Introduction: Shoe Tower - a Free Standing, Multi-tier Floating Shoe Rack

Picture of Shoe Tower - a Free Standing, Multi-tier Floating Shoe Rack

Shoes take up a lot of space. This is a known fact.

In a room as small as mine, space is valuable and the shoe pile that I used to maintain in one corner of my room often became unmanageable as the shoes spread out across my room and enveloped what little floor space I had.

Not any more! With a combination of the Ikea floating shoe rack and some ideas of my own, I've created this free standing shoe rack/tower which stores my shoes in an attractive way without the need for cardboard boxes or shelves. WIN!

This design is easily expandable and the strength of the steel bars I've used to support the shoes means it could easily be extended to house 3 pairs of shoes side by side. It would also be easy to build one which extended up higher to accommodate more shoes than I have.

I've entered this into the Homemade Christmas competition as I think it'd be a great gift for any of the disorganised people in your life.

I hope you like it! Comment and rate please.

Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials

Here's a list of tools and materials that you'll need to complete this project.

  • screw driver
  • tennon saw
  • hacksaw
  • carpenters square
  • some clamps
  • pencil
  • pretractor
  • drill with 3mm and 5mm bits
  • a scrap of sandpaper

  • 1 2100 x 70 x 18mm planed timber
  • 3 1m lengths of 4mm threaded steel
  • 6 1.25" x 8 screws
  • 18 4mm nuts
Approximate cost: £10

Step 2: Marking and Cutting the Wood

Picture of Marking and Cutting the Wood

Picture 2 shows the dimensions of the pieces you will need to end up with.

Draw a line perpendicular to the edge, 600mm from one end of the timber. From this draw a line 15 degrees from the vertical (pic 3), this will give the slant on the shoe tower so it doesn't just fall over forwards. You will need two of these 600mm long bits, with a 15 degree wedge cut of the end of each. They will form the uprights of the shoe tower.

For the feet of the tower, 2 250mm long pieces of wood are required, with the same 15 degree wedge cut out of the end of each. Picture 3 shoes one of the feet drawn onto the wood. Cut along the slanting line then measure 250mm from the pointed end remaining to find the line to be drawn for the next cut.

Once all the pieces have been cut to size, sand off any lightly splintered edges with some medium grade sand paper. I used 120 grit and used the pieces as sanding blocks as I couldn't find mine!

Step 3: Marking and Drilling Holes

Picture of Marking and Drilling Holes

It is important that you mark and drill holes in the correct positions, otherwise your shoes won't lie flat when in their spaces. For trainers the steel bars should be on corners of a rectangle 70mm x 40mm. Flip-flops need the same width of rectangle but only 25mm high. Pumps or other girly shoes I don't own would need slots somewhere in between these heights.

The diagram in picture 1 should illustrate this well. Picture 2 is the same diagram rotated to give a better impression of how the finished stand should look.

I used a scorer (correct name please?) to mark a faint line which left a 40mm seperation between the holes once marked, then marked along these lines the positions of the holes.

There are further pictures to illustrate the process I undertook to mark and drill the holes. The 5mm holes are where the threaded steel rods are slid through, the 3mm holes are pilot holes to allow you to screw the feet of the stand to the inside of the uprights. The 3mm holes go all the way through the feet and part way through the uprights.

Please note: I left an "X" off my diagram, picture one has a comment to show you where an additional steel bar should go.

Step 4: Assembly of Wooden Parts.

Picture of Assembly of Wooden Parts.

Screw the feet to the uprights so that the feet are on the inside and the screws go from the inside, through the feet and into the uprights.

A neat trick the align them well once you've drilled the pilot holes is to start screwing the screws into the feet until the tips of the screws start poking out the other side, these can then be slotted into the pilot holes in the uprights and driven home with a few final turns.

Step 5: Marking, Cutting and Preparing the Steel Rods

Picture of Marking, Cutting and Preparing the Steel Rods

Mark your threaded steel rods so that you cut them into lengths 330mm long. I found a Sharpie was best for this.

Clamp against something solid to stop them rolling around then chop them up with a hacksaw. You'll need 9 lengths for a stand 4 tiers high (4 pairs plus a brace across the back of the legs). Careful on this part, go slow and steady and you won't end up with the end of your rods mangles, this could make threading the nuts onto them harder.

Grab your nuts (no not those you dirty bugger) and thread one onto the end of each of the threaded rods until they're about 30mm from the end. These are the nuts to hold the two wooden frames apart.

Step 6: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly

Slot one of each of the rods into the holes on one side of the wooden frame. Add a nut to the end of the rod on the other side and do up the nut on the inside tight so that there is very little thread poking out on the outside.

Lay the frame flat on the floor and drop the second part of the frame on top. Screw the final nuts down on top and screw the inside ones for that side up to meet the frame.

Tighten up all the nuts with a spanner to stop them coming undone and stand it up the right way.

