Pallet Wood Tray, Millennials and Farmhouse Style

A pallet wood tray tutorial with two different looks

My concern about millennials, and farmhouse style.

I hope you’ll jump in and share your thoughts about all this today.

Rustic farmhouse style DIY pallet wood tray tutorial |

My oldest son is a millennial.  He and I were talking one day, and I mentioned Joanna Gaines.

He had a blank look on his face like I was talking about Aunt Martha’s cousin’s sister, and he had no idea who that person was.

So I asked, “You do know who Joanna Gaines is, don’t you?”

… No, I’ve never heard of her.

You know, she’s on that show Fixer Upper with her husband?

… Nope, never heard of that either.

I was dumbstruck.

In his defense, we don’t have cable TV, so I could understand and tried not to feel like a total failure of a farmhouse style parent.

So, I asked his girlfriend and told her not to Google before answering me.

At first, she said she didn’t know either.

Then she Googled and said, “Oh yeah, I know her now.  My friends and I watched Fixer Upper a few times.”

Clearly she wasn’t as enamored as I am, or she was too busy studying to graduate from college, so she didn’t have time to watch the show.

So, I asked my middle son… and his girlfriend… and my daughter…

NONE of them had heard of her.

I was dumbfounded.

Seriously, does anyone in the millennial generation like farmhouse style?

Will baby boomers and the Gen X crowd be the last to appreciate this style I thought was so timeless?

Fortunately, I don’t think so.

My niece is a millennial also and is getting married in May.

She asked if my husband and I would make her some pallet wood trays that she can use for her food tables.

I was overjoyed, because these trays are definitely farmhouse style!

DIY reclaimed pallet wood serving tray |

We’re making four of them for her.  Two of them are fairly large and two are a bit smaller.  I’ll show you the tutorial to make them, along with two different looks for them that are both beautiful.

How to Make a Rustic Pallet Wood Tray

  • Take the pallet apart

Remove the top and bottom deck boards first.

You can either pry them off or cut through the nails, which is our preferred method since we like the leaving the nail heads in the wood.

  • Cut stringer board in half between notched sections.

How to make a Pallet Wood Tray Tutorial |

The three boards lying between the stringer sections in the photo below will be the bottom of the tray.

The two boards lying in front will be the front and back edges of the tray.

The two stringer sections on the sides will be the side edges of the tray that a handle will be added to.

How to Make a Pallet Wood Trays for Weddings, Special Events or Home Decor |

  • Attach pieces together as shown below.
  • Stain or paint the wood.
  • Attach handles on sides.

How to Make a Pallet Wood Trays forWeddings, Special Events or Home Decor |

I found some pretty handles with a distressed look that are perfect.

distressed white metal handles for pallet wood trayThis pallet wood tray is about three feet long and not quite two feet wide.

It’s large enough to hold plenty of food, but not so big it couldn’t be used on a coffee table after the wedding.

How to make a reclaimed pallet wood serving tray for weddings, special events and home decor |

I wanted to show it with desert on it, so I had to buy a cheesecake assortment to put on it.

I HAD to. 🙂

DIY Rustic farmhouse style pallet wood serving tray |

I bought the yellow tulips, but these gorgeous daffodils came from my yard.

Spring decorating with spring flowers on rustic pallet wood tray |

For the second look, you can do a dry-brushed coat of paint over the whole tray.

Pallet Wood Tray Tutorial with two different looks |

It really highlights the wood grain and uses less paint than doing a full coat of paint.

pallet wood tray dry brush wood finish |

My niece wants the white versions for her wedding reception, and I can’t wait to see how they look as serving trays filled with food.

DIY distressed white pallet wood tray tutorial |

I’m just overjoyed at least one millennial I know likes farmhouse style … or at least pallet wood trays that are farmhouse style!

I’d love to hear which tray version you like the best – the stained version or the white version?

And I’d appreciate it if you’d pin it! 🙂

Farmhouse style rustic pallet wood trays tutorial |

Farmhouse style rustic pallet wood trays tutorial |

How to make a DIY Farmhouse Style Pallet Wood Tray Tutorial |

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  1. What stain did you use on the dark tray?

  2. Both look great and depending on where I was going to use them would dictate which color. I actually have a place for each ?
    Have a daughter and daughter in law that are millennials and both like Joanna and Fixer Upper.

