Larry and I have recently (finally) begun to tackle a number of simple woodworking projects that have been on my To Do List for ages. Of course, now that the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, our outdoor working time has become limited - resulting in a pile of power tools and half-finished projects residing on our dining room floor. (Will they stay there all winter? Only time will tell...) Oh, how I wish our house had a basement or a garage or a workshop!
Anyway, I finished a project! Ta-da! Nobody lost a finger! DIY shower/tub shelf:
Functional, organized, and pretty.
(Doesn't everyone arrange their shower bottles in rainbow order? And yes, those are ketchup-style squirt bottles!)
Not only that, it's a dual-purpose project that solved two problems at once. (That totally counts as two projects, right?)
Last winter, I began a tradition of taking a hot bath on Sunday nights (while Larry watched his zombie show). I put my iPad, a few candles, and a glass of wine on a shelf across the tub and spent the evening watching HBO in the bath while my toes shriveled up into raisins. What I didn't tell you (and tried to hide in the pictures), was that my tub "shelf" was actually a bloated piece of particle board that Larry found in the shed. (Don't worry, I wiped the cobwebs off first.) It held my wine, but let's face it: it was gross.
So, gross cobweb-encrusted tub shelf was Problem #1. Problem #2 was the lack of proper storage for shampoo bottles and other shower necessities. I admit, I hate those over-the-shower-head storage caddies. I've never seen one that was the slightest bit attractive. And the kind that stick to the tile with suction cups? We've all experienced the *BAM!* Oh shit, there went the shampoo bottle! middle-of-the-night tub crash, right? The alternative to shower caddies is equally annoying: cramming all the bottles onto the corners of the tub ledge. But that's what we were doing because I was too stubborn to buy a shower caddy that I didn't like.
So when I decided to build a tub shelf, I also wanted it to function as shower storage for all those bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel that had accumulated in the corners of the tub. Since a shower shelf would be subjected to, well, showers twice a day, it needed to shed water and be waterproof. I came up with a slat design using 1x3s that would allow water to drain through slots between the boards. (Yes, I realize that water can still sit on the slats, but at least a huge puddle can't form like it would on a solid shelf.) I also coated the shelf with polyurethane to give it a smooth finish and protect it from water.
By day, it's a shower shelf. By night, it's a tub shelf:
It's quite sturdy and I suppose it could also be used as a seat, however, I didn't care to test this theory and risk a) busting my new shelf, or b) getting a splinter in my ass.
View of the bottom of the shelf - I didn't just want the screws to be countersunk, I wanted them fully recessed. You can do this by using a forstner drill bit:
The screws are zinc screws and should be rust-proof. Before assembling, I brushed all the shelf pieces with four or five coats of water-based matte polyurethane. (The cut ends of the wood got eight coats.) I hope I used the right product for this, and I'll report back in a few months as to how the shelf is holding up in the wet environment of my shower. (I considered using a product that is used to seal decks, but the can carried a warning of FOR EXTERIOR USE ONLY, so I was concerned that this meant it was stinky and not something I'd want in my shower. Also, such products usually require reapplication on a yearly basis and I'm just too lazy for that. So let's hope the poly protects it and my shelf doesn't rot.)
Successful project completion = Reward yourself by pouring a glass of wine and turning the lights down low:
Ooh la la!
Shower shelf? Tub shelf? Done and done!