I love serving dishes, and have a fair collection. My mom has even more, and graciously lets me use her house like a completely awesome, free prop shop. ;-) But sometimes even she doesn't have quite what I need.
When that happens, sometimes I buy something for my collection, but more often, I like to make it.
Like these rope basket serving trays I made for the Rain Gutter Regatta and the Nautical Wedding Inspiration photo shoot. They're fast and easy and inexpensive to make, and I didn't have to buy something similar and much more expensive from Pottery Barn!
Start by cutting the foam core board in whatever shape you'd like the tray to be. Circles are easier than rectangles in general, and especially if you're using pretty stiff rope. If you want to cover the foam core board with either paint or decorative paper, do so now, before any of the rope is attached.
Use the glue gun to attach the first layer of rope around the outside edge of the foam core board. Don't glue on top of the board; actually glue around the perimeter of the foam board shape, so you won't see any raw edges when you're using the finished basket.
Continue coiling and building the rope walls up, using the hot glue gun to attach the layers as you build up. Once you've reached your desired height, cut two small lengths of rope for the handles, and glue to the inside of the basket.
It only takes a few minutes, less than $2 of material, and looks perfect in a nautical or rustic setting. I'm planning to re-use my rope baskets this Thanksgiving, in fact!