Introduction: Laser Cut Closet Shoe Rack

I live in an apartment with several other college mates, and it can be a bit crammed sometimes. I didn't have enough room on the floor for all my shoes, but I also didn't want to buy one of those shoe rack organizers. So, I made my own. This shoe rack hangs in the closet, and holds 4 pairs of shoes, which was perfect for me as I only have 5 pairs.

In this tutorial, I will walk you through how to make your very own DIY closet shoe rack.

We will be using the following files. You will only need one, they both contain the same design. One is an Adobe Illustrator file, the main graphics design program I use, and the other is the same design but in pdf format so it can be adapted to other design programs.

Edit: I added two new files, 'shoe rack spine 2pieces', which have the really long piece broken into two separate pieces that can be cut separately and glued together. This is to cater to maker's who do not have a large sized laser cutter.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


This tutorial assumes you have access to and operator's knowledge of a CNC lasercutter. As each machine's software and interface are drastically different, I'll have to assume that you know how to operate the laser cutter you will be using. The laser I used accepts illustrator files, which is why I uploaded the design as an .ai file. However, I also uploaded the .pdf for people who use a different software. Open the .pdf file in your laser's software, as pdf's are very standard file types and should be accepted by your laser's software.

In addition to a cnc laser, you will need several quick release clamps or rubber bands.


As for materials, you will need a sheet of 1/4" plywood. I used an 18x32" piece of birch plywood. You can cut come of the parts out on small scrap pieces, but the two long body pieces that hold everything together are about 30 inches and will need a large piece of wood to be cut out of. My local supply store sold me an 18x32" piece for just a couple bucks.

You will also need some wood glue. Any wood glue will do, but I used Elmers wood glue. You can also use hot glue or super glue, but wood glue will give you the best results.

Step 2: Laser Cutting the Parts

I used a Universal Systems Laser Cutter. It has a materials data base in which you select materials and the machine then knows what power/speed/ppi settings to use. I used the material 'general medium woods' and set the thickness to .242 (using my calipers). I will have to assume for this part that you know how to use your own laser cutter, because they vary significantly from model to model.

Go ahead and cut out the parts in the provided file. You should have 2 long candy cane looking pieces, and 4 pieces that look like a blocky boomerang.

Step 3: Putting It All Together

Apply some wood glue above the slots in the smaller pieces. See image 1 for visualization. After that, flip the piece over and do the exact same thing on the other side. Then, slide that piece into the first slot of each candy cane piece. Some excess wood glue will probably squeeze out, thats ok. Grab a napkin or cloth and wipe away the extra wood glue, so you don't have dried beads of glue on your shoe rack. Repeat this process with the other 3 shoe holders.

After all 6 pieces are glue together, grab your clamps and gently apply them as close to the intersections as you can. If you squeeze too hard you could bend or even crack the wood. If you don't have any clamps, you can easily substitute them for rubber bands. Just wrap rubber bands around each intersection to hold them together tightly while the wood glue dries. Its best to wait about 24 hours for the wood glue to fully cure, but it will be hardened after an hour or so.

After the glue is dried, remove the clamps or rubber bands and hang up your shoe rack. its very minimal and doesnt take up a lot of space, so its perfect for dorm life.

Hope you enjoyed the project! If you like this tutorial, check out my profile for other cool DIY home improvement stuff. Feel free to leave a comment if you had any questions about the project or ideas about other home improvement projects.

Makerspace Contest 2017

Participated in the
Makerspace Contest 2017