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Cub Scout Wood Projects: Build a Tray

Free woodworking plans for an easy wooden tray! Kids of all ages will love building one. Perfect for Baloo the Builder & Build It Cub Scout adventures.

woodworking for kids how to build a tray

One of the most awesome things we do at our Cub Scout day camp is building wood projects

For some of our Scouts, this is the first time they've used hammers and screwdrivers.  The kids (and their parents) are so proud of their projects!

Our wood projects list by rank has been the same for at least the last seven years since I've been involved with the camp.  The items vary in difficulty depending on rank.

building wooden tray for kids

We continue doing the same wood projects every year so that if a Scout comes to day camp every year, they'll have five different projects.

Here's a list of the wood projects by rank:

Adventures Involving Building

In the Cub Scout program, there are three adventures that involve building something out of wood.  Even though the other ranks aren't working on an adventure by making a birdhouse or tray, they are working on skills that will be important for them in the future.

Tiger Adventure – My Tiger Jungle 5:  Build and hang a birdhouse.

Bear Adventure – Baloo the Builder 3:  Assemble your materials, and build one useful project and one fun project using wood.

Webelos & AOL Elective Adventure – Build It 2:  With the guidance of your Webelos den leader, parent, or guardian, select a carpentry project and build it.

Tray Plans

You can download the instructions and the accompanying diagram by entering your email below.

Tray Costs

I calculated the cost of the project by using the Home Depot online prices.  I used the best price available, so the price for 66.5″ of 1″ x 4″ pine was calculated based on a 1″ x 4″ x 8′ board.

  • 66.5″ of 1″ x 4″ pine – $4.34
  • 9.5″ of 1″ x 6″ pine – $0.54
  • 10″ of 1″ x 2″ pine – $0.20
  • 26 – 6d nails – $0.65
  • 6 – 3d nails – $0.04

The retail price total is $5.77 per tray.  My post about building chairs has some ideas on ways to get lumber more inexpensively for your wood projects.

cub scout woodworking project tray

Time Needed to Build Tray

Our Scouts go to the wood shop for two back-to-back 50 minute sessions on two consecutive days.  The Wolves usually finish their trays a bit early, depending on how much an adult helps them. 

Drilling pilot holes for them speeds up the process, so I recommend that you do this.

I estimate that it will take your Wolves about 3 hours to do this project.  This time would include a short safety talk.

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After doing this for so long, we've learned some things.  Here are a few suggestions for you.

  • Pre-cut the wood. Since we have 200 Scouts at our camp, there are usually a couple of wood cutting parties before camp.
  • Pre-drill pilot holes.  This will help the kids who have trouble driving in the nails.
  • Have plenty of helpers.  Our local Scouts BSA troops help us during day camp.  If you're doing this as a den or pack, contact the troop to ask for help.
  • The Cub Scouts should write their names and den numbers in crayon on all of their wood pieces as soon as they get them.
  • You'll want to keep your lumber covered.  The National Guard loaned us “GP Mediums” (large canvas tents) under which to store the wood at day camp.  If you're working with fewer Scouts, you can store it in your garage.
  • Be patient!  Or at least as patient as you can be in the heat with a bunch of kids hammering around you.  🙂

The Scouts will be so proud of their accomplishment when they finish their trays!

cub scout with diy wood project tray

If your Cub Scouts make the trays, let me know!  I would love to see a picture of them.

Yours in Scouting,

P.S.  Take a look at the chairs that our Arrows of Light made!

wooden tray project


Wednesday 13th of March 2024

I would love the plans for the tray. Thanks.

Kimberly Chromicz

Thursday 14th of March 2024

Hi there,

I’ve emailed you the printable. Enjoy!

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