How to Make a Bathtub Plug

If you’re like me, then you love taking baths. There’s something about submerging yourself in hot water that is so relaxing. But if you’re not careful, your bath can quickly turn into a disaster. That’s why it’s essential to have a bathtub plug on hand! In this article, I will discuss how to make a bathtub plug using just a few household items. So gather up your supplies, and let’s get started!

It can be a real pain when your bathtub drain is clogged, and you can’t take a bath. You have to use various drain cleaners or call a plumber to come out and snake the drain. By the time they get there, you might be late for work! But if you have a bathtub plug on hand, this situation will never happen again!

How to Make a Bathtub Plug

Required Tools and Materials

  • Drill
  • Saw
  • 5/8″ dowel rod (at least 8″)
  • Epoxy adhesive
  • Paddle pop sticks, small plastic lids, etc. for weighting the plug by the rim of the tub

Optional Materials:  sawdust, waterproofing sealer/substitute, lubricant (WD40 or silicone spray)

A Detailed Guide on How to Make a Bathtub Plug

Step 1: Determine the Size of the Bathtub Drain

The size of a bathtub drain will vary depending upon several factors. The most crucial factor to consider when choosing a plug is diameter though it’s also helpful if you can easily pull the plug from the drain after filling up the tub.

While bathroom fixtures are typically standardized, there is some variance between manufacturers and models, especially those purchased second-hand or online, so make sure your plug fits before making it unless you’re willing to learn to remove stuck plugs!

In this article, we’ll be using 1-1/8″ as our standard for home baths, but if you have a minor standard-sized bathtub drain, then 1-3/8″ dowel rod may just as well – just don’t use an epoxy adhesive!

Step 2: Determine How Much Space You Need to Fill for Your Bathtub Plug

It’s important to note that the plug is designed to be installed dry and filled after it’s in place. So the amount of space you need to fill will depend on how much water your tub can hold.

Generally, standard U.S. bathtubs with a regular drain diameter would require somewhere around 1/2 gallon (about 2 liters) of water – an ounce or two less if you’re using silicone lubricant but more if you’re using sawdust as weighting material (it’ll suck up some fluid). If you need more space, then consider enlarging the hole; plan for at least one gallon (about 4 liters) of water.

Setup of BathTub

Step 3: Drill Your Hole (and How to Avoid Blowing up the Tub)

The hole for your plug should be drilled through the flat bottom or side of one end of the dowel rod, not at the end that will be capped off with epoxy adhesive. Drilling into the cap risks damaging a drill bit and can create a high-pressure jet that you don’t want going anywhere near plumbing lines or walls – let alone bathtubs!

If you’re using a standard-sized plug, then it’s best to set your drill press to a 1/2″ depth and drill through the center of your dowel rod. However, this isn’t always possible depending on dowel rod diameter and chuck size.

If all else fails, consider using a 7/16″ bit if you want the finished plug to be 1-1/8″ in diameter or a 5/8″ bit for 1-3/8″. Drill slowly and use plenty of lubricants – water may work as long as your dowel rod isn’t painted (which it probably is).

If you’re not comfortable drilling through your dowel rod, try to see the end flat against a table saw. This will require more clean up though it’s still less risky than setting your drill press to its lowest angle and trying to eyeball where the center is!

Step 4: Clean Your Dowel Rod

Before gluing on the cap or filling it with water, clean your dowel rod. Any sawdust on the surface of the dowel will absorb fluid and expand to block the hole, so you’ve got to get rid of it somehow! If you’re using a saw, make sure it’s incredibly sharp – an 80-grit or higher chainsaw file is best, but some people even report good results with a wood rasp (also called a cabinet scraper).

A coarse pocket knife may also work if your dowel rod isn’t painted, though this would be much more difficult. You can also try removing paint by soaking or heating the end of your plug-in paint stripper, then quickly wiping off the wetted area with a kind of degreaser.

Again, the goal is to create a clean surface that will absorb very little fluid, which should be easy if you’re using a brand-new dowel rod.

Clean Your Dowel Rod

Step 5: Attach Your Capping Epoxy

Using standard bathtub epoxy (not silicone sealant), apply a thin film of adhesive around the outside edge of your dowel rod. How thick you make it will depend on how much pressure you expect the plug to experience, but about 1/4″ is suitable for most situations – make sure to leave enough room for water!

The more thickly you lay down the adhesive, the more time you’ll need to work it into the wood with an x-acto knife before attempting to install it.

The cap usually comes attached on rolls or can be bought separately – it’s also made of polypropylene compatible with epoxy adhesives but not always, so check first! If so, separate some polyethylene foam sheets into slightly larger pieces than your cap.

Next, cut through the adhesive with an x-acto knife while applying pressure to create a pocket for your capping epoxy, then sandwich everything together using 3/4″ or 1″ wood screws.

How many screws you need will depend on how thick your dowel rod is, but at least one on each side should do the trick – if the dowel starts shifting around during installation, then add more! This is a crucial step in how to make a bathtub plug.

Crucial Step to Make a Bathtub Plug

Step 6: Install Your Plug

As with most bathtub fixtures, your plug should be installed before the surrounding tiles and walls have been finished, so place it where you want it, then mark its outline. Modify as needed, then clean up any marks left behind by the thin set, allowing it to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Once ready, mix up another batch of bathtub epoxy, then work it into the dowel rod until the plug begins to sink into the adhesive. How much epoxy you need will depend on size, but you probably won’t need more than a couple of tablespoons for most plugs – try not to overuse it, though, or you’ll risk overflowing!

Once your plug is glued in place, wipe off any excess adhesive with acetone while ensuring everything is level. If needed, use small pieces of styrene foam cut from an old milk carton as shims to make minor adjustments before letting everything set for 24 hours. Finally, screw your cap onto what remains of your dowel rod and let the glue cure for several more hours!

Step 7: Fill and Enjoy!

Your plug is now ready for use – keep in mind that it’s not designed to be handled, so store it somewhere safely between uses. How you fill your tub is up to personal preference, but it’s always best to start with very little water since you can always add more if needed.

When your desired level has been reached, screw the cap back on and take a nice relaxing bath! These steps will help in how to make a bathtub plug.

Tips and Warnings:


  • Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the plug before filling with water. You can also use essential oils in the water when showering or bathing for added relaxation and aromatherapy benefits.
  • Stay away from candles, matches, and other open flames while making a bathtub plug. Please do NOT use them near your tub or power tools! Be safe and get creative instead of using battery-operated candles that will last longer than regular ones anyway.
  • If you don’t feel like making your bathtub plug, there are plenty of options available for purchase online. First, check out Amazon, where you can find many different types, colors, and sizes of bathtub plugs.


  • Protective eye gear must be worn when using power tools.
  • Always follow the directions in your project manual for safety and proper usage of tools.
  • Avoid contact with moving parts at all costs. This includes power tools, belt sander, saws, etc.
  • Keep your home free of clutter and anything else that may cause you to slip, trip, or fall.
  • Do NOT use candles or matches when working with power tools. Find battery-operated candles instead for a safer (and more creative) option!
Keep Your Home Free of Clutter


Here’s how to make a bathtub plug that’ll keep the water from draining out. First, you will need an old, unused plunger and PVC pipe or tubing. Drill holes in both ends of your PVC so you can attach it to the plunger with bolts and nuts.

When you push down on the plunger, the air is forced through the tube and into one end of your bucket (or container), which fills up like a vacuum cleaner does when sucking dirt off of the carpeting. This creates enough suction power to seal any leaks in your tub drain!

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