DIY Bathtub Caddy

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Some days we just want to relax. Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to have an invigorating bath while you drink a glass of wine and read your favourite book?

DIY Bathtub Caddy Trays

Relaxing in the bath is a great luxury, but some tend to be short on level space.

This project will let you read, have a glass of wine etc while soaking your troubles away!

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You’ll need these materials:

  • Walnut Board
  • MDF Board
  • Wood Glue

And these tools:

  • Jointer
  • Planer
  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Palm Sander
  • Biscuit Joiner
  • Router with Round over bit
  • 2 – Paint Brush
  • Brad Nailer

Steps:

Start by jointing the straighter/truer narrow edge.  My jointer is a little under-powered, so we had to make sure to advance slowly and remove only small amounts of material with each pass.

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Place the jointed edge against the table saw fence and rip the board to width creating two parallel sides.  We cut our board down to around 5 or 6″ wide.

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This board was a little too wide for my old jointer to joint a face before planning, so we just went straight to the planer and planed both faces.  It was planed at the mill and really wasn’t in too bad a shape.  Run it through, flip, and repeat.  Comes out good enough for this casual project.

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Trim the boards to length on the chop saw.  We cut the long board down into two shorter sections that are going to be biscuit joined together to make the caddy wider then the original board.

The length of the tub caddy depends on your bathtub and should be sized to fit it precisely.  Measure the tub and add a few extra inches if you want it to overhang the outer lip.

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To join the two boards together we used a biscuit joiner. The biscuit joiner cuts slots in the side of the wood for glue and the wooden biscuits which hold the boards together permanently and precisely in place.

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Brush some wood glue into the slots and onto the edges about to be joined.  Fill the slots with wood biscuits, clamp the boards and let the glue dry.

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While the glue was drying we set off to make some simple walnut quarter round molding.  Slice a 5/8″ x 5/8″ strip of walnut off of the remaining board from the lumber yard and run it through the router with a round over bit.

Since the piece was small I used feather boards to hold it in place while I slid the stock through.

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Mark the molding length right on the main board for the tub caddy. We used a miter saw and set the fence at 45 degrees to cut the miters.  A miter box would also work just fine.

I used a scrap piece of MDF to create a zero clearance fence to support the cuts in order to minimize tear-out.

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Cut the walnut quarter round molding to the proper lengths to create a border for the tub caddy.

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Fit the molding place on top of the now dry main board for the caddy.  If everything lines up apply some wood glue to the back of the molding.  Lay it down on top of the board and carefully line up the miters.  I used a brad nailer to shoot some brads in place while the glue dried.

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Once the outer molding was on, we still had some extra walnut quarter round material left.  We decided to make a small box in the corner of the caddy to hold things like candle wax, a wine glass, or perhaps a flower vase in place.  Cut two short sections of quarter round with a single mitered end, and position, glue, and finally brad nail the corner piece in place.

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Sand the entire caddy with 120 and then 220 grit sand paper.  I used a random orbital sander, but it’s small enough to do by hand.  Some of the detail areas need to be hand sanded.

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Some kind of basic system is necessary to hold the wood in place on the tub so it doesn’t slip around and fall in.  We measured the interior width of our tub and installed a very simply cleat system that locks the caddy in place securely.

The process went something like this: measure from the wall to interior left side of the tub.  Measure the distance between the two sides of the tub, inside measurement.  Finally, measure the width of the exterior tub wall on the right side.  Mark these measurements onto the tub caddy and glue walnut cleats onto the bottom of the main board at these locations for a total of 3 cleats.

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In theory, you only need the two right cleats which grab the exterior wall of the tub, however, the left cleat is nice because it locks everything in place tightly.

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Since the walnut is going to be used in a water-y environment, we sealed everything with two coats of a water based spar varnish urethane from Varathane.  It goes on a little milky but dries with a nice satin clear finish.  Very easy stuff to work with.

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Once the varnish is dry the project is done!

Thanks to noahw for this great project.

 




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