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I made this custom wooden bath tray out of 1×2 poplar and you can too!
I start by measuring the tub at the widest area from the wall to the inside edge of the tub. This way when I build the tray I can put the bottom supports/stoppers in a place that won’t allow the tray to fall into the tub when it’s being use.
I made my bath tray 11.5 inches wide, but you can make it as wide as you’d like. I cut my 1x2s down into the appropriate lengths with my miter saw.
Then I sanded each piece down with my orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper.
You can see below the difference that sanding makes, the left one isn’t sanded and the right one is. It’s a very important step. I sanded mine on the driveway and it left some little indents from the concrete, that doesn’t bother me, but if it bothers you, you should sand it on a smooth surface.
I then got all my stains out and stained the 4 longer side pieces Special Walnut by Minwax, and the shorter middle pieces I stained random colors just to give the tray a color variation. You can be as creative with this as you’d like, if you want the whole tray one color, you can do that too.
Once everything was stained and had time to dry, I put the 2 longer pieces together with the air compressed staple gun in a way that the tray wouldn’t slip into the tub. I go more into detail on this in my Bathtub Tray Plans.
I used a scrap piece of underlayment that was 1/8in thick for spacing, but you can use whatever you have laying around that’s about that thickness. I started in the middle and worked my way out. Again, I used my air compressed staple gun. I found that it wasn’t necessary to use glue, but wood glue is never a bad idea on things like this,
Once I got to the ends I didn’t have enough of a gap for a whole 1×2 but it was too big a gap to not put anything at all. So I ripped a 1×2 down to the right width to fill the gap and I stapled those into place.
Once it was all put together I sealed it with General Finishes High Performance Flat sealer to protect the wood from water. Once that was dry we put the tray to use! It works great for holding your phone, iPad, a book or a glass of wine as you are enjoying a bath! Again, for the full detailed building plans for this, you can purchase them here. This makes a great gift too! Especially for Valentines Day that is right around the corner!
I encourage you to experiment with different kinds of wood. I made a bath tray for a friend out of teak and it was a dream to work with! It wasn’t cheap, but it doesn’t splinter, it cuts like butter, it sands nicely, you don’t have to stain it since it’s already a beautiful color and it is one of the few woods in the world containing a natural oil which helps repel water, keeping it from warping, cracking or becoming brittle! Have fun with this one and let me know what you think!
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Next, let’s refresh the master bath window! This is an easy project and lots of bang for the buck!