I recently came across a tutorial for a wooden bath mat and fell in love with the aesthetic and, to be honest, with the idea of never having to wash my bath mat again. I generally don’t like to just copy someone else’s tutorial, so I moved on and forgot about it. But that wooden shower mat haunted me, so one day I went back to the tutorial and read through it to see if there was a way I could improve it. I was surprised to discover that what looked like a fairly simple project was by no means a project for a beginner. It involved ripping wider boards (cutting boards lengthwise) to create narrower boards, and then cutting down the width to produce a lower-profile mat. It was complicated stuff for such a basic concept—and that’s when I knew I had to do this project.
By trading out challenging and expensive tools (like a table saw) for less pricey, less intimidating tool like the Kreg Jig, we accomplish the same thing (if not something sleeker than the original design). A Kreg Jig, if you’ve never used one, is a wonderful, simple tool that pre-drills holes at an angle and allows you to hide your screws on the underside of the project so the finished result is a clean-cut product that makes your DIY look straight-up professional.
This wooden bathroom mat is one in a series of simple cedar bath accessories, so sit tight and you’ll get a full DIY bathroom upgrade. (Hello, bathtub caddy!) Let’s get to it.
Step 1: Cut Cedar Boards for Wooden Bath Mat
Cedar is great because it’s made to withstand the elements and it smells amazing. To start, first cut nine 30” pieces. Lay these boards down side by side and measure the combined width of them. Add 3” to this measurement (to account for an eventual 3/8” gapping between boards). This will be the measurement for your end boards; cut two.
Step 2: Pre-Drill Holes with Kreg Jig
Set your Kreg Jig to 3/4” deep, clamp in place, and pre-drill one hole on the bottom side of both ends of all nine 30” pieces. Make sure to pick the roughest side for the bottom in order to save yourself some sanding later. Clamp your boards to your workspace to make pre-drilling easier.
Step 3: Sand Cedar Pieces
Because you’ll be standing on this mat with your bare feet, sanding is a very important step for this project. I used an electric sander to make things quicker, but you can also sand these by hand with a little patience and elbow grease. Be sure to focus on the top face and both sides and ends of all of the boards.
Step 4: Assemble DIY Bathroom Mat
Line up one 30” piece with the end of one of the end pieces and secure with glue and 1 1/4” Kreg Jig screws. Use 1/4” and 1/8” spacers to create a 3/8” gap between this 30” board and the next. Once everything is lined up, secure the 30” board to the end board with a screw. Repeat until all nine boards are attached to one side. Before securing the second-to-last board, make sure you’re projected to line up neatly with the other end of the end board. If the measurements are slightly off, you can make a small adjustment to compensate. With a larger discrepancy, you may need to disassemble and recut your end boards.
Next, repeat with the opposite end board.
Because of the Kreg Jig and the thinness of the boards, if you line up the boards incorrectly while screwing together, you will likely end up breaking through the tops of your end boards. Make sure both boards are flat against your work surface when screwing—especially the end boards. In fact, I found that clamping the boards down was the most effective way to make sure all the tops of the boards were flush.
Step 5: Stain and/or Finish Wooden Shower Mat
Next, you’ll want to protect your bath mat with a water-protective stain or finish. You can stain (or leave unstained) and seal the wood with an exterior polyurethane finish, apply an exterior deck stain like Penofin, or follow our direction and opt for teak oil. Because this project is so small and exterior products tend to cost more and come in large containers, I recommend going with whatever you happen to have on hand.
On that note though, I will give a small plug for teak oil. Teak oil is somewhere in between a stain and a finish, and it was designed for teak decks on ships. That means it’s designed for coming in contact with a lot of water, both rain and ocean spray. Teak oil can be applied over a stain, or it can be applied directly onto the wood (which happens to be my personal preference). Teak oil can even be used as a maintenance and intermittent coat, giving existing varnished surfaces a longer life. So if you don’t already have some, this is definitely a staple to consider having on hand.
Teak oil should be applied with a natural bristle brush or with a lint-free cloth. Allow it to sit for 5-15 minutes, then sand with 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Finally, wipe off any excess oil and let dry.
Step 6: Add Rubber Feet
Lastly, we added rubber bumpers as feet. This is a great way to get the mat up off your bathroom floor so it can breathe while still keeping a low profile.
This cedar bath mat is a beautiful replacement for a bathroom rug. It’s simple to maintain, adds some freshness to the room, and it really pops on a tile floor.
Need more inspiration? Check out our blog on how to maximize your bathroom living space. Looking for more projects to tackle this spring? Check out our pom-pom throw blanket tutorial!