With Father’s Day just around the corner, this project is a nice gift. I have given these to several of the men in my life, and they have been warmly received and used! It was the gray wool sweater on the left side of the photo which suggested this project to me. It had a lovely band around the neck edge and down the front that I thought would make an attractive edge for this collapsible tray. The sweater was already felted so that all I had to do to get started was to remove the band from the sweater and then cut out two rectangles (about 5 1/2″ x 8″) from the gray felt. To give some stability to the bottom of the tray, I cut a piece of stiff material (cardboard, foam core board, or plastic canvas) into a rectangle just slightly smaller than the wool ones. I sandwiched this between the two pieces of gray wool and then pinned the blue band to the edges of the rectangles. The hardest part of attaching the band to the bottom was mitering the corners, but eventually, I had a flat gray bottom surrounded by a neat blue band. The final thing I did was to sew snaps into each corner so that the sides of the tray would stand up. The snaps allow the corners to be opened and flattened back out for packing flat in a suitcase. This way, there is a special place for keys, change, pens, etc. even in a hotel room.
Update 2/16 – This tray can be made even more inexpensively when it is constructed of fused plastic shopping bags and salvaged plastic. Though this one is designed for a lady, the decorative image in the center can be anything you desire. To make that part, I cut the shapes I wanted from colored shopping bags and used my iron to fuse them onto the center portion of a sheet I had already made. I used only enough heat to fuse the colored pieces down and made quick passes with my iron. The pieces for the sides and bottom were cut from plastic packaging. By using Velcro pieces in place of the snaps, I was able to make this tray for only the cost of the Velcro and some thread!