Organization Tips

How To Build a Shoe Rack: A Step By Step Guide

July 02, 2024

Reviewed by
Suze Dowling

How To Build a Shoe Rack: A Step By Step Guide

Say goodbye to piles of sneakers, boots, and sandals cluttering your space. 

At Open Spaces, we understand that building your own shoe rack can be a stylish solution to reclaim your floor space and organize your footwear collection — but where should you start?

In this article, we’ll show you how you can transform how you store your shoes with a bit of woodworking, a splash of creativity, and some basic tools. Ultimately, this can make your mornings smoother and your entryway more welcoming. 

Why Should You Build Your Own Shoe Rack?

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of building, you might wonder why you should DIY a shoe rack when there are plenty of ready-made options out there. Building a shoe rack yourself offers the most customization options.

Crafting your own shoe rack allows you to perfectly tailor its size, style, and function to your space and needs. Whether it needs to fit into an awkward corner or match a specific decor style, a homemade shoe rack can be customized in ways a store-bought one can't match. 

Plus, the personal satisfaction of completing a woodworking project is a feeling of accomplishment you just can’t buy. Building it yourself is often also more budget-friendly than purchasing a high-end model.

What Tools and Materials Do You Need?

Assembling your own shoe rack requires a handful of essential items and some energetic DIY spirit. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to start this project.

The tools you’ll need include:

  • Miter Saw or Table Saw: A miter saw is perfect for cutting angles, while a table saw will handle longer straight cuts.
  • Drill: You'll need a drill bit set to help you make different sizes of holes.
  • Sander: These can help smooth out all the rough edges and ensure your shoe rack doesn’t snag your favorite pair of shoes.
  • Tape Measure and Speed Square: Accuracy is key in a woodworking project. These tools help ensure your cuts are straight and your project is perfectly aligned.
  • Clamps: These are your extra set of hands. Clamps hold pieces together while you’re drilling or gluing.
  • Router (Optional): This is for creating adjustable shoe shelves or decorative edges. This tool can add a professional touch to your DIY shoe rack.

The materials you’ll need include:

  • Wood: Choose a type of wood that will suit your needs — for instance, you can use softwood like pine for easier workability or hardwood for durability. Consider using pallet wood for a rustic look or scrap wood from a local Home Depot to keep costs down.
  • Wood Glue: This helps create a strong bond between wood pieces.
  • Pocket Hole Jig: This tool helps you connect pieces of wood at an angle, hiding screws for a cleaner look.
  • Pocket Hole Screws: These are specifically designed to be used with the pocket hole jig for strong, hidden joints.
  • Sandpaper or Sanding Pads: This can help smooth the wood after cutting and before finishing.
  • Polyurethane or Other Wood Finish: These will protect your shoe rack and give it a polished look.

Step-by-Step Guide To Build Your Shoe Rack

With your tools in tow, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the building process. Here's how to nail this project with precision.

Step 1: Lay the Groundwork

Start by sketching your shoe rack design. Size it to fit your entryway perfectly. This isn't just about making space — it's about making your space work smarter. 

Whether it's a compact cubby for your cozy apartment or a sprawling setup for your mudroom, every line you draw brings you closer to organization.

Step 2: Make the Cuts

Once your blueprints are set, it’s time to start the building process. Grab a miter saw or table saw, and start slicing your wood to match your plans. 

Accurate cuts are key, so measure twice and cut once. Use your tape measure and speed square to ensure everything is straight and true.

Step 3: Assemble With Precision

Now, bring out the drill. Apply some wood glue to provide an extra bond before you drill. Using your pocket hole jig, drive the pocket hole screws in to assemble a frame that's as sturdy as it is stylish. Don't shy away from using those clamps — they can help hold everything steady.

Step 4: Fine-Tune Your Shelves

Whether you want for fixed or adjustable shelves, your router can help carve out neat slots for a custom fit. Slot in the shelves and secure them, transforming your frame into a multi-tiered marvel.

Step 5: Smooth the Wood

After assembly, smooth things over with your sander. Run it along the wood's surface to banish any splinters, creating a smooth, splinter-free finish. This step not only preps it for painting but also makes sure your new creation is snag-free and safe to touch.

Step 6: Add the Finishing Touch

Apply a coat of polyurethane or your chosen finish to protect and enhance your shoe rack’s natural beauty. This extends its life and adds showroom shine, turning your DIY project into a centerpiece.

Step 7: Set Up and Step Back

Position your new shoe rack in its designated spot. Load it up with your collection of shoes, from sneakers to sandals, and take a step back. Congratulations — you’ve built a shoe organizer and upgraded your DIY skills.

What Else Do You Need To Know?

Building a shoe rack is a fulfilling DIY project, but if you're pressed for time or prefer a quicker fix, there's no need to fret. There are a few practical tips that can help you out, whether you're building from scratch or opting for a readymade solution.

Before you start, assess the space where you plan to place your shoe rack. This will determine the size and design that best fits your needs.

If DIY isn't your style, you can explore pre-built options that align with your home’s aesthetics. Our Entryway Rack offers a blend of simplicity and elegance, providing a versatile solution for shoes and entryway essentials.

When using power tools, it’s also important to make sure to wear appropriate safety gear and follow manufacturer guidelines to prevent accidents.

Whether you build or buy a rack, regular maintenance is key to longevity. Wipe down surfaces and tighten fittings as needed to keep everything in top shape.

Finally, don’t limit your rack to just shoes. Consider designs that allow for additional storage solutions for boots, umbrellas, or even baskets for miscellaneous items.

Bringing It All Home

There you have it — the steps, tips, and tools you need to elevate your entryway from cluttered to curated. Whether you've built your shoe rack from scratch or opted for a stylish alternative like our Entryway Rack, you're on your way to a more organized, functional home. 

At Open Spaces, our mission is to create well-organized spaces to transform daily routines. Why stop at shoes? Explore our collection of homeware and organizational tools designed to maximize your space and enhance your lifestyle. 

Discover how simple it can be to bring order and style to every corner of your home. 


DIY | The Cambridge English Dictionary

Machine Guarding - Saws - Miter Saws | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Different Types of Wood & Their Uses | Wood Supply Research Institute

Woodworking - Overview | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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