Step 7: Finished and Photos From Others

Picture of Finished and Photos From Others

Load up your shoe tower with shoes and sit back and enjoy your new lack of a shoe pile.

Thanks to the people that took inspiration from my ible and made their own. Pictures below!


pjdubber (author)2012-05-20

I finally got around to making this shoe rack and I expanded on it a bit. My total width was 3'6" or 42" or 1067mm (for you brits!) with an additional "leg" in the middle. I stained the wood, spray painted black enamel on all nuts, washers, and threaded steel (1/4") and got some clear vinyl tubing (1/4" inner diameter) to cover the threaded steel where it contacts the top of the shoe (not bottom).  I tried to slide on the tubing but it was a bit too snug, so I sliced the tubing lengthwise and slipped it on.  I also varied the spacing for each level and made the top level two different sizes (see SketchUp pic for the middle "leg" measurements).  Please feel free to use these pics in your final step and thank you very much for posting such a great idea!

And yes, I did have to thread the nuts all the way to the middle leg!  :p

Jayefuu (author)pjdubber2012-05-20

Nice! It looks great!

aalejo1 made it! (author)2015-06-03

Just need some varnish and its done. Thanks for the instructable.

mrsly (author)2014-09-30

Fairly happy with how this guy turned out...

Jayefuu (author)mrsly2014-09-30

Well done! Looks great!

berteh made it! (author)2014-08-08

Thanks for the idea.

I took inspiration of your set up to make a shoe rack out of scrap wood and pvc (electric) tubes. no screw needed (for now) thanks to tight holes for pvc passing trough. added some curves and color for fun.

Thanks again!

Jouda Mann (author)2009-12-10

 How does this effect the toes of the shoes? I would love to make this for my wife, but if the toes get damaged, she will end up wrapping this thing around my neck.

ourmoneypit (author)Jouda Mann2009-12-10

LOL  from what I read in one of the comments, I think Jayefuu was originally planning to heat-shrink wrap each of the rods.  This might not be a bad idea in order not to scuff the tops of your spouse's shoes.  Maybe some type of foam covering could be had, to be really safe. 

The rods under the shoes wouldn't matter, and I think the threading on the rods probably helps to grip the shoes.

neo71665 (author)ourmoneypit2014-07-17

vinyl tube slid over the metal rod would be easier.

Jayefuu (author)ourmoneypit2009-12-10

Yeh I thought it might make it look nicer. I might add electrical tape to the bars to see what it looks like, will post a picture if I do. I decided it'd be too much faff to get the heat shrink in the right place.

Jayefuu (author)Jouda Mann2009-12-10

Ha ha. My shoes have been in the rack for a month now, 1 week in this one and 3 weeks in the prototype. Not suffered so far. Shoes are pretty light and the only force on the toes is much less than their own weight.

I don't imagine it'd affect them any more than walking in them would, but I wouldn't want to promise you that and incur your wife's wrath on you. :p

eu4euh made it! (author)2014-07-16

Hello, This idea for shoe storage has been something I have wanted to build for several years now. I just finished my own take on this idea. I went with 2x4 lumber and dowels. The dowels are glued in place, in drilled out pocket holes. The 2x4 "legs" are joined with biscuit joints . I sanded the wood down to 400grit and stained the wood red Mahogany , then poly coated it. Making this , I learned that I should remove stray wood glue better before I stain the wood. I wiped the wood glue off with warm water and a rag but some must have still been on the wood. When I stained, I noticed after a few round dowel sized circles that did not take the stain well. That's where some glue remained...Anyway, I am still very happy with it. Mine is 50" across and can hold almost 20 pairs of shoes. This shoe shelf really cleaned up the mess that was my family's pile of footwear at the front door of our house. Thank you for this good idea.

Yorkshire Lass made it! (author)2014-01-31

Love this design. Finally made one in oak with carbon fibre rods (left over from a kite-making phase). Mitred the joints and made it double width to hold 14 pairs of shoes.

Jayefuu (author)Yorkshire Lass2014-01-31

Wow that's excellent! Looks miles better than mine. Love the carbon fibre.

Where in Yorkshire?

Yorkshire Lass (author)Jayefuu2014-01-31

North Leeds, not a million miles from you in Huddersfield. I got the wood at near Keighley, it's worth knowing about if you want nice hardwood for a project.

alopgeek (author)2013-05-15

Nice wood selection, what is that? Pine?

lets play (author)2012-06-17

Thanks for the great idea and everyone's photos of their adaptations. Here is mine. This is a weird nook in my kitchen that was totally useless. Now we have 4 shoe shelves and 4 shelves for other stuff.

Sunbanks (author)2010-01-15

I think when I do this I'll use wooden dowels instead of the threaded steel, and then I'll paint it a nice color :D Like purple.

Houdinipeter (author)Sunbanks2010-03-21

 did you ever finish that? That looks like a good way to go..

