The Free Desk That Keeps on Giving

Have you ever been given something for free and you really did not want to have the item?  You felt that you should just take the item and deal with it later.  I had this happen to me several times but let me tell you about my free desk and how it keeps on giving!  

I was purchasing a few items from Mr. DD’s friend who offered to sell me a few furniture pieces that I could repaint and sell at my shop.  When we arrived to pick up a buffet and old sewing machine, he showed us an old oak desk that was his father’s.  His father had passed away a few months earlier and he was helping his mom sell and move to a new place.  The BIG old desk would just not have a home in the new place so Bill said take it, I don’t care what happens to it, we just need it gone.  So since we had room in the truck, we made it happen.  



I knew the desk was just too BIG and outdated for someone to give it a new home so I decided to take it apart and use it in other means.  This is not the desk, I forgot to take a before photo.  The desk was very similar to this style.  

The first gift from the desk was the top.  I gave it to my friend and co-worker who used it to transform a dresser into a kitchen island for a charity auction.  The kitchen island raised well over $600 for the Habitat for Humanity.  

The second gift was using the back of the desk for the seat on this bench.


And the next gift is a repurposed desk serving tray! 

I used the pull out trays from the desk to make a few serving trays and this one is going back to Bill This will be a small reminder of the desk his dad once owned. 

I also made a few other trays for gifts and to sell at the shop using the pullouts from desks and a few leftover pieces of wood from other projects.  

Stick with me to see how I made them and to also see the other fun projects that were made as gifts from the Power Tool Challenge Team! 

Designed Decor – Repurposed Wood Serving Tray

Domestically Speaking – Coastal Terra Cotta Christmas Lantern

Virginia Sweet Pea – DIY Wood Lanterns for Christmas

My Repurposed Life – DIY Christmas Lanterns Made from Porch Lights

H2OBungalow – DIY Large Wooden Snowflake

Create and Babble – Oversized Wooden Magnetic Christmas Ornament


I started with pullouts from 2 different desks and 2 more pieces from “the pile”

I cut them down to a serving tray size.  I only needed to shorten each piece, because they all were the perfect width.  

I used my table router and made a nice edge around all on sides of the trays.  


Stained and Painted! 


I added some amazing looking handles from Cliffside Industries.  These handles are the finishing touch that the trays needed.  They made them go from plain looking boards to a great serving tray.  Stop over and make sure you check out the great hardware selection that Cliffside Industries has to offer.  The toughest part about making the serving trays were selecting the cabinet hardware to go with them.  

Products used to stain and finish trays: 

General Finishes Gel Stain in Black, Java & New Pine

General Finishes Milk Paint in White, Persian Blue & Seagull Gray

Maison Blanche Wax in clear & dark brown

 Cliffside Industries Hardware- Click on the image below to find out more information about each handle.  

 I still have a lot left from the “free desk that keeps giving.”  I need to find a fun use for all the desk drawers and I have a few side panels. 

Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter and you can be informed of all new posts! 


Join the DD Community!

Socialmediabutton 200x200

Join the Designed Decor Community and receive weekly free tips on DIY home projects, painted furniture, decorating, and much more.

Gain Free Access to the DD Community! Powered by ConvertKit

15 Responses to Repurposed Desk Serving Tray

  1. Beautiful trays! But what did you use to paint the birds?? I have the same pair of birds in the original ceramic with blue trimmed feathers. I love what you did to them!

    • Mary, I bought these this way. I would suggest you use a spray paint in metallic to achieve this same look and if the spray paint color is too bright, you can tone it down with a black or brown wax or glaze.

  2. Amazing projects out of one desk! It was a beautiful desk, but now it lives on in so many projects. I love them all–and the trays are so sweet!

  3. Way to make great use of this desk! Your friend is going to love the tray you made for him and the others should sell like hotcakes in your shop. The stained and painted versions of your trays are all so pretty!

I love to hear your feedback, please leave comments!