Reader Emails: What To Do With A Printers Tray

I received the following email from Molly, and it was uncanny because I was already drafting a post on this!

My mother in law gave me this cool antique wooden drawer. My initial idea was to hang it on the wall in my 2 year olds room for him to display his cars. But it’s too shallow. I would still like it to hang on a wall but I’m not sure what I could use it for. Any ideas??

Antique printers trays were used exactly as the name states – a tray for printers.  Long ago, varied letterpress letters would be placed in the small compartments for typesetting.  The trays are fairly easy to find at reasonable prices, though some sellers will recognize their increasing appeal and mark them up.   Search your local flea markets for the dusty ones covered in spider webs you can clean up nicely.  Etsy is another great resource – there are several with different looks at different price points.  Look here.

Since Molly originally wanted to use her tray for her little boy, I loved the way these little Lego figures looked in the small compartments.  It’s cute, it is an easy way to organize all of those tiny figurines, and it’s a great fine motor skill activity!

Life Made Creations

If you decide you want to use the tray for yourself, you could always make it into jewelry storage.

Love how the black sets off the metal and colors!

You could always line the backs of the compartments with pictures.

Love the orderly look of using it as thread storage with all of the pretty shades!


26 Letters

Sweet little spice jars.

Travelers Lunchbox

Use small canisters with cork tops (found at hobby/craft stores) for tiny storage.

Torie Jayne

The bead storage is pretty to look at, too!


A display of seeds like this could be covered with plexiglass and made into a cute little table.


If you find a tray like this, it is a very pretty food display for a small gathering!

Stamp organization – a nod to the tray’s original use.

See how to use them in your home!

Source Unknown

Can you believe this storage cabinet??!!

My recommendation to Molly was to place it near the door she walks in and out of when she takes her little ones for a walk.  While on a walk or a special trip, she could have her little boy pick up things he thinks are interesting – a smooth stone, a funny-shaped acorn,. etc.  Then he can place the mementoes in the small slots.  You can even place the tray at your child’s eye level to further engage him/her.

Nature Box Idea via Pure Style Home.

Pure Style Home

Pure Style Home

Pure Style Home

Pure Style Home

Do you have a printers tray?  What are your ideas on how to use it?

Come back next week for some incredible before & after’s, plus photos from one of the most beautiful and unique baby showers I have ever seen!

P.S. – To my dear Subscribers, I am so sorry new posts have not been making it into your inbox the past week or so.  I have still been blogging daily so you have a lot to catch up on!  The email notification glitch has been fixed, and all should resume as normal.  Happy Reading!  xoxo

If you are not a subscriber, and would like to get an email update of each daily post, please enter your email on the right!

If you have a question for me, send it to submissions @AStoriedStyle .com.

5 Responses to “Reader Emails: What To Do With A Printers Tray”

  1. Stephanie October 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    We have one at our beach condo, and it is filled with antique fishing lures!

    • Grace October 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      Oh cool, Stephanie! I bet that is so cute! I’d love to see pics of the space!

      I didn’t know that, Julianne! That will be a neat display! Send me a photo when you’re done!

  2. Julianne October 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    I have one too!! I haven’t put anything in it yet but I planned to put some of Carson’s flies in there. He ties all his own fish flies. Thanks for the blog post!! I love it!! Inspires me! xoxo

  3. brook July 26, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    So what did you use to hang the printer drawer? i tried the 3m commander strips but they did not hold the weight.

    • Grace July 30, 2013 at 2:26 am #

      Hi Brook, I would try some D hooks screwed into the back. You can get these from any hardware store. Thank you for your question, hope that helps! G