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Small Tray with Laser Cut Veneer

For quite some time, I wanted to experiment with laser-cut veneer, and finally, I had the idea for the ideal project: a small decorative tray.


  • 6 mm Poplar Plywood
  • Cherry Veneer
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Glue



The tray measures 230 x 110 mm (9 x 4.3 in) and will be 25 mm (0.9 in) high. The base structure will be made from 6 mm poplar plywood and later completely covered with veneer.

I designed the parts for the tray in Fusion360. Then I used Inkscape to draw the veneer parts. I made the veneer parts slightly larger than necessary. My thought behind this was that it’s always better to have a bit of extra material to account for slight inconsistencies when assembling. For the center, I drew a Kumiko-inspired pattern, which will be engraved in the veneer.

You can download the cut file below.

Download –  Veneered Tray SVG

Laser Cutting the Veneer and other Parts

Cutting out the plywood was pretty straightforward. I used small magnets to hold the veneer flat on the honeycomb and also disabled air assistance, as small parts can easily be blown away and end up in places where you don’t want them.

Gluing the Inside Veneer

I started with the veneer on the inside parts. When gluing veneer, it’s crucial to ensure a thin layer of glue covers the entire area. I sandwiched the parts between two even surfaces, applying pressure with clamps while the glue was drying.

Once the glue had dried, I cut off the excess veneer with a sharp utility knife. As mentioned earlier, designing the veneer parts slightly larger than necessary was unnecessary for the inside sections. The laser’s precision, accounting for kerf correctly, could have saved me some work here.

Cutting the excess veneer

Building the Tray

Next, I built the tray by gluing all five parts together.

Middle part with laser cut veneer and engraved pattern
Assembling the individual parts of the tray

Building the Tray and Outside Veneer

Finally, it was time to veneer the outside. This took some time because I could not glue all sides at once.

I started with the bottom, followed by the short sides, then the long sides, and ended with the top.

After each side, I trimmed the excess veneer using a combination of my utility knife, a small hand plane, and sandpaper. It was a slow process and you have to work carefully but I enjoyed the work!

Trimming the excess veneer

Oil finish

I finished everything with two coats of linseed oil.

Applying linseed oil as a finish on the tray with laser cut veneer

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Decorative tray with engraved pattern made from plywood and laser cut veneer

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