For over a year, I had a stack of shoe boxes piled up in the corner of my room. When I finally decided to do something about it, I chose to make my own shoe rack DIY style. So, as you can see on the pic, this is a 2 story shoe rack, but you can make as many as you want and stack 'em up. As a matter of a fact, I will need a third rack soon myself. This build does not require particular skills or tools, but a miter saw works better than a hand saw, if you have one.
Step 1: Plans
Now, hold up. I know you might be ready to jump straight to the build, but we have to plan it first. I added a pic of my plan, but you might not be able to see the numbers, and this is OK. You have to take your own measurements and customize it however you like. I will provide the numbers I used as an example, but you must modify them to suit you personal needs.
Choose how many shoes you want to fit into the rack, and lay 'em down on the floor to measure the needed width of the poles. For me, I needed approx 27'', so I used 30'' for the wooden poles, with a diameter of 3/4 ''(the plan is wrong). For the height, I figured 2 2x4 stacked would be enough. For each side, I used 1 ft of a 2x4, and two 3/2 '' pieces. I had some 2x4 pieces that I used, but if you don't, one 2x4 should be plenty. Also, make sure that you know where you will put the finished rack and check if it will fit it's designated space.
Step 2: Materials
Here are the materials and tools that I used. I chose to only stain the wooden poles because I liked the contrast with the bare 2x4. Since the poles are only press-fitted in the holes, I could stain the sides later if I wanted.
- 6 30'' long 3/4 '' diameter wooden pole
- 1 2x4 (about 6ft long)
- Woodworking glue
- A drill bit the same size as the diameter of you wooden poles (3/4 '' for me)
- Miter saw (or hand saw)
- Sand paper
- Eye protection
- Brush (btw, if you like the look of my brush, I used the same stain)
- <Optional> Pre-Stain wood conditioner (I didn't use any)
- Wood stain (I used Minwax Red Oak 215)
- Polyurethane finish (I used Minwax Fast-Drying Clear Gloss spray)
Step 3: Make the Wooden Poles
First off, I did the wooden poles because I chose to stain them so I had to let them dry. Cut them to your desired length and use sand paper or a file to smooth of the edges. Now, you have to plan how you are going to dry them when they are stained. I used cardboard with holes in it (see first pic). Then, prepare your staining material and put it in a handy box. The stain creates fumes that are not good for you, so you must stain outdoors, or in a well aerated workshop. Since I live in Canada and I did this in the winter, I stained outdoors but I dried the poles indoors. The drying does not produces much fumes anyway.
Now, put on you gloves and lightly sand the entire surface of the poles. This will make the surface smooth and clean of any bodily oils. Then, take your poles and you material box outside. If you want to use a pre-stain, this is the moment to do it, just follow the instructions on the package. The staining process is fairly easy. Mix the stain really well with a wood stick but don't shake it, because you will create air bubbles. With your brush, apply a generous coating of stain on the pole, then wipe it off with a rag really well and put it on your cardboard holder. Do this with each pole, and let them dry overnight.
If you want a darker stain, repeat the process. If not, apply the glossy finish. I did three coats of my spray polyurethane. Just spray it evenly, but don't wipe it. Let it dry over night, and lightly sand between each coat. See the pics for the final product.
Step 4: Make the Sides
First off, I cut all the pieces with my miter saw. I used 4 1 ft pieces for the sides, and 8 3/2 '' pieces for the legs. Make sure to sand the edges to smooth them and remove any shards. To drill the holes, I used an old piece of MDF that I fixed under my 2x4 piece. I drilled the side holes 9/8 '' from the edge, and the middle hole dead center. If you don't like the look of the holes on the side, you could just drill halfway through, but I chose to drill all the way. To smooth the holes, I used a small strip of sand paper that I passed through each holes. At this point, it is best to test each holes to make sure that the wooden poles fit in them. If not, just sand them down a little more.
To fix the legs to each side pieces, I used woodworking glue, but you can combine it with wooden studs if you want. Just make sure to apply a generous coat of glue and apply pressure for at least 30 minutes before removing it. After applying the pressure, also make sure to wipe any excess glue with a rag. If you want to stain the sides, now would be a good time to do it. If not, you're almost done.
Step 5: Assemble the Racks
To assemble the racks, I just inserted the poles in the holes, and the tight fit kept it in place firmly. If it feels flimsy to you, you can add some woodworking glue in the hole, or some epoxy. Just make sure to sand down the layer of polyurethane on the edge of the poles before.
To stack the racks, you can drill holes between each rack and add studs in them, but for me, gravity was enough. This way, it is easier to disassemble and move around.
Step 6: Final Toughts
That's it, you should have a custom shoe rack that fits your needs and your style. If you do make it, send me the pics and I will look at them. As for me, I will be making a third stack sometime soon because the first two are already full, as you can see on the first pic. Keep on DIY!