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Make a bath caddy

Tools & Materials

•    Drill driver

•    Pocket-hole jig

•    Compound mitre saw

•    Jigsaw

•    Router table

•    Round over bit

•    Cove bit

•    Sander

•    Two sash clamps

•    Twelve 4 x 32mm pocket-hole screws

•    Six 4mm x 30mm wood screws      

•    Wood glue

•    Sealant or varnish

•    Medium-sized paintbrushes

•    Artist’s brush

•     Pencil

Project guide

Difficulty: Beginner/intermediate

Estimated time: 2 hours

Cost: ±R200

Enjoy a luxurious bath with this simple bath caddy


By Aarifah Nosarka

1: Greg de Villiers marked off the measurements before cutting

2: Greg assisting Aarifah to cut the wood to size using a compound mitre saw

I cannot stress the importance of preparation. When I say preparation, I don’t mean getting the necessary tools and materials together, but an idea or vision of how you would like the finished product to turn out. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” are the wise words of Benjamin Franklin. As such, we started by researching various bath caddy designs before settling on what we thought would be simple yet elegant. The design, tools needed and construction methods must be within your reach and capacity to be enjoyable.


With many of us leading such hectic, on-the-go lifestyles, the occasional break from reality is welcomed. After work, there is nothing more relaxing than a warm bubble bath to soak away those body aches and pains, which we needed after a day in the workshop. A bath caddy makes the experience even more pleasurable by providing a space for a good book and a glass of wine. The bath caddy is the ultimate relaxation companion and can be built using this fairly simple slatted design.

The ladies from The Home Handyman team were fortunate that Greg de Villiers from Vermont Sales was able to assist with this project that both I and subscriptions manager Candida Giambò Kruger bravely tackled. This project was Candida’s first attempt at a DIY creation and it was a second for me.  The wood used was sponsored by Foresta Timber and Board in Alrode. The Home Handyman duo visited the Vermont Sales workshop in Midrand where the bath caddy was assembled.


Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Measure the width of the bathtub, both outside and inside, to establish the measurements required to create your caddy. We used six 570mm x 30 x 20mm, two 770 x 50 x 20mm and three 210 x 20 x 20mm strips of meranti.


Step 2: Cut the pieces of wood using a compound mitre saw if the wood was not cut at the timber merchant. We cut the six pieces of 570mm to form the bottom part of the tray in the workshop. The two 770mm-long pieces were designated for the side rails and the three 210mm lengths were for the shorter sides at each end with one used to form a divider in the middle of the caddy tray.


Step 3: For convenience we used the Kreg pocket-hole jig to create two pocket holes on the same surface at each end of the 57mm slats. We did this by clamping each slat to the workbench and adjusted the jig guides for the diameter of the hole and adjusted the stop collar for the correct bit depth. Make sure your wood is clamped tightly in the jig before bringing out the drill. Place your bit in the guide and drill, it’s that easy.


Creating pocket holes is simple because the Kreg does all the work for you. However, be sure to make the pocket holes on the same side of the slat, one at each end. All hyped up and energised, Candida drilled two pocket holes back to back on one end of the same slat. After noticing the mistake, Greg calmly and very patiently solved the problem by cutting another slat with the compound mitre saw. When he handed the slat to Candida, he jokingly said there was no more wood should another accident happen. Be sure that you have more rather than less wood before commencing with any project as the odd mistake is inevitable.


Step 4: Lay your slats down on your workbench, leaving a 10mm gap between each. Glue two of the 210mm pieces to the shorter sides of the six slats already laid out. You need not be too generous with
the glue – the addition of pocket holes later on will go further to secure the wooden pieces.


Step 5: After applying glue, ensure that the sides are flush with the six ‘cross slats’. After positioning the sides, use your sash clamps to secure the frames on each end before drilling your Kreg screws into each of the pocket holes. Wipe off excess glue with a damp cloth.


Admittedly, I was overwhelmed by the thought of having to use a drill, fearing that I may drill right through the wood, thereby destroying the project I so eagerly wanted to complete. Once we finished drilling in each of the pocket screws, I felt a sense of relief, forcing me to question whether I had, in fact, been petty to fear something as simple as drill driving.


Step 6: Use a sander to smooth the wooden surface and edges. This gets rid of any sharp bits that were created during sawing.


Step 7: Since the measurement of the slats is 570mm, half of that will give you 285mm. Mark the halfway point with a pencil. This is where the 210mm centre slat will be positioned to divide the tray of the caddy in half. We again applied glue along the pencil line before clamping the divider in place.


Step 8: Turn the half complete caddy onto its side lengthways and use the drill driver to drive screws from the bottom into the wooden centre slat.


Step 9: The longer sides of our caddy had a 75mm overhang, which would increase stability when placed on top of the bath. We trimmed the bottom portions of each overhanging slat using a jigsaw. This would make our caddy impossible to bump off the bath and into the water – wasting wine! We were told not to cut along the pencil mark, but slightly outside it, so when the cutting is complete, the pencil marking is still visible.


When using a jigsaw:

• Ensure that the surface you are cutting on is secure and the jigsaw shoe is flush against the piece you are cutting.

•  Start the jigsaw before it touches the wood.

•  While cutting a curve, set the jigsaw to ensure your blade is not bevelling.

•  Using the right blade is the key to achieving a clean cut


Step 10: To neaten up the finish of the overhangs we used the router table to create smoother coves. We made several passes until the pencil line was no longer visible. Use your sander to smooth off the side rails before attaching them to your almost complete bath caddy.


Step 11: Glue each of the rails and attach these vertically onto the supporting frame in the middle. Clamp the pieces together, then measure 3mm from each end (right and left) and 10mm from the bottom before marking an X with a pencil. Do this with the other rail as well.


Step 12: Drill wood screws through the bottom of the long side rails so that there is one on the bottom on each side and one going into the middle divider. Repeat this process on the second side rail. 


Step 13: Add wood filler to plug holes and fill cracks that you want to cover; we recessed the exposed screws on the sides. With the assembly complete, we did a bit more sanding to create a smoother look and feel. This also removes excess
wood filler.


Step 14: We used Woodoc Waterborne Primer followed by Woodoc Waterborne Deck Sealer in imbuia. We applied one coat of primer and left it to dry for an hour, before applying three coats of imbuia in the same way. A larger brush was used for the larger surface areas on the caddy and a smaller brush made it easier for us to get in-between the slats. We opted for an outdoor sealant used on wooden decks because it offers good protection against ingress of moisture.

3: The meranti slats were laid out on the table to visualise the layout of the bath caddy

4: A Kreg jig was used to create the pocket holes for each slat

5: Once the pocket holes were completed the slats were laid out before the insertion of screws

6: The side and middle pieces were glued onto the slats and held in place with sash clamps

7: The 75mm overhang was cut using a jigsaw and neatened on the router table

8: The finished pieces were screwed together

9: A coat of Woodoc Waterborne Primer was applied by our magazine designer, Rosemary

10: Three coats of Woodoc Waterborne Deck Sealer were applied to protect the wood

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