How To Make An Over The Toilet Shelf In A Weekend

Adding storage to a small bathroom is one of the trickiest things you can do.  There is only so much room you have to work with.  Adding an over the toilet shelf in a small bathroom is a perfect solution to adding storage to your bathroom.

In this post you'll learn how to build an over the toilet space saver to add extra storage and organization to your small bathroom.  This over the toilet ladder shelf is a perfect beginner DIY project that you'll be able to get so much use out of.

Recently we updated our small bathroom.  One of the biggest problems we face is storage.  Since I removed our sink vanity and replaced it with a pedestal sink I needed something that would look awesome, not cost much, and was able to store the bathroom essentials.

Creating furniture doesn’t have to be scary.  With a little direction and planning, you can DIY bathroom storage without spending much money.  If you are in need of small bathroom storage solutions and want this shelf in your bathroom, I created a free supply list with step by step instructions you can print off.

 Are you ready to build a toilet ladder shelf to solve your lack of storage in your small bathroom?  In this post, I’m going to show you how I build this over the toilet shelf in a weekend with just a few tools and a couple of pieces of wood.  Recently we updated our small bathroom.  One of the biggest problems we face is storage.  Since I removed our sink vanity and replaced it with a pedestal sink I needed something that would look awesome, not cost much, and was able to store the bathroom essentials.  Creating furniture doesn’t have to be scary.  With a little direction and planning, you can DIY bathroom storage without spending much money. #DIY #bathroomorganization #smallbathroomorganization #bathroomstoragesolutions #smallbathroomstorage #overthetoiletshelf #laddershelf #overthetoiletstorage

Most homes lack storage for bathrooms.  We needed something to hold extra hand towels, toilet paper, and other bathroom essentials.  Something like an over the toilet space saver.

When we updated our bathroom we removed everything.  We live in a 1970’s home so that means, dark wood, yellow counters, and rooms that are showing their age.  I wanted the room to be bright and have a farmhouse look.

I painted the walls white, installed new white trim along the floors and window.  Layed new dark hardwood flooring, and installed a pedestal sink. (Soon, you can see the entire update).

There wasn’t room to add a shelf on the floor.  We needed something that hung on the wall that was out of the way.  So I came up with a ladder shelf I’m going to show you how to build this weekend.  

Right now, I’m completely obsessed with ladder shelves so I wanted to incorporate storage into a ladder shelf and that’s exactly what I’m going to share with you.

starting supplies.jpg
over the toilet shelf.jpg

The over the toilet storage shelf I created…

Added two shelves plus an added towel rack to store the bathroom essentials.

The dimensions ended up being 23” wide and 26” long which was perfect for your small half bathroom. Which was a perfect fit for our 4’ by 8’ bathroom.

Supplies for the over the toilet ladder shelves

I was able to make this shelf out of 1x8, 1x6, 1x3, and a dowel.  The entire shelf cost under $15 since I had the stain, screws, wood filler, and glue already on hand.  If you don’t have those on hand, it’s not a lot of upfront cost and you’ll be able to use them for a lot more fun projects.

The tools I used were:

  • Miter saw (you can use a hand saw if you don’t have a miter saw)

  • Ear protection

  • Eye protection

  • Wood glue

  • Drill with a countersink bit and a ¾” drill bit

  • 2” wood screws

  • Sander with 80 grit paper

  • Poly stain (it saves time and you can skip a step!)

  • Wood filler

  • Paintbrush

  • Gloves

  • Face Mask (for sanding and staining)

  • Self-drilling drywall anchor screws

You can download the free supply and cut list with the step by step instructions below.

The cut list:

  • 1x8 @ 20"
  • 1x6 @ 20"
  • 1x3 @ 21.5"
  • 2-1x3 @ 26"
  • 2-1x3 @ 20 "
  • 2-1x3 @ 6"
  • 2-1x3 @ 8"
  • 3/4" dowel @ 24"

The first thing I needed to do was measure and cut all of the pieces.


Once the pieces were all cut to the length I needed, I started assembling the shelves.

I took the 1x6 and the 1x3 to make a ledge for the shelf.  I didn’t want things falling of the sides and I needed an area in the back to attach the cabinet to the wall.

However, before I started assembling I drilled holes where the screws were going to be so the wood wouldn’t split.


Then I added some wood glue before I attached the piece making this a strong and permanent fit.

I completed both shelves now it was time to assemble this a shelf.  


I took the 1x3 that I was going to use as the top support and added that to the top.  


Then I needed to figure out how far apart the shelves needed to be so with a little bit of measuring I came up with a plan (remember all of the measurements are in the free plans you can download).

Now it was time to attach the shelves to the sides.  I created an angle with the ends as you can see with these pictures.

ladder shelves.jpg

I made a small mistake with the dowel and cut the dowel a little short (the dimensions are correct in the plans).  Instead of heading to the store and buying another dowel I cut a 1x3 to size for each side, drilled a hole big enough for it to fit in and then added that to the bottom.


Here are a few pictures of what the shelf looks like before filling in the holes and sanding:

shelf assembled.jpg
another angle.jpg

Once the shelf was assembled it was time to fill the screw holes.  I took a little bit of wood filler that goes on pink and dries a natural wood color.  This way you know when it’s dry (it takes about 2 hours).

wood filler drying.jpg

The wood filler dried so it was time to sand the whole shelf.  This removes any uneven areas, splinters, and excess wood filler.  It leaves your shelf nice and smooth.

I wanted the shelf to match the flooring I put in so I went for a dark stain.  It needed a polyurethane coat so I purchased the stain and poly combo. Before I started staining I wanted to make sure that I removed any dust so I used a big sponge to remove any excess dust.

Now it’s time to stain.  I used a paintbrush and then allowed it to dry overnight.

supplies to stain over the toilet shelf.jpg
stain over the toilet shelf.jpg

To install I used my stud finder to find the studs.  Since I could only find 1 that I could use, I used a few self-drilling drywall anchors.  

Once the shelf was installed it was time to add the towels, baskets, and a houseplant to liven the room up.

over the toilet shelf completed.jpg

One thing that I should mention that I forgot to take pictures of is, I did sand the shelf to give the shelf a distressed look.  I took my sander and sanded the corners and edges.

If this mom with very little experience can do it, you can do it too.

All in all, it was a pretty simple project.  It took 1 day of building and another day of drying to complete.  I would say the hands-on time it was about 3 hours. But with drying time it does take the weekend.

This shelf is very customizable too.  If you have more space you could make the shelves longer or even add another shelf.  

Change the stain on your DIY design style.  

If you’re looking for a simple project to add some storage to your bathroom then this is a perfect weekend DIY project.

With a complete supply list, cut list, and step by step instruction making this shelf just got that much easier.  It’s free click the button below to download and start building this shelf today.

**This post may contain affiliate links.  What that means is if you decided to make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I may recieve a small commission.  This allows me to continue to create projects and posts for you to enjoy.  You can read my full disclosure here.

Here are some links to tools and supplies that I used during this project that you might enjoy!

I would love to know in the comments below, is this something that you think you could build?  What changes would you make?

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Have an amazing day and happy building!