How to Make a Wood Bath Tray That Also Serves As Artwork

When not in use, this bath tray can be hung on the wall and used as a decorative towel rack. Try this easy, dual-purpose woodworking project.

Skill Level: Intermediate
Estimated Time: 1/2 day
Estimated Cost: $50

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Tools and Materials

  • nail gun with nails
  • compressor
  • miter saw
  • 1" x 16” x 28-1/2" plywood (or whatever fits across your tub)
  • (1) 1x3 x 8’
  • (20) 3/8x3 x 3’
  • wood glue
  • measuring tape
  • straight edge
  • drawer pulls with screws
  • (2) D-rings
  • drill with 1/4" countersink bit
  • stain
  • paint
  • paintbrush

Step 1: Cut Plywood to Size

Measure the span across your bathtub to determine how big your tray will be and then cut the plywood to that size. We used ready-made craft board and cut it to 16” x 28-1/2”. Measure and mark a center line running vertically down the board.

Step 2: Add Frame

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Frame the plywood with 1x3s. Cut the 1x3s, two at 29” and two at 16-1/4”. Use a nail gun to attach the frame pieces to the plywood.

Step 3: Create Design

Create your tray design using the 3/8x3s. Cut the first piece at a 45° angle to align with the center line on the plywood. When the board is positioned on the centerline with the top of the frame, use a speed square to mark the outside edge of the board. Cut the board along the outside of the edge. Place the first board within the frame and repeat the process on each side of the center line working down the board.

Step 4: Make Mountaintops

When all the boards have been cut and are in place within the frame, use a straight edge to mark for the “mountaintops”. The marks should be roughly 1-1/2” apart on three boards on the left side and right side. For a “snowier” mountain, make the cuts longer, more than 1-1/2”. For a less “snowy” mountain, cut the pieces less than 1-1/2.

Step 5: Paint and/or Stain

Once the mountaintop pieces have been cut, determine which color each board will be stained or painted. Mark each piece on the back with its positioning on the board as you remove them from the frame — left/right and board number. This will help when reassembling the stained pieces. Stain or paint each board as well as the frame around the plywood.

Step 6: Glue It All Together

Glue each board in place. Be sure to reference the markings on the back of each board to make sure you put it in the correct place.

Step 7: Add Handles

We used big draw pulls as handles for our tray, and when the tray is hung on the wall the handles can serve as a towel rack. Predrill holes through the tray’s frame to add the drawer pulls and then use a countersink bit to recess the screw heads. This will keep the screws from scratching the tub.

Step 8: Add Hanging Hardware

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Attach D-rings to the back of the board for hanging. Make sure the hooks will sit within the lip of the tub.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

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