How to make a wicker tray useable to carry drinks when entertaining while giving the tray a colorful style boost at the same time. When colorful fabric is added to them, they can even be used to hang as art on your walls.
Post updated: June 16, 2020
I like wicker baskets and trays of all sizes and shapes. I enjoy finding ways to use them to decorate my house and make them useable in ways that they may not have been intended for.
At a thrift store recently I came across this lot of baskets and two trays, one with a hole in the middle that I didn’t think would be usable for anything until I remembered the white wicker tray that I used for the little table I made a few weeks ago for my living room. It had a solid wood bottom.
This gave me all the incentive I needed as I knew I could add a solid insert and make the tray usable –so I brought it home along with the other baskets you see in the photo and got to work.
I love using wicker trays – they remind me of the beach, but the uneven weave of the wicker is not the best for carrying drinks – they tip too easily.
A solid bottom insert is needed in the wicker tray for stability. I made an insert for each of the trays using a piece of Dollar Store FomCor, fabric, and Heat N’ Bond Iron-On Vinyl.
Best of all – now I have a matching set of trays. I bought the fabric at JoAnn’s Fabrics. It is by Waverly: pattern Luminary.
How To Make Wicker Tray Fabric Covered Inserts
- Rigid cardboard or Fom-Cor from the Dollar Store.
- Optional: Heat N’Bond Vinyl – You can find Heat N’ Bond Vinyl at any sewing store. It is sold in packages and by the yard.
- Craft knife
- Clear wide packaging tape
1. Measure the bottom of the tray and cut the cardboard or FomCor to size. For a round tray, use a compass set to the diameter of the tray bottom to create the perfect circle.
2. Make sure the inserts fit inside the trays and lay flat. Trim if needed.
3. Lay FomCor inserts on wrong side of fabric and cut around leaving a 2” – 3” of fabric all around. This excess fabric will be used to fold to underside of FomCor.
4. Press fabric and then apply Heat N’ Bond Vinyl on right side of fabric.
How to Apply Heat N’Bond Vinyl to Fabric
Heat N’Bond Vinyl is very easy to apply:
- First, peel the paper backing from the vinyl, lay the sticky side of the vinyl down on the right side of fabric.
- Next, lay the shiny side of the paper backing on top of the vinyl (the paper backing acts as a pressing cloth between the vinyl and iron)
- Then press to adhere.
- Remove the paper backing.
- Let it cool.
Now your fabric is vinyl-ized and protected. It can be wiped clean with a wet cloth.
How to Attach Vinyl-ized Fabric to Circular Insert
1. Lay the fused fabric right side down and center the FomCor insert on top. Cut the corners off of the fabric when working with a circular insert as you do not need the excess at the corners.
2. Create a round shape around the insert, but leave enough to wrap around to the back side. You don’t want to add too much fabric bulk when you bring the fabric to the back of the insert.
3. Bring the fabric around the edge to the back side of the FomCor and using your fingers pleat the fabric so it neatly follows the circular shape.
4. Use tape to hold the pleats into place while you are working on it.
5. Once you have the fabric attached – use tape to secure.
How to Attach Vinyl-ized Fabric to Rectangular Insert
To cover a square or rectangular shape is much easier. Wrap the fabric around the FomCor as if you were wrapping a gift. Use clear packaging tape to attach.
IMPORTANT TIP: When covering either shape, make sure to keep the pleats and corners as flat as possible.
Turn the fabric covered FomCor over and insert into your tray.
Now you can safely carry glasses on a wicker tray. If the fabric gets dirty, it can be easily wiped clean.
Other Decorative Ideas Using Heat N’ Bond
You can see that the Heat N’Bond doesn’t change the fabric, it just protects it.
Heat N’ Bond Vinyl is one of my favorite products. It comes in shiny and matte finishes. See others decorative ways I use it: