Dwell Made Presents: DIY Modern Shoe Rack

Dwell Made Presents: DIY Modern Shoe Rack

By Chris Salomone / Photos by Chris Salomone
Build a simple, modern shoe rack to declutter your home with this clear-cut video and guide.

In this episode of Dwell Made, Chris Salomone of Foureyes Furniture builds a simple, modern shoe rack from plywood.

Key Products: 

½" Baltic Birch Plywood (or other if desired)

Step 1: Material Breakdown and Build Up 

Start by cross cutting a piece to just a hair over 48" long. This will eventually be used for a bunch of strips that will end up being 48" long exactly, but I wanted a little wiggle room to clean everything up. 

Next, I ripped 12 strips from this material. In the end, these are going to be an inch wide, but again I'm leaving them a little over about an eighth of an inch so that I can fine-tune later. 

Once I had all of the strips cut, I glued them together to make a total of 6 pieces. We'll leave these to dry while we work on some other stuff and come back to them in a minute. 

With those set aside, I started ripping more strips. Some are going to end up at 1.5", and the rest are at about 2". 

Again, with the 2" wide pieces, I glued them together to make a total of 4 pieces at an inch thick. And again, we'll set these aside for a bit to dry up. 

Step 2: Refine Shapes 

Next, I grabbed my 1.5" wide pieces, set my miter gauge to 15 degrees, and cross cut them on each end. These are going to become the legs for the shoe rack, and making these cuts on the ends are what’s going to give them that lean that I want. 

Four of the pieces I left at full length, about 22", and the others I cut into segments of 3.5" long, 10.75" long, and about 5.5" long. 

This might sound confusing now, but when I go to assemble everything you'll see the purpose for this, and how it will build up the joinery we need to make these thing stable.

By this point everything was dry enough to start cutting again, so I took my 1" x 48" strips that we made in the beginning, and trimmed them down to their final size. This let me be a lot sloppier with the glue up, knowing that I would cut a clean edge on them after they were dry.

Step 3: Sub Assembly (Legs) 

Then I took my leg pieces and glued on all of the short pieces we had previously cut. To help me space things just right, I used this little off cut of two pieces of plywood glued together. And now you can start to see how the joinery is being built up.  

Step 4: Refine Shapes (Continued) 

While those were drying, I took the 2" wide pieces, set my blade to 15 degrees and took a pass off of each end to turn them into parallelograms that were as wide as the leg pieces. These are going to be the cross braces that the long slats will sit on top of. 

After that I cross cut all four to an equal length, and then grabbed my long pieces and cut them to a finished length of 48", and put a little 15 degree angle on either end just for aesthetic purposes. 

Step 5: Final Assembly

With that everything was cut out and I could move on to the final assembly. So first I glued up the two leg structures, but before moving on, I sanded and finished them. I sanded with 220 grit sand paper, and put on two coats of Arm-R-Seal wipe-on urethane. 

Finally, I took my time and just kind of measured things to glue on my six slats. The only trick here is finding the center mark for the center slat.

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