Making Shoe Racks




Introduction: Making Shoe Racks

I am making these for a friend of ours. They just moved into a new house, and have a space by the garage entrance that they wanted to have a couple of shoe racks. The store bought are either too small, or not solid enough for two very active boys of theirs, so I volunteered to help as part of the house warming gift.

Here is what I come up with.

Step 1: Rack Design

The space calls for 5 feet-ish tall rack.

I picked 64" based on the mother's reach height. Since there is a 4" step down from the corner to the garage floor, the second rack will be 68" tall so that they are the same height standing side by side.

The corner space is only about 34" wide, so I measured the line-up three pair of shoes and decided to go for 30" wide shelf.

Instead of making a boring box, I decided to have some "Mid-Century-Modern" touch to them.

Step 2: Plywood Shelves

One sheet of plywood is used for all shelves.

Break down the 4 x 8 sheet into 3 of 30" pieces first, and then it will be ripped into 4 pieces of 11 1/2" wide strips, so the full sheet will yield (12) shelves.

Since the design calling for shelves sitting in a 15 degree angle, 12 strips of wood will also be needed to:

1. Band the plywood front
2. Provide a stop for shoes so they don't slide down.

I have some scrap ceder fence materials, so I ripped them on table saw at 1 1/2" wide. Regular 2x material can also be used if rip it into 1/2" thick.

Line the strip up with the bottom of the shelf, use glue and nails to attach to the shelf. A block plane is used to form some chamfer along the front trim piece, and a 30 degree cut to the trim strip at each corners will provide a much better finished look.

Last step is sanding.

Step 3: Side Supports

Cut (2) side supports @ 64" and (2) @ 68".

Cut spacers 8" long. This can be altered based on the user's need. The trick is to set up a stop block on the miter saw and cut all pieces in one batch, and that will ensure the alignment of the shelves.

Since there will be a flat shelf on the top of the rack, one end of the first spacer from the top will be straight instead of 15 degree. Pick a side that looks better as outside and lay it down flat, use glue and nails to attach the first spacer piece on top by aligning all three sides. I am using 18 gauge staples to act like mini clamps. Construction (poly) adhesive can also be used instead of wood glue, probably better if one works with "not so flat boards", I just don't have any in hands, plus I think 3 pairs of shoes wouldn't be very heavy.

Use an off cut piece from the plywood in between two spacers and attached the second one, and keep moving down. Leave the last piece 3 1/2" short of the bottom.

The feet are from scrap 2x4, and they are 18" long. First piece is used as a template to create the other three pieces. No special design here, just a couple of straight lines form a shape that's sort of appeasing the eyes. Cuts can be made with jig saw, and a few passes with a hand plane to smooth the cut surface.

Step 4: Assembly

The feet will be attached first with glue and a couple of brad nails, then clamped and stapled at the other side.

Apply glue to each groove of one side of the vertical support, and push the shelves into place, making sure the revel at the front stays the same for every shelf. I use a 5" scrap to put a pencil mark on each shelf, and align the front edge of the vertical support to the mark.

Repeat the same process to install the other side of the vertical support.

The glue up is a fast process, other wise, the glue will be set before the shelf get installed. Practice a dry run (assembly process without glue) before the actual glue up is a good way to ensure to understand the assemble sequence.

Two of the 1 1/2" staples are then used to secure the shelf in place. And a few clamps are used before the glue set.

I put the assembly onto a flat surface, and find out the rocking direction of the rack, then use one flat head screw at the lower side as adjustment / leveling screw, because the rack will be used on concrete floor. No finish is needed in this case, but if I am making this for inside the house, I would at least put a couple of coats of poly to protect the surface from wet shoes and mud.

And now is time to load them up.

I am not sure if I will have a chance to take a picture of fully loaded shoe rack, but for sure they will be used everyday.

Be the First to Share


    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest
    • Make It Bridge

      Make It Bridge
    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest



    6 years ago

    Thanks for the write up! I wonder do you have a better bill of materials. In other words what thickness of plywood did you use? You listed 2X6's in your initial write-up, I assume those are the outside support members. What are the side supports for the shelve's, something like 1X6 finished white pine? What are the legs made of, 1X4 white pine? You listed 4-threaded rods in your write-up, did you use them somewhere?



    Reply 6 years ago

    The sides were 1x6. The plywood I used was 5/8" BCX sanded plywood from Menard's. The legs were regular 2x4 cut into shape.


    6 years ago

    Those look great! Well done.


    Reply 6 years ago