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Complete timber desktop paper tray with pot plant and books on desk.


This minimalist yet modern D.I.Y. paper tray is a perfect addition to any home office.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment. Work in a well-ventilated area when working with cutting tools.


1Measure and mark the trays

Because the paper tray shelves are offset, mark the underside of the first MDF tray as the ‘base’. Mark the second tray as the ‘top’. Mark the ‘front’ sides of both the base and the top tray.

On the base, from the front, mark 245mm and 195mm on both sides.

On the top, from the front, mark 205mm and 155mm.

Green Bunnings hammer
Pro tip: A combination square makes easy work of marking out repeat measurements, such as pre-drilling holes for screws or checking the distance from edges.
A person marks an MDF tray using a ruler and a pencil.

2Pre-drill to prepare for side rails

Use a 3mm bit to pre-drill holes through the sides, 15mm down from the top edge. Smooth over with 180-grit abrasive paper to remove breakout, then wipe away dust with a cloth.
A drill used to pre-drill holes in the sides of MDF trays.

3Paint the trays

Apply two coats of water-based enamel paint all over using an angled paintbrush, leaving to dry thoroughly after each coat.

Green Bunnings hammer
Pro tip: Paint the underside first and leave to dry. Next, position the trays on offcuts to paint the rest.
A person applies water-based enamel paint over an MDF tray.

4Cut and varnish the side rails

Cut two 170mm side rails from 90mm x 12mm DAR Tasmanian oak with a mitre saw. Smooth with 180-grit abrasive paper, rounding over the edges slightly, and wipe away dust with a damp cloth. Use a small brush to seal with two coats of clear varnish, leaving to dry after each coat.

*Timbers vary by state and territory; contact your local store for further information.  

A person uses a combination square to measure pieces of DAR tasmanian oak timber.

5Fasten the rails to the base tray

With the base tray flat on the workbench, position the rails against the sides, 175mm from the front, securing with 20mm button head screws through the pre-drilled holes from the inside.
Green Bunnings hammer
Pro tip: Use white-head screws if you have them.
A person using a drill to secure button head screws in a MDF tray.

6Secure the top tray

Turn the assembly on its side to position the top tray between the rails, 135mm from the front, securing with 20mm button head screws through the pre-drilled holes from the inside. 

Green Bunnings hammer
Pro tip: Use a combination square to check the measurements.
A person using a drill to secure button head screws in a MDF tray.

7Want more home office D.I.Y. projects?

Take a look at our genius filing cabinet hack. It's a filing cabinet - in disguise! 


Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered.

Photo Credit: Natasha Dickins

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.