  3. My daughter is 25 and likes farmhouse style. I know a few others, too.

    Love your trays and thank you for the tutorial. Your niece is getting something special. Especially since you had to get that nasty ol’ cheesecake. I know how hard that must have been.;-)

  4. Sandy McElroy says

    Love them both, but the white would look great onn my kitchen table.

  5. Love them both……..I have some pallets that are now calling my name to be turned into something useful and pretty. Thank You.

  6. I like farmhouse style, but I didn’t really know who Joanna Gaines was either. I have never seen fixer upper. I’m a baby boomer and my oldest is a Gen Z and when she was little one of her favorite shows was Trading Spaces. I’m sure she isn’t a fan of farmhouse style. My youngest is also a Gen Z and she loves vintage so farmhouse for her it is. Love the trays.

    • Lori, I think since my kids have been surrounded by my farmhouse style decor their whole lives, the might be tired of it. I’m excited to see how they’ll decorate their own homes with their own style though!

  7. love them both but would prefer the white washed one. Love getting your emails. You are very talented and an inspiration. Keep the ideas coming. Many blessings to you and your family.

  8. love them both but would prefer the white washed one. Love getting your emails. You are very talented and an inspiration. Keep the ideas coming. Many blessings to you and your family.

  9. Great trays – either style is wonderful, but for me it’s the stained tray. So funny about the millennials. My son is one, and he has gone to several weddings which were held in beautiful barns. He said having a barn wedding or one that was rustic and outdoors was very popular among his age group – either that, or at a venue that was completely unexpected (airport hangar, museum, building rooftop, etc.).

    • Liz, I know barn weddings have become quite popular. The funny thing is that even though my oldest son had no idea who Joanna Gaines is, and isn’t really into farmhouse decor, he wanted to have his own upcoming wedding in a barn, but he’s getting married near LA, and there aren’t many barns there. It makes feel better at least that he wanted to hold his in a barn. 🙂

  10. Love the stained one, although I have tried to use Early American stain and did not get the rich deep color that your pictures always seem to show. I then tried Minwax Honey and got a nice color I love. I think Joanna Gaines is the voice of the style I love and have been searching to put a name on for years. I cannot imagine not having her inspiration in my life. Nor yours either, Angie, as you are directly responsible for some very awesome projects I have done after seeing your ideas. Thanks to both of you from my creative soul.

  11. in 20 years they’ll “discover” farmhouse style and wonder where it’s been all their lives….lol

  12. I don’t think millenials watch much tv, actually. The barn style wedding is popular all over, so I do think there are a lot of people who like farmhouse, or at least rustic style.

  13. Hi Angie, as I said, my husband followed your project and he did a Rustic drawer for me of course it’s not as pretty as yours. HHAHA. So I’ve sent him this one. I’m looking forwads to your next post <3

  14. In defense of millennials, my son and his girlfriend sat me down to watch it with them when I was visiting them. This, of course, thrilled me to no end!

  15. I love the trays, Angie…and each style has a great look!

  16. Great re-purpose project for pallets. I’m sure your niece was thrilled with them at the end.

  17. I like them both but I think I like the stained one better. Guess I have to make some so that I can be sure 😉
    I am almost 50 now (unbelievable!) and have liked “farmhouse” for many years. I have heard of Joanna Gaines, but only because you bloggers keep mentioning her. However, she did not invent farmhouses and I am sure your progeny can enjoy farmhouse style without her, just like I do 🙂
    Thank you for the beautiful tutorial!

  18. LOL, I had to laugh. My two are also millennials and they have no idea who Joanna Gaines is but they do love rustic natural decor, farmhouse or otherwise. You’re trays are both gorgeous Angie, but if I had to chose I’d probably go for the stained one. Maybe because so many people are painting wood without appreciating it’s natural beauty first. The stained tray tells such a lovely story, you can see all the wrinkles and dings 😉

  19. I think the millennials are developing their own simple, cool style that gravitates toward MCM. That said, I think there will always be those who love farmhouse style, though it may go under another name. Who knows! Love your trays–the stained one is my favorite. Love having you party with us at Vintage Charm!

  20. What a funny story! We don’t have TV either, but I watch Fixer Upper when I go to our community gym…I love Chip’s antics! I also love this pallet tray, great work! That wood looks so rich in color and nice and sturdy.

  21. This is a great tutorial on making farmhouse trays from pallet wood. I really love the white washed one.

  22. Hello,
    Could you please let me know how you attached wood? Did you glue pallets together?

    Thank you so much.

  23. Thanks for sharing amazing post

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