Sunbanks (author)Houdinipeter2010-03-21

Not yet, I still need to get the dowels. 

Jayefuu (author)Sunbanks2010-06-10

How about now? :)

Sunbanks (author)Jayefuu2010-06-10

Haha I STILL haven't gotten them!

dvnfntn (author)Sunbanks2010-06-20


Sunbanks (author)dvnfntn2010-06-20

Nope :P

Jayefuu (author)Sunbanks2011-09-15


Jayefuu (author)Sunbanks2010-01-16

That would be cool. You'd have to use slightly thicker dowel than i did steel, but you wouldn't have to drill all the way through the wood so it'd look nicer.

j626no (author)Jayefuu2010-04-25

 if you used acorn nuts on the outside surface, it might make it look a little nicer (since you were worried about the threaded rods sticking out beyond the wood)

CrawJac (author)Jayefuu2010-03-22

 It's a great idea, I used the same hole spacing and used 1/2" dowel rods. It worked great and I was able to paint it. But, I would suggest NOT drilling all of the way through the sides b/c the ends can be tough to sand and paint.

Jayefuu (author)CrawJac2010-03-23

Can you post a photo please? :D

Greenehouse (author)2011-03-20

Great project idea, thanks for posting it. I agree with the suggestions of threading a nut on BEFORE cutting the rod. Once it's cut you just unscrew the nut and it cleans up any burrs or nicks and it's easy to re-thread the nut. You could recess the outside nuts into the legs so they don't stick out if that is a concern. Again, great project!

Hibatchi cow (author)2010-12-15

Ok i am sorry this is kinda unrelated but i have those black Salomons and they are awsome

Eye Poker (author)2010-06-14

I'm thinking some brass colored rods and a bit of stain....

ah-el (author)2010-06-05

merci for live

EggHead101 (author)2010-05-03

Great idea.
Also instead of using metal rods, you can use wooden dowels and wood glue for a more "natural" look. Maybe even Bamboo for a splash of oriental flair..

Jayefuu (author)EggHead1012010-06-01

Definitely. I just used threaded rod because I had some spare. No doubt it would look better with some dowel or even bamboo. Be sure to post a picture if you make it. :)

Coleman Demo (author)2010-05-02

For us yanks that don't have a metric measuring tape, including standard measurements would be helpful.

Jayefuu (author)Coleman Demo2010-05-02

Well that's certainly more polite than your last comment. Google's quite good at converting mm to inches.

Kryptonite (author)2010-04-05

I have wanted to make a cardboard one for a while now but have been preoccupied with other passtimes.

belti (author)2010-03-02

Awesome I'll try that , thanks.

McGrep (author)2010-01-06

Finally, an affordable, economical DIY shoe rack with a polished outcome. It certainly surpasses the original ideas I had in mind for my shoe organization woes.  Excellent!

Jayefuu (author)McGrep2010-01-06

Glad you like it! Be sure to post pictures if you make one, I'd especially like to see one more than 1 pair of shoes wide :D

k7_avenger (author)2009-12-10

I'd suggest putting the nuts on the bar before cutting it. Sometimes cutting a threaded bar leaves a really gnarly end, and it can be next to impossible to get a nut on there. The other option is to thread the nut all the way down from the other end, which would get pretty irritating.

Jayefuu (author)k7_avenger2009-12-11

putting the nut on before you cut it would mean having to thread it all the way along as you said. I tried that at one point... it's annoying! I just was really careful when cutting the rods that my hacksaw blade was fresh and I didn't go to fast so as to skip out of the groove I'd started.

yokozuna (author)Jayefuu2009-12-28

Also, getting a nut started on such a cut can sometimes be a task.  If you take it back off, that will knock off the extra shards meaning you can then start the nut on it where you couldn't before.

Jayefuu (author)k7_avenger2009-12-11

Step  5 updated :)

seth556 (author)2009-12-17

So far I've made 2, the first one didn't turn out very well but the second turned out great. The first I used cheap wood and thought using wooden dowels would look better and be cheaper than the threaded rod but that didn't turn out as planned. Stick to the threaded rod if you're going to build this, trust me.

The second turned out great. Well it's not quite done, I still need to go get some more washer and nuts for the rods. But other than that still yet to be completed it looks awesome. I used pine wood which looks great and is pretty cheap, about $9 on wood and $4 on the rods, so under $15 with all the hardware. Great simple project.

Jayefuu (author)seth5562009-12-17

Yayyy :D

Will there be pictures when it's done? :D

seth556 (author)Jayefuu2009-12-17

of course

Jayefuu (author)seth5562009-12-18

Heh cool. It looks like mine! You have exactly the same amount of space for a shoe rack too. ^.^

May I include the image in the last step please?

seth556 (author)Jayefuu2009-12-18


I also changed the angle for the tower from the 75 degrees to 60 so it wouldn't want to fall backward.

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