Any entryway can quickly become a dangerous mess of abandoned shoes, ready to trip 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 also advantages to building one from scratch: not only will you be able to customize the project to suit your style and decor, but you will also be able to save money. While the price of a poor quality shoe rack requiring assembly can exceed $100, I was able to assemble this rustic hardwood table for around $60. If you already have some of these supplies on hand, you might be able to build your own for even less.
Warning: DIY projects can be dangerous for even the most experienced makers. Before proceeding with this or any other project on our site, make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment and know how to use it properly. At a minimum, this may include safety glasses, face shield and/or hearing protection. If you use power tools, you need to know how to use them correctly and safely. If you don’t, or if you’re not comfortable with anything described here, don’t try this project.
- Time: 3 to 4 hours
- Material cost: $60
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
1. Prepare the wood for cutting. If you don’t have a dedicated workshop, choose a space large enough to move around and make your cuts. Then, using your tape measure, pencil, and square, mark the following cuts for each piece of the table:
- Table top: Draw a line halfway down one of your 2-by-6 pieces to cut two boards about 4 feet apart.
- Shoe rack: Mark the second 2-by-6 at 44.5 inches.
- Legs: Mark each of the 2-by-4s 29.5 inches from one end and 29.5 inches from the other end, for a total of four cuts. Focusing on the end of one of these future legs, mark a line down the center of the board, 2 inches from one of the long sides, and make another mark 5 inches from the same side. Use your square to draw a diagonal line between the two, giving the lower leg a slight taper. Repeat this on the other three legs.
- Side upholstery of the long table top: Mark one of the 1-by-4 boards 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 10 inches from one end and 10 inches from the other.
- The table top supports: Mark the unmarked part of the second 1 by 4 so that it makes three 8 ⅜ inch pieces. Space them out a bit to allow room for about ⅛ inch that the saw blade will shave.
Take this time to also remove barcode stickers and staples from the wood so you don’t have to deal with them when you stain the pieces later.
2. Cut the wood. Using your circular saw, cut each of the pieces of wood you marked in step 2.
- Pro tip: For the perfect cut, line up your circular saw blade 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. Using a piece of sandpaper, sand each piece of wood until smooth and use a paintbrush to clean away dust and debris.
- Pro tip: If you’re afraid of splinters, wear gloves or wrap the sandpaper around a block of wood to create a buffer for your hands.
4. Assemble a set of table legs. Using your drill and screws, attach two legs together as follows:
- Place two of the legs (the 29.5 inch pieces of 2 by 4) so that their outer edges are 44.5 inches apart.
- Place one of the 44.5-inch 1-by-4 trim pieces between the legs so it lines up with the top (the non-tapered end) and outer edge of each leg.
- Drive four 1.5-inch screws through 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 nearest edge. Make sure the head of each screw penetrates at least ⅛ inch into the wood. (In step 10 you will fill these holes with wood putty).
- Repeat this step for the other set of legs.
5. Attach the short side trim pieces. Hold one set of legs on its short side so it’s easier to work on this step. Place a 10-inch piece of 1-by-4 against the outside of the leg that’s above the floor and closest to you, so it looks like the long piece of trim you used to connect the two legs make a 90 degree turn. Secure the short trim piece in place with two 1.5 inch screws, each 1 inch from the nearest edge and centered on the leg below. Repeat this step on the other leg (you can see the result in the photo below Step 6).
6. Assemble the two pairs of legs. Place the set without the attached side trim on the floor and place the other on top. The two should fit together like puzzle pieces. Secure them together by drilling two 1.5-inch screws through the 10-inch side piece and the 2-by-4, as you did in the previous step. Repeat this on the other leg. Your table should now be able to stand on four legs, which means you’re almost done assembling it.
7. Install the shoe rack. If you raised your table to test it, lay it on its side and use your tape measure, square and pencil to mark 6.5 inches from the bottom on all four sides of the four legs. This is where you will attach the shoe rack.
Using a ¼ inch drill bit, create two ½ inch deep holes on the 4 inch wide face of each leg. Each hole should be ¾ inch above the lines you just marked and 1 inch from the nearest edge.
Now place your 44.5 inch 2 by 6 between the legs, laying the future rack directly above the lines you have drawn. The rows should be visible just below the table. Finally, drill your 2-inch screws into each of the pre-drilled holes. (In step 10 you will fill these holes with wood putty).
- Pro tip: Temporarily place a remaining piece of 1 by 4 under the tapered end of each of the legs on the floor. This will match the 1 by 4 screwed to the top of the legs and will keep everything level while you work.
8. Install the table top. Set your table. All that remains is to assemble the top. Place your two approximately 4-foot 2 x 6 boards on top of the table, so that they are touching roughly in the center of the frame. They will overhang on all sides. For a sleek finish, use the ¼ inch drill bit to drill an upward angled hole on the inside side of each leg closest to the long side of the table and directly under the table top. The hole should be centered and 1 inch from the top of the leg, and extend into the table top about half an inch. Taking care not to puncture the top of the 2-in-6, put in a 2-inch. screw into each pre-drilled hole, securing each leg to the top board.
9. Install table top supports. Take one of your 8 ⅜-inch pieces of 1-by-4 and place it under the tabletop against two of the legs on one short side of the table. Screw it into the tabletop with two 1.5-inch screws, each 2 inches from the long side of the table and centered on the 1-by-4.
Attach the second 8 ⅜ inch piece directly under the table top against the other two legs, attaching it the same way. Then center the third 8 ⅜ inch piece between the two short sides and attach it exactly as you installed the other two pieces.
Finally, reinforce the brackets you just attached with additional 1.5-inch screws on the outside (one per bracket on each long side, for a total of six screws). Attach a screw directly to the center of each end of the three 1-by-4s from the outside through the long trim pieces.
10. Fill the holes with wood putty. Sand away any debris around your screws and apply wood filler as needed in each of the holes.
- Pro tip: You can use a small piece of leftover wood as an applicator to add the putty if you want to keep your fingers clean and avoid potential splinters.
11. Prepare to paint the table. Sand the entire table, making sure every surface is smooth and removing any debris from the wood filler. Then use your brush to remove all the dust from the table.
- Pro tip: If you don’t have a paint coating for your floor or any other surface you’re on, you can use newspapers and grocery coupons to keep it clean.
13. Paint the picture. Using your paintbrush (be sure to remove all dust), apply a natural wood color stain to the top of the table, then a solid paint color of your choice to the rest of the table. Let the stain and paint dry and apply a second coat for each.
- Pro tip: Place a remaining piece of wood under each of the legs before you start painting – this way the legs won’t stick to your paint blanket.
- To note: Be sure to follow the paint or stain manufacturer’s instructions and be sure to apply your coats in a well-ventilated area.
Now your home will be complete and safe.