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Ashley Mann spent three years living full time in a 38-foot, 5th-wheel RV with her husband Josiah and their cat, Kitty. Her favorite thing about RV life is the challenge of finding the perfect way to organize a space, and she loves seeing all the creative and clever ways people come up with to customize their RVs.
My RV came with shelves in the shower that, while they looked nice and are very handy when the RV is parked, I knew would be totally useless for storage when the RV was in motion.
Now I know that I could have easily solved this problem by purchasing an additional shower caddy or moving everything to the floor of the shower while the RV was moving, but I really like the idea of everything being in its proper place, and I was sure I could come up with some way to make the original shelves useful for travel. So, I thought and thought and did a bit of research, and this is what I came up with.
The cool thing about this solution is that it is easily removable and leaves no trace.
First, I went to Lowe's and purchased a piece of 24″ x 18″ plexiglass, which I had them cut for me into three 11″ x 4″ pieces – the size I needed for the walls of my shelves.
Next, I purchased a strip of flexible silicone “h” type shower door seal, cut six 4″ pieces from it, and then cut the “leg” of the “h” off to make it a “y” shape instead.
Below you can see what it looked like before and after cutting:
Using Acrylic Mounting Tape
The key to this project is clear acrylic double-sided mounting tape.
I just want to pause here and talk about this tape. This stuff is amazingly strong, super stretchy and flexible, and yet easy to peel off and remove with zero damage to the surface it was stuck to. In fact,
at some point I am planning to write I wrote a separate blog post just about all the ways I use this stuff around my RV.
Here's a picture of the tape; the red part is a backing that peels off the tape.
So for this project, I attached 1″-wide mounting tape to the wide, flat side of the strips of shower seal and cut the tape to be the same length.
Cutting the Plexiglass
I then cut strips of the mounting tape in half lengthwise to make them 1/2″ wide and affixed them to the edges of the plexiglass.
Then I peeled the red backing off the tape on the plexiglass and attached a strip of seal to each edge, like this:
After that, I peeled the backing off of the wider strips of tape, and took it to my shower.
Attaching the Plexiglass to My Shower Walls
I stuck it to the walls of my shower, bowing the plexiglass just slightly as I pushed it into place so that the plexiglass would apply a slight pressure to the silicone seal. I left about half an inch of space for water to drain out. Notice that my shower walls are textured – this works just as well for smooth or textured shower walls.
Now I have to admit, the tape attaching the plexiglass to the silicone doesn't completely stay stuck to the silicone. I actually tried a couple of other methods for attaching the silicone seal to the plexiglass, including a hot glue gun, super glue, and E-6000 glue, and none of them worked at all.
You may wish to try some other type of glue, perhaps a silicone adhesive, but to be honest it doesn't really matter that much because the shape of the seal and the pressure of the plexiglass bowing holds it in place well enough that the extra adhesion almost isn't needed. I went ahead and used the tape to provide friction and help keep it from slipping.
The wider tape stays stuck just fine to the flat back of the silicone next to the shower wall, partially due to the pressure of the plexiglass, and that's what matters.
Here are all my plexiglass walls in place:
The Completed Project
Here are my shelves filled with stuff.
I purposely left the bottles on the bottom shelf, which are both nearly full, upside down and leaning up against the plexiglass to see if it would hold, and it hasn't budged. Water and humidity haven't affected the adhesion either.
I am able to keep plants in my shower because I have a skylight that provides light for them. 🙂 Begonia and pothos ivy, in case you were wondering. 😉 They are planted in a sponge caddy that I used to have hanging from Command strips on the shower walls, but I decided I liked it better sitting on the top shelf.
This project can be done for around $25-$30, or less if, like me, you already have the mounting tape. Here is a list of the materials I used for this project, as well as a step-by-step list of instructions:
- plexiglass – You can get this at a place like Lowe's or Home Depot and they will cut it for you, or you can purchase it online and cut it yourself, or you can order it custom cut to your specifications from several online suppliers.
- silicone “h” type shower door seal
- clear acrylic double-sided mounting tape
- Cut one piece of plexiglass for each shelf to the length of the widest part of your shower shelves and whatever height you prefer.
- Cut a length of silicone shower seal for each edge of the plexiglass equal to the height of the glass.
- Cut and affix 1″ mounting tape to the wide, flat surface of the shower seal. Do not remove the backing yet.
- Cut 1″ mounting tape lengthwise to make it 1/2″ wide and affix it to edges of the plexiglass pieces. Do not remove the backing yet.
- Remove the backing from the tape along the edges of the plexiglass and attach the glass to the shower seal along the inside of the short side of the “y”.
- Remove the backing from the tape along the wide, flat side of the shower seal.
- Leaving about 1/2″ of clearance to allow water to drain out, press the plexiglass into the corner of the shower, bowing the glass slightly to create pressure against the wall along the edges.
If you do this project, please leave a comment to let me know how it goes, and if you come up with any improvements to my design! 🙂
Three Years Later
In 2019, when we moved out of our fifth wheel after living in it for three years, I made this video to follow-up and talk about my experience with the project:
Six Years Later
A Note, Six Years Later: I have been amazed to see photos all over the internet of other RV owners who used my idea! I'm so glad this solution has been useful to so many people! Over the years, I've heard from some people who said they pretty much followed my steps exactly as I wrote them, as well as from some people who said my process didn't work for them for whatever reason, but that they were able to adapt the idea to work for them. That's the beauty of RV life: if you are resourceful, you can figure out how to make just about anything work! If you give this idea a try, I'd love it if you would come back and leave a comment to let me know how it went for you!
For more ideas for organizing and storing things in a camper or motorhome, check out my RV organization resource page!