Introduction: Shoe Storage Made From Cardboard Pipe

We tried to experiment on this one and made our very own shoe storage made from cardboard pipe. These pipe are actually concrete forms. They come in sizes up to about 3ft (1m) in diameter and are quite tough. However, if you have wet shoes, let them dry for a couple of hours before putting them on this shoe storage. As all of our ideas so far, this one can be upgraded with using different paint and finishing and whatever you may find useful.

Step 1: Buy the Tubes

In the professional world these are known as cardboard tubes for concrete (cement) footings and come in variety of diameters ranging from 16.5 cm (6.5 inches) to over 1 meter (40 inches). We bought them from a local shop since the UK version of Home Depot Wickes didn't have any available.

Step 2: Cutting

The tubes come cut in 1.2 metres lenghts. With some basic math we get four 30 cm pipes out of it. These pipes will be the actual storage where you put your shoes. Check out this shoe size chart to get an idea how big your shoe compartments should be. Cut the pipe using a saw.

Step 3: Paint It (Optional)

We used some old varnish lying around. You can experiment with this part.

There were a couple of questions regarding this step and whether or not it's better to paint before or after the gluing part, we find that it is better to first paint and then glue everything together. This way you will have more control over the spreading of the paint over the edges and the sides of the tubes.

Step 4: Gluing

We used PVA glue to hold everything together. Silicone glue should also do a good job. Since this is a sort of modern design, you can create different shapes, you can decide how tall should the structure be and so.

Step 5: The End Result

Probably the best DIY shoe storage option out there. Our team recommends!


tomatoskins made it!(author)2015-04-07

Would you suggest painting before you glue everything together? Or was it easier to paint the whole thing all at once?

VanSquad made it!(author)2015-04-08

We suggest painting everything before you get to the gluing part. Although it will be more time consuming, you will be able to paint everything with better attention to details like the sides and edges.

bd5 made it!(author)2015-04-09

This type of instructable is one of my favorite. Good job! Everything about it! It's simple, it looks good, it's inexpensive, it's very practical and fun! A suggestion, to make the tubes stiffer, you could get a good quality wood glue (like Titebond), put some in a pan/container. Mix as little water as possible, how little?--> Just enough to where the glue/water soaks up completely without leaving any traces on the surface. The tubes will be much stronger. Great instructable!

cammosutra made it!(author)2017-03-10

Unless I misunderstand something , your titebond "improvement" is not waterproof. And that is the weakness of these: if they get wet. I have worked with those tubes on concrete pours. No offense, but you apparently have not. If you don't think they are tough enough already, I
have to ask: what in Hell are you planning to do with them?

Fuzzy+Lollipop made it!(author)2015-04-19

What did you use to cut the tubes with such a clean even cut?

cammosutra made it!(author)2017-03-10

Getting a clean cut is THE trick. You will probably want to leave the factory edge out and bury the cut edge no matter how well you do it. It can be cut on a line with a razor knife, but not easily: be patient and don't use force. And a cut is only as good as your line. A skillsaw or sawsall will cut it, but you will have to clean up the edges somehow. With concrete forms, a perfect edge is of zero concern. For finish work, I would use a skillsaw or table saw and figure out a guide or a jig. If you figure out how to duplicate a factory edge, please let me know. I don't think they make pipe cutters that big, but that would sure do it.

cammosutra made it!(author)2017-03-10


a few seconds ago

Yeah, I WOULD paint the cuts. For the record - - these things
are called sonotubes. No clue why, so don't ask me. But if you show up
at a Home Despot, or Less Of What Eagle Sold (LOWES), or wherever, they
are in the section with the concrete stuff and that is what they are
called. The trick, in my experience, is getting a perfectly
perpendicular cut, and they are to big for most chop saws. The are used
for forming concrete columns and are usually just left there: if you
strip them, they will come off in a spiral or in chunks. They suck up
moisture and go to Hell, if they get wet! I would paint or re coat for
this use. Cool stuff. Have fun!

cammosutra made it!(author)2017-03-10

I should add a PS. A BIG PS. This is heavy duty cardboard with center
full of air. It is flammable! A sonotube can catch fire and burn in this
sort of application. Don't put it near something that can set it on
fire or vice versa.

T0BY made it!(author)2016-12-06

I want one!

chrispix made it!(author)2015-11-15

Thanks for this great idea! I opted not to paint mine, as my wife is sensitive to smells. I also used screws, nuts, and fender washers to assemble mine instead of glue to make it easier to assemble and disassemble if necessary.

