Make a Shoe Rack


Organize with this stylish shoe rack

Designing plans in Sketchup makes me far more productive and saves me a lot of time and guesswork in the shop: I design all of my projects so that I can print out the plans and simply follow my own instructions. I’m very pleased with the way this project turned out, but building it was a bit of a challenge.

Oak Shoe Rack

Making designs do-able

One thing to keep in mind when using Sketchup is how the assembly will work in the real world. It’s tempting to overdesign something that looks awesome in Sketchup but turns out to be a logistical nightmare in the shop.

My idea was to create sort of a minimalist design in which all the lumber was the exact same thickness and width and join it all together with dowels. Completely simple to make in Sketchup, but I know that drilling a lot of holes in a lot of boards in the exact same positions is tricky, at least with my low-end drill press setup. If any of the holes are slightly misaligned, it will be nearly impossible to thread a dowel through them.

WWMM Shoe rack 03 METRIC

I simplified the drill-boring so that almost all the holes are on the ends of the boards. And there are only three different board lengths, not including the support cleats.  You could simplify this even more by eliminating the legs and cutting only two lengths of boards, but I think the legs give it a classier look.

Don’t move anything!

To make sure all the holes are in their exact locations, make a few tests until you get a stop block positioned perfectly on your drill press. Also double check that the bit is square with the table. And the most important part: drill all the holes at the same time. Make a few extra if you want a safety net. But once you remove the stop block or adjust your set-up, it is going to be very difficult to get it back in the exact same spot.


Once you have all the holes drilled on the ends of the boards, you need to move your stop block over to drill the lower holes on the four legs that will hold the bottom shelf. To position these, I inserted a small dowel into one of the previously drilled side pieces. That held the two together so I could  set it on my drill press and align the drill bit. The demonstration in the video will make that clearer.


Next, drill the four holes in all of the side pieces, including the legs, for the center shelf. These are easy because they don’t require any exact positioning, as long as they are all the same. You may want to place the middle shelf higher or lower.

Assembly and finish

If all worked out, you can slide the dowels through the holes. If they are too tight, sand them down a little so you can thread them all the way through.


I attached four support cleats underneath the top and bottom shelves. These provide a lot of support and help keep the shoe rack square.


Free Shoe Rack Plans

All WWMM plans are free. If you like this plan, I’d love it if you would consider leaving a tip!


To finish the shoe rack, I wiped on a coat of Golden Oak Danish Oil. Usually, I like to use a natural color, but the golden oak color looks fantastic on, well, oak!Image5


  1. Hi steve,I can’t thank you enought for woodworking for meremortal. I have been looking at your videos for sometime now and I relaized that I am not dumb! That I can do woodworking project.

    I especially like when you show your mistake on your videos. I have always wanted to do wood working, but after looking at videos after videos, I though to myself that there is know way I could come close to though guy. So for years I just was conted to watching videos and dreaming about doing…..something someday. Until I came across woodworking for meremortals.

    I am a disable person from the Caribbean ( the island of Trinidad) I have done a few of your woodworking projects……the garden bench was my favorite….maybe because I got it right the first time, I have since made a few of them!
    Just finished the shoe rack( will post a picture of it as soon as I sand it down)
    You were right, must have a drill press, I did my one without one, it was a nightmare!

    I think it still came out well,did not relaized I had to drill almost 50 holes….with a hand drill.


  2. Nice video, I need to make a boot rack for some of my boots. I have a table saw and a drill press. I am a machinist and jack of all trades master of none. So this gives me a good idea what I want to build. Thanks Pal, I will check out other stuff on your site.


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