How to Make a Piece of Plywood into a Bathtub Tray

Alex Clarkson
Alex Clarkson

A sip of wine, dim lighting, and a bubbly bath. Sounds divine, doesn’t it? Well, you know what puts a damper on things? Having no place to keep your wine glass.

Now, you’ve probably seen those fancy bath trays. Wondering to get one for yourself? Well, let’s see how to make a piece of plywood into a bathtub tray.

Start with measuring the width of your tub. So that you can cut the piece of plywood according to the pieces you require. Screw or glue the parts together, then sand the tray completely. stain the wood with a waterproof varnish. Finally, mount some fancy handles on there.

It’s obvious you can’t build your tray without a guideline. So, we’re here to the rescue with a step-by-step process for you.

It’s time to dip into the segment!

Making a DIY Bathtub Tray with a Piece of Plywood

To be fair, a bathtub tray is considered somewhat of a luxury. But you can build it yourself. That too with a piece of plywood.

Sounds easy enough? Well, we’ve written down the steps needed for this project. So, hurry up and gather the equipment given below.

Tools You’ll Require

  • Measuring Tape
  • Table Saw
  • Pencil
  • Piece of Plywood ( Dimensions depend on availability)
  • Drywall Screws
  • Wood Varnish / Seal
  • Wood Glue
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Power Drill + Drill Bits
  • Sandpaper / Sander
  • Paintbrush
  • Metal Handles (Optional)
  • Self-Stick Rubber Grippers ( Optional)

Now that you’ve got everything in hand. Let’s quickly move on to making the tray.

Step 1: Taking Your Tub’s Measurements

You might be thinking of removing your faucet to measure the tub’s length. But your tray only has to span the width of your tub. So, grab a measuring tape, and let’s get to it.

Measure the widest part of the tub. Be sure to cover the width from one rim to another. Since your tray will be resting on those. Another measurement you should take is the inner width of the tub. This’ll come in handy when placing support legs on the tray.

Remember that the length of the tray needs to fit your tub’s width. So essentially you’re measuring how long it should be. Note the measurements down in a book.

Step 2: Cutting The Tray & Its Pieces

cutting the tray & its pieces

Now you can either cut it yourself with a table saw. Or go to any hardware store, where the service is free. Unfortunately, there’s a possibility of shrinkage after cutting. To counter that, add another inch to the length.

Considering the length of your plywood, there are two options.

Option 1: Single Board Tray

Well, simplicity is often the best option. Especially if your piece of plywood isn’t big enough. Supposing that your plywood only covers the width of the tub. You’ll probably just have to use that singular board to make the tray.

Just in case there are a few inches to spare. Cut out two equally wide pieces for supports. This will help in stabilizing your tray in the bath.

For example, the average tub might have an overall width of 30”. Thus, your plywood would need to have a similar length( considering shrinkage). Now if your plywood is 34” long,  trim two 2” wide pieces for the supports.

Option 2: Double Layer Tray

Supposing you have plywood that is double the length. In that case, you can just cut the board in half. So a 60” long plywood would be cut into two 30” pieces.

These can then help in creating glass, book, or candle holders.

Step 3: Preparing and Attaching The Parts

Now that you’ve cut the plywood. It’s time to sand your pieces properly. Use 180 grit sandpaper to smoothen the edges.

But if you’d like to make it darker, apply some varnish or stain. You could paint on a seal as well. So that the tray doesn’t get affected by the moisture.

Obviously, wear protective gear like gloves while doing so. And let the varnish soak for at least 24 hours.

Step 4: Putting the Tray Together

For a single board tray, there might be nothing to attach except handles. So just drill those in on the sides. Additionally, you can stick grippers on the tray. If you’re scared of the tray slipping.

Just in case, you were able to cut those supports. Mark the two sides of the tray. Keeping in mind the width of the tub’s inner basin.

Drill in the wooden supports and voila, you’re done.

Now for the double layer tray, apply wood glue on the bottom board. Then place the other board on top. Once they seem stuck, mark the four corners of the board. Now, insert the drywall screws in the marked points with your screwdriver.

What’s left is either drilling in the handles or leave it as is.

You’re finally done, but are you?

Additions for Your Bathtub Tray

Your tray is all ready. Now, there are a few more tweaks you can add to it. They’ll make it easier to place your desired objects.

Wine Glass Holder

Spilling wine on your tray isn’t ideal. How can you avoid that? Well, create a holder to keep your wine glass in.

First, decide your glass’ placement. Mark that place with a pencil. It’s time to drill a hole. Keep in mind that the hole must be wide as your glass stem. Then draw two straight lines towards the edge of the board. Next cut that line out with a saw.

There you go, the perfect setting for your wine glass.

Candle Holder

This one’s a bit easier. Attach a circular saw to your screw gun. Clamp your board to the work surface. Then cut a hole a few inches deep. It should be less than the board’s thickness.

The holder should fit in your candle. And now you’re ready for some mood lighting!

Book/ Phone Holder

If you’ve got a few spare pieces of wood, this one’s for you. Now draw a line in the middle of the board. It should span the length of your phone or book. Cut the wooden piece according to the line. The piece should be 2” thick atleast.

Attach the piece there with either glue or drywall screws. You can then easily rest your phone/ book there.

You’ve finally got the bath tray of your dreams. It’s time to draw yourself a relaxing bath. If this seems too hard for you, just buy the best tray you can find.


Question: What is a bath caddy?

Answer: It’s the same as a bath tray. It holds your necessities like books, candles, etc. While you’re relaxing in the bath.

Question: How wide is a bathtub?

Answer: The average width of a tub is said to be 30”. But that also depends on what type of tub you’ve installed.

Question: What do you put in a bath caddy?

Answer: Well, it can be your phone, a book, your glass of wine. People also place candles on it.

Wrapping It Up

You’ve learned how to make a piece of plywood into a bathtub tray. Well done, you! Now if you’ve got any queries, comment them below.

We’re excited to see pictures of your tray!

Till then, enjoy your bath.

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