How to Build a DIY Shoe Rack

A shoe rack is a simple shelving unit for storing shoes. Since the average American male owns 12 pairs of shoes, and the average American woman owns 27 pairs of shoes, shoe racks are vital for keeping some semblance of order in a home! There are many styles of shoe racks, from the very simple to the very elegant, yet most styles are easy to make with just a few tools and odd bits of wood.  

Before you begin planning and shopping for materials for your DIY shoe rack, have a very specific idea of what you want. For example, if you are building a rack that will also serve as a bench to place by the front door, it will look very different than if you need a simple two-shelved rack for your children’s shoes. Since you need each shelf to be an inch or two longer than the shoes it will house and an inch or two higher, measure those before you start making decisions about lumber.  

Another decision to make before you shop for detailed plans is style. Are you trying to make a rough and ready shoe rack of convenience to keep outside in the garage or a piece of beautifully crafted furniture? For one, you could make do with plywood and metal brackets; for the other, you may want to purchase Douglas fir or pine.  

Here is a design for a very basic free-standing shoe rack for a closet, mudroom, or garage. Depending on the quality of the wood, this might also be used in a front hall. This shoe rack is basically a shelf or bench made out of 2”x 4” studs and 1”x 6” boards, supplies that are readily available at any hardware store.  



  • The first step is to figure out the size of the shoe rack, which will depend on your needs.   
  • The beauty of this simple shoe bench is that it can be adjusted to fit any space. This shoe rack is 26 inches long and 14 inches wide.   
  • The next step is to make the end section of the bench using a 2 x 4. Using the miter saw, cut four 24-inch pieces for the legs and 4 12-inch side pieces.   
  • Six cross supports are needed for the bench and should measure 36 inches in length.  
  • Using the miter saw, cut the cross supports to the right dimension.   
  • Then using the table saw, rip the 2 x 4 in half.   
  • Sand all of the pieces using an orbital sander. Once the sanding is done, it is time to construct the frame of the shoe rack.   
  • Using the pocket hole jig and screws, attach the legs and side pieces. The side pieces can be attached at the top or bottom, or one inch from the top or bottom, depending on the preference of the builder.   
  • The cross supports go on next, and it is important to measure correctly. Ten inches is a good gap between the cross supports. Attach the cross pieces using the pocket hole jig and pocket screws.   
  • Once the frame of the shoe rack is complete, the next step is adding the boards for the shelves. Measure the distance between the cross supports very carefully. The gap should be between 12- 13 inches, depending on the width of the cross-support pieces.  Then cut the 1 x 6 boards to this measurement using a miter saw.   
  • Sand the boards using the orbital sander.   
  • Attach the boards using the pocket hole jig and pocket screws. Start from the middle and work towards each end. This way if one has to rip the last board to size using a table saw, it will be the same on both ends.   
  • The last task is to either paint or stain the bench. Painting the frame one color, like black, and the boards a different color, like blue, makes a very stylish shoe rack. This shoe rack could be built using regular screws and without the use of a pocket hole jig. Simply pre-drill the holes and drive the screws in, using the drill or a screwdriver.   
  • To attach the boards to the cross-support pieces, add a 1 x 2 strip of wood attached to the inside of the cross-support pieces. The boards then rest on top of this strip of wood and can be attached with finishing nails to keep the boards in place.   

This is one version of a shoe rack, but there are hundreds of designs, from the very simple to incredibly high-end cabinet pieces. YouTube has many videos demonstrating how to make shoe racks, including many showcasing this type of design.         

If you don’t have the right tools you need to build your shoe rack, Northside Tool Rental has everything you need for the job. Contact one of our experts today to discuss what tools you need and how we can fully equip you to get the job done. We have convenient locations in Marietta, Gwinnett, Doraville, and Buckhead. Call us at 404-233-6722 to get your project started.