Need a place to rest your book and your wine glass during bath time? This DIY bathtub tray is the perfect perch for just that! You can make this bath tray with a book holder using basic DIY skills and for about $20.
If you read my Caftans and Cocktails post, then you may remember I talked about how I wanted to share more simple DIY projects this year – doable, non-expensive projects that require simple materials, basic DIY skills and maybe power tools occasionally – but no fancy ones.
Good, simple DIY.
As promised, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite blogger friends and we are going to share with you a simple DIY project every other month throughout the year. We are all really excited to “get back to our roots” so to speak.
If you’re coming over from Laura’s blog, The Turquoise Home, welcome! She is giving a great tutorial today on how to patch holes in drywall, so if you haven’t been there yet, be sure to after you leave here. There are also links at the end of this post to all the other bloggers getting back to the basics today as well.
My project today is actually the brainchild of the Circus…
A DIY Bathtub Tray
Right around the first of the year, she proclaimed that she needed a tray in the tub so that she could sip on her drink and read a book while bathing. And while she was a touch dramatic about it, I did think it was a pretty damn good idea. Since she insists on using my bathtub, I might as well make something that’s going to benefit not only her, but me too in the process.
We wanted a bathtub tray that had a book rest, as well as a rim to help keep things from getting bumped and easily falling overboard. We were able to make this one for about $20, a little wood glue and some (very easy and simple) cuts.
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DIY Bathtub Tray with Book Holder
Obviously, bathtub sizes differ. Our tray was made to fit a bathtub that is 31 1/2″ wide, outside edge to outside edge. You can easily adjust the measurements with this tray to fit any size bathtub. 🙂
Supplies and Tools Needed:
- 1 – 12″ x 3′ Pine Board or another similar board of your choice. I went with this one because it was the cheapest good piece of wood I could find in the length I needed. This bad boy was only $7 y’all. It’s my new go-to wood for projects.
- 1 – 1″ x 2″ x 8′
- 1 – 1″ x 2″ x 4′
- Wood Glue
- Long Bar Clamps or Hammer and Finish Nails or Nail Gun (I used just clamps, but if you don’t have those, you can use one of the other options to keep the boards in place as the glue dries.)
- Circular Saw or Chop Saw or Miter Saw (you are only having to make straight cuts, so any one of those will do)
- Handles – I used these screen door handles because they were the cheapest and still looked good.
- Spray Paint in Color of Your Choice – mine is Krylon Peacock Blue
Cut your big board, the 12″ x 3′ pine board, down to 33 1/4″. If your bathtub is not as wide as mine, then I suggest cutting the board down to where you have about a 1 1/2″ overhang on each side.
Cut two pieces of the 1″ x 2″ x 8′ down to the length of the long sides of your tray base, the board you just cut. If you’re following my same dimensions, this should be 33 1/4″ as well.
Run wood glue along each long side of the tray base.
Place each of the 1″ x 2″s you cut along the edges of the tray base where you applied the glue and clamp together.
Be sure that the bottom of the 1″ x 2″ pieces are flush with the bottom edges of the tray base as shown below.
Let the pieces stay clamped together for a few hours or so.
Cut two more pieces of 1″ x 2″ from the same 8′ long strip you already cut down to the width of the tray. If you’re following my exact measurements, this should be 13 9/16″.
Apply wood glue to the short edges of the tray base, just as you did on the long edges. Put the 1″ x 2″ pieces you just cut along the edges and clamp together.
Let the pieces stay clamped together for a few hours.
*Note: This step creates wood blocks to go on the underside of the try to prevent it from getting knocked over the edge of the tub. If you aren’t concerned with this, you can skip this step. I however have a crazy six year old – we need them. 😉
Take the uncut 1″ x 2″ x 4′ and cut two 6″ long pieces from it.
Flip the tray over and using wood glue, attach each of these pieces 3 1/2″ inside from the short outside edge of the tray.
Carefully flip the tray back over on a level surface and then place heavy objects on the tray and let it sit for a few hours.
Sand the tray smooth as needed.
Caulk around the inside edges of the tray.
With the remaining 1″ x 2″ x 4′, cut two pieces that are each 10 1/2″ long.
Apply wood glue to the “skinny side” of one of these pieces and place it in the center of one of the long edges of the tray, atop the edge as shown below.
Use clamps to hold it in place for a few hours.
Take the remaining cut 10 1/2″ long 1″ x 2 piece, apply wood glue to the skinny side and place it in front of of the 1″ x 2″ you just attached to the tray edge. I placed mine 3 1/2″ out from the tray back so it could accommodate thicker books. You can play around with it before gluing it to decide where your piece would best fit.
Place something heavy on top of this piece after gluing it to keep it set in place as it drys.
I didn’t have clamps that would fit around the back of the tray and over to this piece, so we got creative.
Spray paint your tray – I did about three coats.
Attach your handles to the short sides of the tray. I do suggest drilling a pilot hole first so you don’t crack the wood with the hardware screws.
Bathtub / Tub Faucet / Art Above Tub
We love how our tray turned out and have already put it to use! The only complaint from the Circus was that she didn’t get her bright turquoise paint on it.
I told her if she was going to always hijack my tub, then she was going to have to compromise on the paint color. 😉
Here’s to simple DIY projects that also prove themselves to be quite functional. Be sure to head over to Making Home Base and see how simple it is to frame a canvas! Don’t miss the other Back to the Basics DIY Projects below as well:
DIY Framed Canvas at Making Home Base | Settee Makeover at So Much Better with Age | How to Patch Drywall at The Turquoise Home
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Linda C Johnston says
Just pinned this one! Tell Circus I love the simplicity of her project. P.S. I like turquoise too!
I will be sure to tell her, Linda!! Thank you!
I so need this! Kept forgetting to buy one AND was afraid it wouldn’t fit. Glad I didn’t. Will be making me one instead ?
Awesome, Susan!! And this way, you can pick your own color to paint it!
Susan the Farm Quilter says
Awesome tray!!! Now, how do you make one that fits the old fashioned bath tubs that are mashed against the tile wall with about an inch of edge on the wall side?? Perhaps having the two braces underneath sandwich the outside edge of the tub so it can’t go either way…hmmm, may need to give this one a go because I also need somewhere for my book, drink and snacks (you know how those 4 hour soaks make ya hungry!!)! Did you use nails on this at all or are you just depending on the glue to hold?
Thanks, Susan! I was actually thinking about that as I was doing this one. I would butt my tray edge right up to the wall and leave about 1 – 1 1/2″ overhang on the other side. And yep, put two braces on the outside edge to sandwich the tub edge. Didn’t use nails at all, but you could. Once dried, nail glue is actually just as strong as nails. I’m jealous you get four hour soaks! I’m lucky to get a half hour! haha!
I don’t blame your daughter for wanting to use your tub! I can see her relaxing there with a good book.
She loves that tub! I really can’t blame her either!
Jennifer Wise says
This is SO COOL!!! I love it!! Pinning!
Chas Greener says
I love these bathroom trays, and it’s on my bucket list to make one for our bathroom. Great tutorial and thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Chas! We are loving this one since we made it!
I love those things! Nothing better than soaking in the tub, with a book, hearing the rain beat against the roof!
I love these bathroom trays, and it’s on my bucket list to make one for our bathroom.
Thanks! You should definitely make one – we use the heck out of ours!
These bathroom trays look amazing, will like to get it for my bathroom.