Simple Shoe Shelf

This simple shoe shelf is 32 inches tall and 5 feet 1 1/2 inches wide. The dimensions could be altered to fit just about any space. After it was complete I added some feet made out of 2x4s.


  • two 10 foot 1x12s
  • one 8 foot 1×12
  • screws – 1&5/8 inch power screws are the best.


  • Band saw
  • Circular saw
  • Sander – power or hand
  • Drill


  • Belt sander – for curves
  • Pilot hole bit

First, read through the entire project and look at the photos to see how everything goes together. You can zoom in to the photos by clicking on them so you can see where lines are drawn.

Cut the shelves to length from 1 x 12s. Since these are 5 foot shelves, I purchased 2 10 foot pieces and cut them in half. I cut two sides, 32 inches long from 1×12 and two pieces of 1×12 that were 12 inches long for the braces.

There are going to be curves on the tops of the side that extends above the top shelf (to keep shoes from falling off). I used a compass to draw the large curve, set to a 4 inch radius, so a 8 inch pot lid would do the trick. I used a jar lid for the end curve and for the curve that connects them. Click on the image to see the lines. The curve was then cut on a band saw.

There are 4 braces. They are cut from 12 inch pieces of 1 by 12. Notice that two are cut from each piece. Click on the image to see the lines. I used the large pot lid and jar lid to make the curves. I’m not giving exact dimensions here because there aren’t really required. Later, when we mark holes for screws to hold the braces, we’ll just use the braces as guides.

Use a belt sander to sand the curves of the braces. If you don’t have a belt sander, just use a sanding block to sand what you can. Use sandpaper folded over in quarters to sand the rest. Don’t use the entire sheet. Use 1/4 of the sheet, folded.

Sand the flat sides with you power sander or with sanding blocks. Only sand with the grain. If you have some serious imperfections, start with 60 grit, other wise start with 100, then move up to 150.

These are the parts. You can see a stack of 4 shelves (back), two sides (front left) and four braces (front right).

Mark the holes for drilling. The holes for the bottom shelf were marked at 3/8 inch from the bottom, the next were 9 inches, 18 inches and 27 inches, from the bottom. I used two screws per side for each shelf. Mark holes for the braces on two of the shelves. Since the braces are 3/4 inch thick, mark 3/8 inch from the back of the sides and from the back of the shelves.

Drill the holes. I used a pilot hole bit. Make sure there is something under the parts you are drilling (scrap wood) and make sure your bit isn’t going to go all the way through to your work bench.

Attach the braces to two of the shelves.

Attach the two shelves with braces to the sides. The bottom shelf was easy to attach on the work bench. Then I moved the assembly to the floor of the pool barn. I tipped it onto the back so the back of the shelf and sides were on the ground, then installed the top shelf.

After it was assembled, I applied an oil finish. I also attached two 2x4s that were cut to 11 inches in length to the bottom, to lift the shelf off the floor (not shown in photos).


See Finishes for tips on oil and polyurethane finishes.

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A computer geek with a taste for sustainable living, organic food, green products, buying local, woodworking, bicycling, running, yoga, recycling and doing-it-yourself.