When I was in college, I made photo frame trays to give as gifts all the time. I hunted thrift stores for a picture frame, painted it a fun color, and attached drawer pulls for handles. In the face of the tray, where a picture would normally go, I added a graphic (usually something loud and colorful that I designed and printed at school).
This is a grown up version made with pretty frames & leather belt handles from Goodwill.
(the name on the mug - that's my Uncle Brad!)
To avoid the 'dorm room' look, I used a skinny leather belt instead of cheap Ikea drawer handles. If you are making this tray as a gift, I suggest using neutral colors like browns, beige, or white that will blend in with most people's home decor. I have learned since those days that not everyone appreciates my weird decorating taste. I made this group for my aunt, uncle and cousins. Last weekend, they came to our rescue when the car died on the side of I-69.
You will need:
wooden picture frame with glass and back
skinny leather belt (not shown, I forgot it)
permanent marker to match the belt color
hot glue gun
Instead of printing a bright image, look for scraps of beautiful textured fabric to place beneath the glass. Most of the fabric I'm working with is unused salvage from upholstery and drapes.
Cut the belt into handle-sized sections; each of mine are four inches long.
If the color of the raw leather in the cut edges is different, 'dye' it to match with your handy permanent marker.
Use the hammer and nails to attach the handles to your frame. Be sure to remove the glass before you do this. If the frame is thin, the nails might poke through to the other side and make it difficult for you to slide the glass in. If this happens, don't panic, just use wire clippers to snip off the excess nail. If you are having trouble, try using a drill to create small guide holes.
Place the back section from your picture frame on the fabric. If you don't have the back, use cardboard or foam core. Fold the fabric over and hot glue it in place.
Once the fabric is attached, put a dab of hot glue in each corner of the glass and set the fabric covered back inside. If the frame has tabs, press them down. Because the fabric makes the back section thicker, I had to use scissors to push down the tabs.
Now it's time to glue on the felt.
This isn't a necessary step, but it looks nice & covers up the choppy looking, glue covered bottom of your tray. It will also prevent the frame from scratching delicate surfaces. Just squeeze a thin line of glue around the tray and press on the felt. I suggest felt because it doesn't fray, but any fabric would do the job.
Then, make a corny card that says, "I wouldn't tray-ed you for the world".....or not, I have a feeling not everyone would appreciate that.