks I rely on to make my life run smoothly. When I don't have time for a shower, I don't sweat it. I put my hair in a top knot and slap on some red lipstick to distract from the filth. When I don't have time to make my promised dessert for the potluck, I don't stay up all night baking. I hit up the blueberry muffins at the grocery store and dress them up with a store bought lemon curd center. Dessert is made in 5 minutes tops and I get a good night of sleep.

I treat my home d├ęcor and crafting with a similar life hack approach. If the living room needs a spruce up a white throw pillowcase and a wide tipped sharpie are the only materials I need to jazz up the joint. Today's craft was a life hack I came up with when our plain Ikea tray became damaged but I wanted to keep using it. I fancied up a leather scrap I had lying around (yes, I actually do have leather scraps lying around my home) and made it a little more lux in the process. Knowing that leather isn't for everyone, I have also included instructions for using paper or fabric to achieve the same result.

As a total aside, have you ever been to MacPherson's Leather Company in the International District? It is my absolute favorite place to buy leather scraps in Seattle. The leather I used for my tray was part of a large scrap I bought for $26. I used the same scrap to make a clutch purse and still have a lot leftover. Not a bad deal!


  • Ikea tray
  • Screwdriver
  • Paper, fabric, or thin leather scrap large enough to cover entire bottom of tray.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Foam brush
  • Ruler
  • Hole Punch
  • If using paper - pen. If using leather - needle.

How To
  1. Remove the screws from one end of the tray and slide out the bottom.
  2. Lay bottom of tray on paper/fabric/leather and trace it to fit.
  3. Cut out the rectangle of your covering of choice.
  4. If you are using paper or fabric, mark a border on the wrong side of the paper and punch it out with the hole punch. My border had a hole every 1/4 inch. If you are using leather, mark your pattern by making pin marks on the right side and then following up with the hole punch.
  5. If using fabric or leather, you might need to trim away any little flaps of leather on the wrong side that did not come all the way off with the hole punch.
  6. Using your foam brush apply an even layer of glue to the wrong side of your patterned covering.
  7. Stick the covering to the top side of the tray bottom and smooth it out as best you can.
  8. Let the glue dry fully before moving on.
  9. Once your glue is totally dry, slide the tray back into the frame and screw it back together.