Thanksgiving Sign from a Bamboo Serving Tray

Thanksgiving Sign from a Bamboo Serving Tray

 A bamboo serving tray is not exactly a rarity at thrift stores these days. They vary in cleanliness and condition, and when I spotted a stack of them at Habitat Restore, I decided to give one a makeover as my latest project for the Charlotte Region ReStore blog.

Bamboo serving tray at Habitat ReStore on Wendover

My upcycling plan was simple and straightforward: Paint and stencil the tray.

But the best part is that it would be a double duty DIY, as both a serving tray and a Thanksgiving sign! Aside from this pilgrim hat craft (ALSO from a Habitat ReStore find), I haven’t done too many Thanksgiving-specific projects.

pilgrim hat craft from a light baffle

But, it seemed like this was a ripe opportunity to rectify that. So, let’s get crackin’ (and crafting)…

Vintage Thanksgiving postcards and turkeys

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience, and was also sponsored by the Charlotte Region ReStore(s). All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related post.

Double Duty DIY with a Bamboo Serving Tray

Here’s a better view of the bamboo serving tray. I selected the cleanest of the lot, but even after some careful scrubbing, a few stubborn stains wouldn’t go away.

Vintage bamboo tray to be DIY Thanksgiving decor

Those stains made it easy for me to decide to paint it, though! And I selected a creamy off-white shade of spray paint to give me a fresh and clean surface for stenciling.

upcycling a bamboo tray into a thanksgiving sign

Next, I gave it two full coats of paint and was quite pleased at how it turned out. Clean and bright and ready for further embellishing!

bamboo serving tray that's been painted white

I loved that the herringbone pattern of the woven bamboo was still visible through the paint!

Anyway, it was then time to transform the tray into a Thanksgiving sign. I selected and sized the perfect stencil, which I purchased it from this online shop.

thankful stencil for a thanksgiving sign and decor

Next, I carefully stenciled the word and willow branches in two different colors to complete my Thanksgiving sign.

making a thanksgiving sign

Lastly, I made sure the stenciling was completely dry before giving the entire tray and light topcoat with a clear satin spray. And that was it! Ready to see how it turned out?

Thanksgiving Sign from a Bamboo Serving Tray

When all was said and done, I was left with a fresh and elegant makeover. It has a bit of a farmhouse look (which I’ve been moving away from doing), but I love how it turned out nonetheless!

Using a Thanksgiving stencil on a vintage bamboo tray

I actually thought about finishing it up by wrapping the ends (where you’d consider the handles to be) with jute twine. But, in the end, I went without and left the handles as they were

I think it’d be a fine embellishment, though, don’t you?

DIY Thanksgiving decor from a bamboo serving tray

Either way, it’s hard to beat such a simple project that has two potential uses.  It could be a tray set out on a coffee table for drinks (in lieu of coasters) or snacks. OR you could prop it up against the wall as a Thanksgiving sign.

Which way do you think you’d use it as?

I think I’m partial to it as a sign. But maybe that’s because I’m selfish and don’t want drinks or snacks covering up my stenciling work!

I hope you enjoyed this super simple, but very effective upcycling idea for a bamboo serving tray! And as always, I always encourage you to visit this tutorial on the Charlotte Region ReStores’ blog, as well.

DIY Thanksgiving decor with vintage and thrifted items

Either way, may your Thanksgiving this year be safe, peaceful, and full of food and love!

And don’t forget that my first book, “Crafting with Flannel”, is now available! It even contains its own tray project- with a touch of flannel, of course…

fabric lined tray from crafting with flannel

You can purchase it online from Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart!

Plus, I have an entire blog post dedicated to other upcycling ideas for Thanksgiving– a few of my projects, as well as others’, too!

upcycling ideas with a thanksgiving aesthetic

Craft on!


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repurposed tray as a thanksgiving sign


Upcycling a bamboo serving tray as a Thanksgiving sign

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Great project, turned out nice!

  2. I really like it as a wall sign. If you use it as a tray, give it a couple of coats of clear protective spray to save your stencils. I think it would go well in all decors! I’d also be tempted to stencil another holiday word/picture on the back, hang it by the “rail” or add some jute and make it do “double duty.”

  3. I saw one of these same trays last week at a local thrift and didn’t pick it up.😞 I’ll check back today. Maybe I’ll be lucky. Your tray is so simple and I mean that in a good way. Thankful says it all.

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