DIY Dowelled Soap Holder

DIY specialist and furniture maker Natasha Dickens from from Little Red Industries returns with a simple project made from Tasmanian oak dowel offcuts and sealed in Monocel Gold for protection against steam and moisture.

I made this cute little soap holder to go with my DIY outdoor shower. But it could also be used in the bathroom, laundry or kitchen.

TIP: These lovely soaps from Riverewe Sheep Dairy are handmade from sheep’s milk and are perfect for this because they don’t leave residue.

This project doesn’t require many materials. I’ve used 30mm-wide half-round dowel offcuts for the sides and 6mm dowel for the rails, assembled with Bondcrete adhesive and sealed in marine-grade Monocel Gold for total moisture resistance.
The finished soap holder is 160mm long by 100mm wide, but you can adapt the size. I also made one 120mm long by 80mm wide.

TIP: While you could make the holes with a drill, a drill press is more accurate and you can set the depth so each hole is straight and exactly the same.

320mm length 30mm Tasmanian oak half-round dowel
Just under a metre of 6mm Tasmanian oak dowel
Mitre saw or handsaw with mitre box
Combination square and pencil
Drill press with 6mm bit
80-, 180- and 240-grit abrasive paper
Bondall Bondcrete adhesive 250ml
Rubber mallet
Bondall Monocel Gold in Clear 500ml

I made a pencil mark on the base plate of the mitre saw as a guide to cut nine 110mm lengths from 6mm dowel to be the rails. From the 30mm-wide half-round dowel, I then cut two 160mm side pieces.

TIP: Check the rails are the same and trim if needed. For cutting, you could use a handsaw with a mitre box.

To mark up for the holes on the side pieces, on the flat face, I used a combination square with a pencil to mark a line down the centre lengthways. Then I marked the centre and 15mm intervals either side for nine holes.

TIP: If you’ve adapted the size of the holder, the rails shouldn’t be further than about 15mm apart as the soap can fall through.

To work out the depth of the holes, I used an off-cut of half-round dowel and set up the press with a 6mm bit to drill halfway, about 5mm. Then I drilled the holes, holding the dowel with one hand and operating the press with the other.

TIP: If you’re not confident holding the pieces, take the time to move and clamp before each hole.

I positioned 80-grit abrasive paper flat on the bench to sand the sides, rounding-over the corners, smoothing along the edges and removing pencil marks. Then I sanded over all the pieces with 180-grit for a smooth finish.

TIP: Wear a mask when sanding, even a small job like this, to protect your lungs from inhaling the fine dust.

After dabbing adhesive into the holes, I positioned the rails into one side, making sure they were straight and even. I added the other side and tapped the assembly together with a rubber mallet, leaving for an hour for the adhesive to cure.

TIP: When working with adhesives, have a damp cloth on hand to wipe away excess as soon as it appears to avoid marking the timber and having to sand it later.

To seal the holder, I used Monocel Gold marine-grade varnish, applying it by dabbing with a small section of cloth and leaving it to dry on some dowel offcuts.

TIP: Apply at least two coats, lightly sanding all over with 240-grit abrasive paper between each and leaving to dry thoroughly after each.

Have you made timber bathroom accessories? Be sure to post them on Facebook and Instagram, tagging, @monocel.timbercare and @littleredindustries. We love to see your projects!