Picture of tub desk!!
Do you enjoy hanging out in the tub reading a book or thinking deep thoughts? What you need is a tub desk! I have always wanted one but was never able to find one online or anywhere. So here it is!

I've been thinking about this idea for so long and have never really settled on the right design, but to heck with it, this is version 1.0!

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Step 1: Stuff you need

Picture of stuff you need
I've been waiting till the perfect size and shape of material came along, but I couldnt' wait any longer, so I chose some backing from an ikea cabinet. I know it's not waterproof, but I'm going to try out some waterproofing products and see how it works.

The trouble with this whole idea is that every tub seems to be a little different, so this is pretty much a one off based on the design of my bathtub. I would have considered using suction cups, but they don't stick to the textured surface of my tub, so that won't work.

desk surface: Some sort of sturdy material, preferably sheet plastic of some kind.

two shelf braces.

nuts and bolts.

coat hanger

waterproofing chemicals (Varathane or something like that)

safety glasses

xacto knife

pin vise, drill


coping saw or similar

screw driver


Step 2: Measure, cut

Picture of measure, cut
It was a bit awkward, but I was able to align the board along the angled shelf brackets and mark the required width of the board to be the desk surface.

To cut the fiberboard I used repeated careful strokes along the edge of a t-square until I finally made my way through the material. This took about 30 repeated passes, but I wanted a clean cut.

Step 3: Assemble

Picture of assemble
I used the pin vise to work a small hole through to connect the shelf brackets. The shelf brackets serve as the legs which prop up the board at a reasonable angle.

Just attach the shelf brackets to the back of the board with the bolt and nut.

Tinworm5 years ago
I like it; have had something similar in mind for a while.

I would dispense with the hook. Not all baths have a handle where yours is...and I think it might get awkward to use.

Personally I would have a strip of wood along the bottom which is the same width as the bath and slots the desk into position and would therefore stop sideways movement....the risk of a tumble.

And I would use a rubber thimble (can't remember when I last saw one, mind you) for turning pages

But thanks, you inspired me.
foobear (author)  Tinworm5 years ago
 Cool, I'm glad someone else likes it.  I was never happy with this design.   Something that could fold up and be put away easily would be good.  I've always been surprised that no company out there makes such a thing.  Must be the risk of liability.
Tinworm foobear5 years ago
liability? Possibly....

or maybe everyone is in just too much of a hurry these days. You are right, though, someone should do it. Does nobody do it? I never checked.

You have the basis of a foldable desk here, so let's see you do it!  But you will have a real liability concern if it snaps shut and cuts off someone's crown jewels, so get that bit right!

Someone below suggested rubber suction feet - I think that is something you should consider including.

Please be sure to give me a heads-up if you do make Mk2.

very nerdy.....homework in the tub..........
Ph3nomin0n6 years ago
R.I.P j_l_larson Cause of Death: Surfing Instructables in the tub. Lol im just playin, very nice instructable
foobear (author)  Ph3nomin0n6 years ago
heh, yes, don't use electronics with it! Must be the main reason why nobody makes this item!
Though im not sure if the COD would be Drowning or Electrocution lol
Panther6 years ago
Great idea - I think it came together pretty decent looking. the one thing, that I might add, as far as the creation of some more stability , small suction cups in the "Feet" ends of the brackets.
SpencerW6 years ago
What about having 2 right angled brackets on each side going into the bathtub slightly to align the stand? If someone knocks the right side of this stand its going to fall downwards into the water. With 2 clips on each side, its not going to move sideways when it inevitably gets knocked one day.
foobear (author)  SpencerW6 years ago
Yes, I'm not happy with the design. It looks precarious, but it does stay put well enough. I thought about doing something with a clamp that would clamp onto the side of the tub with rubber feet or something. And it definitely needs to have an adjustable angle. But I like it, it's version 1.0
Noodle937 years ago
We're in too much of a drought that filling up the tub would be a waste of water.
foobear (author)  Noodle937 years ago
Oh I see you are talking about Australia... Looks like things might be improving though:

It will be a few years until we can't viably fill up a tub.
Nice project! The idea is pretty cool, but my mom would definitely NOT like me reading or doing homework in the tub, hahaha. :P
foobear (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
Hehe, yeah, this would be bad for people with roommates and only one bathroom. =) I can't wait for the waterproofing to dry so I can try it out.
snoyes7 years ago
Watch out for pretty young informants coming to visit you in the bath with a list of revolutionaries.
foobear (author)  snoyes7 years ago
Yes, its important not to spend to long in the tub for that very reason ... and also cause your skin will get itchy and dried out.
I too have worked on a tub desk, due to the fact that the only thing that gets me out of the tub is lukewarm water. I'd suggest adding a lip to the bottom of your desk, rather than a clip at the top since some books may be too heavy to remain clipped. Though I'm not sure, do what works for you, perhaps you read comics more than thick books. In that case then it's fine.
foobear (author)  Erik Lindemann7 years ago
You're right, I am planning to add a lip/pencil catcher to the bottom for magazines to rest on, just don't have the right piece of wood yet. I was going to look around for that today.