How to Personalize a Lap Tray

Incorporate a few of your favorite things into this memento made from a picture frame and clay.

Materials and Tools:



11-by-14-inch wooden picture frame with glass
6-inch wooden legs
Fimo clay: blue 374, green 50, red 26, orange 42, yellow 16, pink 201, black, white
white acrylic paint
mementoes and scrapbook embellishments
polyurethane glass varnish
quick-set epoxy
pasta maker
brayer or roller
glue stick


1. Paint wooden legs with acrylic paint and set aside to dry.

2. Remove the glass from the picture frame. Cover the frame (top and sides only) with a thin layer of black clay (No. 4 on the pasta maker).

3. Create various clay canes.

  • To make a beach-call cane, roll eight logs (four yellow and one each of blue, red, green and orange) about 4 by ¼ inches. Gently pinch each log, forming a triangle. The top of each triangle should be carefully nudged to the right, making a slight slant or bend. Set all aside. Roll one white snake 4 by 1/8-inch. Attach the triangular shapes (top portion of triangle) to the white snake, alternating yellow between each color, making a uniform log shape. Once all colors are attached, roll the log until it's smooth and you've reduced it to the desired size.
  • To make a sun cane, make two sheets using the yellow and pink clay (No. 2 on the pasta maker). Place one sheet on top of the other, staggering them slightly, and cut one large rectangle. The rectangle should be at least 2½ times longer than it is wide. Flatten one short end with a brayer or rolling pin, making a long, thin taper. Start at the tapered end and tightly roll the sheets, forming a log. Press the end down gently and continue to roll the log with your hand to reduce it to the desired size. Roll one long log (about the width of a pencil) using orange clay (this will be the sun rays), and cut it into 4-inch lengths (you'll need at least eight). Repeat the same steps using yellow clay (which will be the filler clay between the rays). Pinch the top of each orange and yellow 4-inch length, making a triangular shape. Use the brayer or rolling pin to flatten the sides if necessary. Add the rays and filler pieces to the jellyroll, starting by attaching the bottom of one of the orange triangles. Then add one of the yellow triangles to the jellyroll, but in the opposite direction. Continue adding triangles to the jellyroll in an alternating fashion until it's completely covered, making one uniform log. Roll the log until it's smooth and reduced to the desired size.

4. Cover the entire surface of frame (top and sides only) with various clay cane slices. Once the frame is covered, use the brayer to smooth all the edges and blend the clay together, forming a smooth surface.

5. Bake the clay frame according to the manufacturer's instructions, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

6. Apply a coat of clear gloss glaze.

7. To create the memory portion of the tray, use the cardboard backing from the frame as your guide. Cut a piece of decorative paper the size of the cardboard, which will serve as the background, and glue it in place. Add embellishments and mementoes as desired. Occasionally, lay the frame glass over the memory board to ensure layout that it's even and looks pleasing to the eye.

8. Return the glass to frame, gently placing it over the completed memento page. Once it's in place, flip the frame over and finish by pressing the staples down on the back of frame (as you would if you were putting a normal picture in a frame).

9. Attach wooden legs with wood glue. Set aside and allow to dry per manufacturer's recommendations.

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