Giulia+Art made it!(author)2015-06-09

Congrats on making finalist! How was your sleep until now?Are you waiting for the big announcement? What prize would you like to receive? :D

mxx made it!(author)2015-04-27

Great idea! Regarding the problem with wet shoes, of course you could also give the inside a thorough coat of varnish, which should make them watertight enough.

BruceE3 made it!(author)2015-04-22


Teeduh made it!(author)2015-04-21

where would you find these ?

grogers8 made it!(author)2015-04-09

What diameter did you use on yours?

VanSquad made it!(author)2015-04-19

Hey, sorry for the late response. The ones used in this instructable are 26 cm (or 10.2 inches). This diameter is suitable for lighter shoes, sandals, sneakers etc. We recommend bigger diameter for the heavy winter shoes.

grogers8 made it!(author)2015-04-19

Thank you for the information. Nice instructable!

Ecchi made it!(author)2015-04-12

I was wondering the same! :) This part seems to be missing from the instructions :(

LinSue made it!(author)2015-04-17

Wondering if oatmeal boxes are strong enough to use, I have quite a few saved. Great idea!

Christian+Reese made it!(author)2015-04-16

I recently moved house and need a place for my shoes. Guess there's no point in ordering anything from Ikea now when I have this idea :D

RCMann54 made it!(author)2015-04-14

Shoes? OMG this would be great to hang on a wall and use for all my yarn!

grogers8 made it!(author)2015-04-14

Gee, thank you Kludge77 I read that too. The question was to VanSquad as to what size he used.

myosef made it!(author)2015-04-14

1st time I see this post - so funny & unbelievable !!! I have started last week making one with my daughter - see the pictures and you will understand :)

BartholomewH made it!(author)2015-04-13

I'm a fan of creative and innovative thinking when it comes down to shoes.
I myself have about 20 pairs of shoes and storage has always been a pickle. Adding this to my notebook. Dope idea,

Pelissand made it!(author)2015-04-10


Merci ^^

Catley made it!(author)2015-04-09

I love things like this--easy, colorful, unusual, and a great way to make the house more organized. Thanks loads! Definitely going to do this one in the near future. My husband built something like a bookcase in the garage to hold our shoes, but after each shelf is filled with shoes there is a lot of wasted space above them, and if we pile shoes on top of other shoes, they get dirty and it all looks messy. Now we can just fill up a shelf with a few rows of these pipes.

ynamazon made it!(author)2015-04-09

Just FYI, if you check at a local newspaper print shop, you might be able to get tubes for free. Newspaper rolls come on cardboard tubes. There would only be one size, suitable for tennis shoes or sandals, but free is always better.

RobTurrentine made it!(author)2015-04-09

I used to run a lot and collected a lot of T-shirts from fun runs and needed a place to store them. I made a similar rack with PVC pipe for my shirts; just rolled them up and stuck them in the tubes. Great idea for shoes.

Oscelot made it!(author)2015-04-09

Hmmmm... possibly painting the "bottoms" of the tubes with plastidip for water resistance? Anyway, good idea. I could see a whole stand made out of concrete tubes. Some up the wall for holding shoes, and a tube on the side for brollies...

Tuan+JinnN made it!(author)2015-04-09

This is one of the best idea ever! Thanks

dlindstrom made it!(author)2015-04-09

I saw these tubes in the hardware store and thought the exact same thing :) You could also add some fine sanding to the edges, or just get some rubber molding to go around each like can be found here:

eviltwin617 made it!(author)2015-04-09

Cool idea. What diameter tubes did you buy?

ymgagnon made it!(author)2015-04-09

I made something similar, using a few different diameters of tubes. To plan positions and overall shape, I used paperclips to hold it all together. We actually used it for a few weeks like that to make sure we were happy with the shape. With different sizes, you can have small areas for keys, large areas for winter gear, or a camera case... and of course you can always make it bigger later if you need more room.

Something to be aware of... many of these tubes (they're called "Sono Tubes" around here) have an inner coating of a waxy paper. If you want to paint the inside, you'd have to peel that off. (though it could help with the waterproof issue if you don't)

sakethasathvik made it!(author)2015-04-07

Great idea.

starforest made it!(author)2015-04-07

Very clever!

About This Instructable




Bio: Hey guys! We are Van Squad! Professional company based in London, United Kingdom. We do removals and man and van (which is the equivalent of ... More »
More by VanSquad:Shoe Storage Made from Cardboard PipeA Cardboard Zen GardenThe Coolest Paper Plate Baskets Out There
Add instructable to: