Tub Desk!!




Introduction: 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!

Step 1: 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

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

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.

Step 4: Add the Hook

I sacrificed this rather nice hangar for the purpose. The tub desk doesn't have enough stability with the angled braces alone, it needs something to keep it from launching itself into the water.

My tub has a handle along the side, so I'm attaching this modified clothes hangar to hook onto that and give it some stability.

I bent the hook a bit to give it just the right angle to hook securely.

Step 5: Attach Hook

Clamp the hook onto the desk and secure with nuts and bolts.

Make sure inspector kitty approves.

Step 6: Waterproof

Spray the whole contraption with waterproofing. I don't know for sure if this will do the trick, I am hoping so. If not, maybe some plasti-dip or something stronger.

I gave the thing two complete coats (with 1 hour drying time between them) and used half the can. It soaked in pretty readily - I just don't feel confident that it will resist water. This stuff stinks too. I'm hoping that letting it air out overnight on the balcony will resolve that. We'll see.

Step 7: Tub Desk!

tada! The tub desk version 1.0.

I picked up some corner molding to be the pencil tray at Home Depot. It is the most expensive part of this project. the molding cost $5.40 plus the gas to drive over there made this part of it kind of pricey. Oh well.

Obvious improvements that could be added: adjustable height, place to hang a little towel to dry your hands for turning pages, some sort of c-clamp attachment for the side of the tub for better stability.

Final word of warning, don't put anything on top of it that you couldn't stand to see dumped into the tub. Especially don't put your laptop or other electronic devices there, too risky. Proceed at your own speed with due caution.

Hope you enjoy this idea and I welcome suggestions for improvements.



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    19 Discussions

    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.

    2 replies

     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.

    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.


    R.I.P j_l_larson Cause of Death: Surfing Instructables in the tub. Lol im just playin, very nice instructable

    2 replies

    heh, yes, don't use electronics with it! Must be the main reason why nobody makes this item!

    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.

    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.

    1 reply

    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

    Nice project! The idea is pretty cool, but my mom would definitely NOT like me reading or doing homework in the tub, hahaha. :P

    1 reply

    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.

    Watch out for pretty young informants coming to visit you in the bath with a list of revolutionaries.

    1 reply

    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.

    1 reply

    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.