Bathroom Makeover Challenge Part 5: Make a Unique Timber Curtain Rail

DIY specialist and professional renovator Natasha Dickins from Little Red Industries is back with part five in her Bathroom Makeover Challenge. Read on to discover how she updated the outdated shower screen.

Most bathroom renovations aim to swap out a shower curtain for a screen, and shower curtains are no longer a popular solution for containing water and splashes. 

But I had to get rid of that shower screen and the best solution was to reintroduce the shower curtain. It’s also one element of a bathroom that I’ve never seen handcrafted. I couldn’t find an off-the-shelf solution that looked great so decided to make one.

The result is a stable, unique assembly that enhances the timber features in the newly spruced-up bathroom. 

Be sure to seal any new timber to protect against moisture damage. I use Bondall’s Monocel Gold Clear Timber Varnish which is designed for use on boats so I know it will do the trick in my shower. 

As the most unattractive part of the bathroom, removing the screen immediately makes this room feel bigger. Adding a bespoke timber rail kept the budget down while adding the functionality of a shower curtain.

Make a timber shower rail 

While a shower curtain isn’t usually top of a bathroom wishlist, that shower screen had to go and I needed a temporary solution while the floorplan of the house was re-planned. Rather than installing a metal rail, I customised a timber one to hang clear shower curtains from Bunnings, costing just $6 each. The rails are cut from 25mm Tasmanian oak dowel to create an L shape of 680 x 1330mm so the curtain hangs inside the bath.

To make a similar rail, measure over your bath, keeping the rails as short as possible to keep them lightweight. Work with a 200mm piece of 32mm dowel to make the joining piece, cutting it to size at the end so it’s easier to handle while drilling.

STEP 1 Clamp the 32mm dowel onto a drill press and make adjacent holes halfway through using a 25mm Forstner bit.

STEP 2 Check the rails fit, leaving the long rail complete but trimming the end of the short one as needed.

STEP 3 Add adhesive to secure the long rail, clamping it to sit squarely at 90o and leaving to dry.

STEP 4 Countersink and secure using a 60mm screw, then attach the short rail the same way.

STEP 5 Cover the holes with wood filler then cut the joining piece, sand to round over the edges and seal the entire rail with three coats of Monocel Gold Clear Timber Varnish in Satin. Use Bondall’s Waterbased Turps to clean up any spills.

Installing the rail

To attach the rail to the wall, cut two square blocks from offcuts, make 10mm recessed holes in the centre with the 25mm Forstner bit. Sand and seal before attaching them to the wall through the centre with long screws. Enlist a second pair of hands to hold the rail while you apply Bondall Bondcrete adhesive to the holes, position the ends of the rail through 25mm towel rail flanges and into the holes, securing with the supplied screws.

To keep the rail straight, prop it with a ladder, check and adjust using a spirit level and leave to dry before hanging clear shower curtains.