Stylish DIY Shoe Rack Perfect for Any Room

Looking for a DIY shoe rack to try out? It can help you stay organized! Getting organized is key to a relaxed and less chaotic life.

diy shoe rack

Finding a way to organize your things can be the biggest challenge. My problem is shoes. I needed to come up with a better storage solution for my shoes than the current one…which would be throwing them on the ground.

So, I came up with this DIY shoe rack idea! Check it out and try it yourself!

Materials you’ll need to build a Shoe Rack

  • x2 sheets of plywood
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Stain or paint of choice
  • Router
  • Pine board

How to Make a Shoe Rack

First, you have to determine the size of storage unit you need, taking into account not just the quantity of shoes you want to store, but also the space you have to work with.

Before I could cut any of the wood, however, I had to plan the structure of my shoe rack: How many shelves I need and how tall they should be. I am planning to have two boot cubbies on one side and the rest will be shorter shelving. I personally do not own a lot of high heels, so smaller shelves are perfect for me.

Make sure that you measure your shoe heights to figure out how tall the individual shelves need to be. You will also need to measure the length of your shoes to confirm how deep your shoe rack needs to be so that the shoes will fit.

I am going to make a shoe rack that is 45 inches wide, 30 inches tall and 18 inches deep.

Cutting all boards

Step One: Get the Plywood for the DIY Shoe Rack

I purchased 2 plywood boards, and one large pine wood board that is longer then my desired 45 inches.

Stack shelves for the shoe rack

Step Two: Cut the Plywood for the DIY Shoe Rack Down to Size

The second step is cutting all boards down to size.

I am going to have six shelves within the DIY shoe rack, so to get started I need to cut enough boards for those as well as for the frame. First, measure and mark where the lines need to be cut and then use a circular saw and cut along the line.

Using router on wood

I now have all of the boards I need for the project.

Tool for groves in wood

Step Three: Create Grooves 

Because my boards are thinner, (.5 inches thick) using a standard nail or screw to attach them will be difficult because wood this thin has a tendency to split. The solution is to create grooves in the wood. You can then slide the shelves into the grooves.

To make the grooves, use a router. First, mark the location of the shelves on each side of the rack frame. I planned for the first two shelves to be slightly taller then the rest, allowing shoes with higher heels to fit. Once I had the wood marked for the grooves, I put the router to a setting that allowed it to cut into the wood but not go all the way through — this is key!

Sliding in wood with notches

Run the router along the line slowly, carving out the groove in the wood.

Making notches in wood

The top and the bottom of the side pieces also have to be routed at the edges. This will allow the top and bottom pieces to connect tightly with the sides of the frame. Making sure all the pieces connect tightly is critical. Shoes can be heavy and if your rack cannot handle the weight, it will make all your work worthless.

Routering top and bottom of wood

Step Four: Set Shelving in Your DIY Shoe Rack

With the all of the grooves cut, it is time to set the shelving for your DIY shoe rack in place. Lay one side down on the ground, with the grooved side up. Apply a thick amount of wood glue within each groove.

Glue in Groves

Slide in each individual shelf piece.

Building with shelves

Put glue in the other side piece and then set in on top of the shelves, sliding them all into the grooves. Gently set the project upright. Glue in the top and bottom, and clamp tightly on all sides. Using the clamps will help the glue adhere to each individual piece of wood.

Using clamps to connect shoe rack

Let the rack sit overnight. This will give the glue plenty of time to dry and make sure the joints are secure.

Step Five: Prep the Top of Your DIY Shoe Rack

Next, I cut my pine wood piece down to size. I wanted to have an edge of about 2 inches extending on both sides of the shoe rack, making it a fun and different focal point. Once the pine was cut down to size, I could stain it. I will paint the rest of the shoe rack white and think a dark walnut stain will be a beautiful contrast.

Staining wood

One thick coat of wood stain was all I needed for the DIY shoe rack. Pine has such a beautiful wood grain and the dark stain highlights it, which is exactly what I wanted to do.

Edge of wood

Step Six: Double Check

Check that the DIY shoe rack and glue are dry. I confirmed this by wiggling and shaking it a little to see if it all stuck. It did!

The plywood pieces appear very rough. While most of it will be covered with paint and any roughness will blend in, the edges will not. They have a lot of loose wood, chips, and dips, so I sanded the edges down to soften the look.

Sanded down edge
How to paint furniture

Step Seven: Paint Your DIY Shoe Rack

With the edges smooth, it’s time to paint! I am using a white, flat paint and primer combination, which allows me to skip the priming step and do it all at once. Prep your painting area with a drop cloth, and painting with a brush in the direction of the wood grain. In my case, most of the time this meant side to side.

Two coats of painting

The DIY shoe rack needed two coats of paint. I did not have to paint the top of it because it will be covered by my  freshly stained pine board.

Using wood glue

Step Eight: Time to Attach the Top of the DIY Shoe Rack

Using the same wood glue as you did in the routed grooves, lay down a generous amount on the top of the shoe rack. Make sure you use enough wood glue, because this is the only thing that will attach the top to the main part of the shoe rack. Being sure it’s secure is very important!

Using clamps again

Next, set some scrap pieces of wood on top of the pine board and then clamp it all together. This helps protect the stained board from being damaged by the clamps. Let that sit overnight.

Building shoe with top
DIY Shoe rack furniture

In the morning it was done and I was eager to get started organizing my shoes!

How to build a shoe rack

This is such a beautiful piece to store your shoes in, that it turns them into a part of the decor in any room.

Shoe rack details
Keeping shoe rack lines

Keeping the lines simple helps the piece feel fresh and uncluttered. The different shoes and patterns are more than enough detail for this piece.

Boot shoe shelves

Having the larger spaces for my boots is so nice. The wonderful thing about creating this yourself, is that you can create exactly what you need. Have a closet full of beautiful heels? Make each shelf tall enough so that you can showcase them!

Shoe rack top view

This DIY shoe rack works very well along with another DIY project we completed, which is the x-shaped wood trim wall border.

Shelves for shoe rack
Entryway DIY shoe rack

This was such a fun way to make a DIY shoe rack be functional and attractive, allowing the rack to work perfectly in a space that is outside of the closet or the bedroom.

Taking the time to stain the top board is what makes this piece truly feel like a new piece of furniture for your home.