Does your entryway give a great first impression? Does its style match the rest of your house? Is it clean, organized, and functional? If not (or if so), you might love this simple DIY industrial entryway bench, fully equipped with awesome shoe storage.
Sadly, our entryway had struggled for some time. Now that kids are back in school, I decided it was the perfect time to get my house back in some kind of order, and the entryway was first on the list.
I grew tired of the ever-increasing pile of random shoes by our front door as the summer months went on, so this is one of the first projects I decided to tackle this September.
I love my new entryway bench for many reasons – its industrial style, its built-in shoe storage and organization, and its simplicity to build.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on building such a piece yourself. Enjoy!
DIY Level: Beginner to Intermediate
- Two 2×8 boards cut to your desired bench length (example uses an 8’ board cut exactly in half)
- Four 2×8 boards cut to 17” long
- 2-1/2” wood screws (or other screws successful with Kreg jig use)
- Wire grating
- Wire snips
- Wood glue (optional)
- Equipment: Kreg jig, power drill, clamps, staple gun
Note: The 17” leg height is a standard size for chair-height; however, you may increase or decrease this length for your four legs as meets your needs and space constraints.
Begin by determining the positioning of your top bench pieces (the 4’ lengths). When you choose the sides you want on top, flip them over. Using your Kreg jig to drill holes into the long side of the underside of one top bench piece.
Space your holes 6”-8” apart for best support. Set the two top bench pieces aside.
Match up your four leg pieces (the 17” lengths) into pairs. Determine which side you want facing outward and which side you want on the inside of the bench. Also, pay attention to where the knots fall – these are harder to drill into with accuracy, so it’s recommended you place the knots on the bottom and toward the outer edges if possible.
On the inside face of one board per pair (so, two boards total), drill one to three holes on the long side. These will be used to attach the two leg boards together.
When the long-side hole(s) are drilled, it’s time to drill the leg-top bench connector holes. You’ll want two or three per board, along the top and inner side of each 17” leg piece.
When finished, you should have two sets of leg boards. There should be one to three holes drilled on one of the boards to connect it to the other leg board, then four to six holes (total) to connect the two boards to the top of the bench.
It’s time to put all the pieces together. I recommend wood glue in addition to the screws to join the boards together, although this is optional.
If you lack large enough clamps, here is one of two ways you can get a smooth joint: With its underside facing upward, clamp the board without screw holes to a secure surface. Clamps should be on what will be the outer edge of the bench (not the center, where the screws will connect the boards).
Run a line of glue down the side of the board to be screwed onto the clamped board.
Push the glued board, screw holes facing upward, onto the clamped board. Make sure edges align exactly.
Holding the boards securely together, flush, and flat, screw them together with each of your screw holes.
Wipe away any excess glue that comes out after screwing the boards together on both the top and bottom of your connection.
The second option for attaching two boards together if you lack large clamps is as follows: Position the boards together, insides facing upward and screw holes toward the center, on the edge of a secure table. After placing glue on one end, push the boards together so they are exactly aligned at the top and bottom and are also flat and flush.Place a clamp directly over the seam, and attach the two boards (with one clamp) to the table. Put a screw into the closest hole to attach this side. Unclamp the boards, swivel the boards 180 degrees, and clamp the opposite seam onto the table. Put a screw into this hole, then one more in the middle (if you’ve drilled three holes).
When you’ve attached your four leg pieces into leg pairs and your two top bench pieces, it’s time to let the glue dry. Lay them onto a flat surface and let glue dry.
It’s time to get your coarse sanding out of the way, while the bench is still deconstructed. Grab some heavy grit sandpaper (example uses 80 grit).
Sand all sides of your board, focusing on the flat surfaces. Don’t do the corners much at this point. Make sure you flip your board pairings over and get both sides.
With your bench top and legs sanded roughly, it’s time to assemble the bench. Align the tops of your leg pieces (leg screw holes inside, touching the underside of the bench top). Use your 2-1/2” screws to attach the legs, ensuring that the outer corner surfaces align to create a smooth, waterfall effect on the bench.
Repeat for the second leg.
For additional security, if your spouse prefers an extra bit of support (ahem), you can easily add a support board along the back of your bench. It will be unnoticeable. Simply measure the precise distance between the inner portion of your bench legs and cut a 1×4 board to length. Use your Kreg jig to drill screw holes along the back side of your 1×4 board, and attach it to the bench.
Now is the time to finely sand your piece to prepare it for finishing. Use 120-grit then 220-grit sandpaper to get a smooth surface.
Congratulations! Your bench is made and is ready for finishing. At this point, you can stain it, paint it, or simply clear coat it – whatever you want to do. Check out this article on how to stain wood, if you’re interested in going that route.
Now that your bench is finished, it’s time to incorporate the shoe storage/organization element, which also happens to be the main industrial component of this project as well. Unroll a bit of your wire grating. (Example uses 2”x3” grids, but you can use whatever you have on hand.)
