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Clean Messy

Make your entryway tidy with a DIY shoe rack

Any entryway can quickly become a hazardous mess of cast-off footwear, ready to trip up anyone who enters your home. You may know in your heart that the solution to this inhospitable problem is a shoe rack, but you may not know how easy it is to build one. There are advantages to building one…

Any entryway can quickly turn into a dangerous mess of old shoes that could trip up anyone who comes in to your home. Although you might know that a shoe rack is the answer to this problem, it may be difficult to construct one.

Besides the personalization and cost savings, building your own table can also be a great way to save money. While the price for a low-quality, assembly-required shoe rack can exceed $100, I was able to put this rustic hardwood table together for about $60. You may be able build your own if you have the necessary materials.

Warning: DIY projects can be dangerous, even for the most experienced makers. Make sure you have all the safety gear necessary and that you know how to properly use it before starting this project or any other one on our site. Safety glasses, a mask and/or ear protection are all essential. You must be able to safely and correctly use power tools. Don’t try this project if you don’t know how to use them correctly or are unsure.

Stats

  • Time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Material cost: $60
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Materials

Instructions

1. Preparing the wood for cutting. If you don’t have access to a workshop, find a place that is large enough for you to make your cuts. Next, use your tape measure, pencil and square to mark the following cuts for each table piece:

  • Table top: Draw a line at the halfway mark on one of your 2-by-6 pieces so you’ll cut two roughly 4-foot boards.
  • Shoe rack: Mark the second 2-by-6 at 44.5 inches.
  • Legs: Mark each of the 2-by-4s at 29.5 inches from one end and 29.5 inches from the other end, for a total of four cuts. For a total of four cuts, focus on one end of each of these soon to be legs. Mark a line in center of the board 2 inches from one side and 5 inches away from the other. You can draw a diagonal line with your square between them, giving the bottom part of the leg a slight taper. You can do the same for the remaining three legs.
  • Long table top side trim: Mark one of the 1-by-4 boards at 44.5 inches from one end and 44.5 inches from the other end, for a total of two cuts.
  • Short table top side trim: Mark the second 1-by-4 at 10 inches from one end and 10 inches from the other.
  • Table top supports: Mark the unmarked portion of the second 1-by-4 so it yields three 8 3/8 -inch pieces. To allow for the 1/8 inch that the saw blade will shave, space them apart.

Take this time to also remove any barcode stickers and staples from the wood so you don’t have to deal with them when you stain the pieces later on.

2. Then, cut the wood. Use your circular saw to cut each piece of wood marked in Step 2.

  • Pro tip: For the perfect cut, line your circular saw blade up with the pencil lines, then place your square flush with the left side of your circular saw’s shoe (the flat metal part that rests against the wood) to guide the process.

3. Sand the wood. Use sandpaper to sand the wood. Then, use a paintbrush to remove any dirt and dust.

  • Pro tip: If you’re worried about splinters, wear gloves or wrap the sandpaper around a block of wood to create a buffer for your hands.

4. Make a set of legs for your table. Use your drill and screws to attach two legs as follows:

  • Place two of the legs (the 29.5-inch pieces of 2-by-4) so their outside edges are 44.5 inches apart.
  • Place one of the 44.5-inch 1-by-4 trim pieces between the legs so it’s flush with the top (the non-tapered end) and outside edge of each leg.
  • Drive four 1.5-inch screws into the wide face of the 1-by-4 to connect it to the legs: two on each side, centered on the 2-by-4 and 1 inch from the closest edge. You should ensure that the head of each screw is at least 1/8 inch deep into the wood. (In Step 10, you will fill these holes with wood putty).
  • Repeat this step for the other set of legs.
A set of legs for an easy DIY shoe rack, made out of two pieces of 2-by-4 and a piece of 1-by-4 lumber.
When you’re done assembling one set of legs, it should look like this. Jose Mendoza

5. Attach the trim pieces to the shorter side. Place one set of legs on its shorter side to make it easier for you to do this step. Place one 10-inch piece of 1-by-4 against the outside the leg that’s off the ground and closest to you, so it looks like the long trim piece you used to connect the two legs makes a 90-degree turn. Attach the trim piece with two 1.5-inch screws. Each screw should be 1 inch from each edge. You can repeat this step with the second leg. (See Step 6).

6. Place the legs in a pair. Place the set without side trims on the ground, and then place the other set on top. They should fit together like puzzle pieces. Fasten them together by drilling two 1.5-inch screws into the 10-inch side piece and the 2-by-4, just like you did in the previous step. Do the same with the second leg. You should now have your table standing on four legs. This means that you are almost done assembling it.

A person assembling a wooden DIY shoe rack outside on a concrete driveway.
The pieces should fit together perfectly (or close to it). Mary Kearl

7. The shoe rack should be installed. Stand your table up to check it. Now, place the shoe rack on top of it. Here is where the shoe rack will be attached.

Use a 1/4-inch drill bit to create two 1/2-inch deep holes on each leg’s 4-inch-wide side. Each hole should be 3/4 inch above the lines and 1 inch away from the nearest edge.

Now place your 44.5-inch 2-by-6 between the legs, resting the soon-to-be-rack directly above the lines you drew. These lines should be visible just below the board. Next, drill your 2-inch screws in each of the predrilled holes. (In Step 10, you will fill these holes with wood putty).

  • Pro tip: Temporarily place a leftover piece of 1-by-4 under the tapered end of each of the legs on the ground. This will match the 1-by-4 screwed to the top of the legs and keep everything level while you work.

8. Install the table top. Set your table up. Now, you can assemble the top. Place the two planks, which measure approximately 4 feet by 6 feet each, on top of your table. Make sure they touch the middle of the frame. They will be overhanging on all sides. To achieve a clean finish, drill one hole at the top of each leg with the 1/4-inch bit. This will allow for a smooth look. The hole should be about 1 inch from top of leg. It should also go in the tabletop approximately half an inch. Place one 2-inch. Screw into each hole and attach each leg to the top.

A person drilling at an upward angle into a table top on a wooden DIY shoe rack.
This is the angle you’re going for in Step 8. Jose Mendoza

9. Install the tabletop supports. Place one of your 8 3/8-inch 1-by-4 pieces underneath the tabletop, against two legs on the short side. Screw it i

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