Anytime you cut your wire grid during this project, you’ll want to cut either halfway through the grating sections to create a “raw” edge…
…Or you’ll want to cut at the very edge of the wires, leaving a cross-section as the “flush” end.
Cut one piece of grating, flush on all sides, at 39” x 46”. (True size is 38”x45”, but in order to keep the ends flush, I had to add an inch on the two sides. This will be remedied later on by folding the grating 1” in from the ends.) This large piece will be folded to create the bottom, back, and top sides of your overall shoe compartment.
Determine how many vertical sections you want for your shoe compartment. This example uses five sections (45” wide divides nicely into five sections, with 9” wide sections). Cut the number of sections plus one (5+1=6) into grating pieces 14”x14”. The front end must be flush, the other three ends will be raw. (Actual measurement needed is 13” deep by 12” tall; this allows for 1” of wire on all raw sides to twist and connect with other grating sections.)
This example uses individual shoe compartments 6” high, with two of them stacked on top of each other. Four shoe compartments will be built into the overall shoe storage, with one 12” boot compartment. If you want all five sections to hold shoes, cut five sections 11”x14”, with one of the short ends flush and the other three raw. (Actual measurement needed is 13” deep by 9” wide; again, we’re allowing for an extra 1” on all raw sides for wire connections.) If you only want four sections to hold shoes and one section for boots, cut four pieces of Cut C.
Aligning flush sides, join a Cut C perpendicularly to the center of Cut B. Wrap wire connection parts tightly.
Don’t worry too much if it’s not exactly perpendicular; the shape will solidify a bit later when all pieces are joined.
If your raw edges contain more than 1” of length before the cross-wire, you’ll want to sharply bend the wires at the desired connecting point to keep your measurements accurate while connecting.
Add another Cut B to the raw edge of Cut C, and continue moving along until all of your shoe compartments have been created. It will look like a string of H shapes.
Again, don’t fret about 90-degree angles yet. Most likely your creation will be a flopsy mess at this point.
When you’ve completed joining all your shoe compartment (Cut C) pieces to their divider sections (Cut B), it’s time to prepare your Cut A piece to join everything all together.
Measure 13” from the front edge of your Cut A piece. (The front edge should be 45” wide.) Place a 2×4 or other straight board on top of the wire at this 13” point, and step on the board.
Fold the wire grating up directly along the edge of the board to crease it sharply.
This will create a (roughly) 90-degre angle. Measure 13” in from the other side of Cut A and repeat the folding process. (Note: This actually caused a 13” middle measurement in my Cut A piece, even though I only wanted 12”. With the wire’s malleability, this didn’t pose a problem at all when it came time to connect the pieces. Don’t sweat it, if this is how your wire grating works out.)
Place your joined Cuts B&C piece (remember, your row of Hs?) into the folded Cut A piece, making sure the flush sides of B&C are facing outward. The other three raw sides (top, back, and bottom) should align with the bent sides of Cut A. Line up one end, and start connecting all the raw wires to their Cut A counterparts. (Note: Some raw end wires will not align exactly with the cross-wires; do the best you can to create a connection. That’s all you’re going for, really.)
Next, connect your final Cut B piece (which will be the outer edge of your boot section) to the open end of your Cut A piece. You’ll want to attach it 1” in from the end, because you only want a 45” width, and Cut A is 46” wide. After attaching it, sharply bend the extra 1” of the Cut A side down against the sides of Cut B.
Use your wire snips to trim off any poking out ends of wire.
Lay out your wire box next to the bench. Now is a good time to measure the box and measure the bench space and make sure it will fit easily.
Make any adjustments needed on your wire box. I had a couple of corners that needed to be bent down about 1/4″, so I did that easily with pliers. It’s now time to connect the wire box to the bench itself.
Carefully slide the wire box into the bench space, taking care not to scratch the inside walls of your bench legs.
This is done easily when the bench is on its back.
After aligning the wire box to where you want it, begin stapling the wire box to the bench.
It’s really up to you where you choose to staple the wire to the bench. I chose to staple the end of every cross-wire at the front of the bench, and most of them along the back side.
Stand back and double-check your staple security. Adjust any wires that may have bent or bowed during the stapling process.
Your DIY industrial bench is complete!
Remember all the struggles I had with my entryway (which may not be all that uncommon)? This bench simplifies and maximizes functionality in a beautiful, stylish way.
I like how the shoe compartments are plenty big for large daddy-sized shoes and toddler-sized shoes alike.
There’s even enough space underneath the shoe compartments for quick slip-on-and-off times, which is a plus for those with “leave your shoes at the door” preferences.
It’s a beautiful piece. And the extra boot compartment will definitely come in handy this winter.
Here’s the front door first impression. And we can always add a few pairs of pink water shoes for a pop of color!
We hope you enjoy creating your own industrial entry bench. This would be a marvelous addition to the mud room, laundry room, or even the garage as well.