Storage Ideas

DIY Shoe Storage

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 186 Projects

Free your floor from shoe pileups by constructing a sleek shoe storage unit. It contains adequate cubbies for heels, flats, sneakers and tall boots. The completed shelf is 46 x 35 x 16 1/2" and comes together rather quickly, with painting being the most time consuming step. This project is easy enough for beginners, but be sure to work with a partner as the unit will quickly become heavy. Refer to DIY Storage Towers for instructions on building coordinating shelves.

Below are the TOOLS + MATERIALS you will need to build a DIY Shoe Storage:

Things Youll Need

How to Build a DIY Shoe Storage Unit

  1. Cut the Plywood and MDF

    Use a carpenter's square and pencil to measure and mark the cut lines. Cut out the following pieces with your BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* 5-1/2 in. Circular Saw.

    • (1) piece of 1/2" birch plywood, 46 x 16 1/2" for the shelf top
    • (2) pieces of 3/4" MDF, 46 x 16 1/2" for the top and bottom of the shelf unit 
    • (4) pieces of 3/4" MDF, 33 x 16 1/2" for the inside struts and sides of the shelf unit 
    • (3) pieces of 3/4" MDF, 24 1/2 x 16 1/2" for the shelves 
    • (2) pieces of 3/4" MDF, 9 1/8  x 16 1/2" for the short shelves 

  2. Construct the Frame

    Stand two 33" long MDF pieces on their 3/4" edge between the ends of the two 46" long pieces (also standing on their 3/4" edge) at right angles to create a long rectangle frame. Drill pilot holes from the outside of each 46" long board into the 33" boards at each corner and center edge on both ends with your BLACK + DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver and a 7/64” drill bit. Secure each joint by driving in twelve 2" wood screws into pilot holes at each connection.

    Depending on what type of screw you're using, pilot holes should be just slightly smaller than the screw.

    The idea is to allow the hole to be big enough for the screw to pass through without splitting the wood, but at the same time, small enough so that the threads grip firmly.

  3. Space the Vertical Struts

    Place each remaining 33" long piece vertically within the frame, 9 1/4" from the inside face of the frame. These pieces will add support to the unit while making it easier to add in varying widths of shelves. Mark the placement of the boards on both sides of the frame to keep the spacing of each strut consistent and square while you work.

    Secure each strut in place by driving four 2" wood screws through the top and bottom of the shelf unit into the corner of each strut.

  4. Secure the Shelves

    The configuration of your shelves within the unit will depend on the style of shoes you plan on storing.  Arrange shallow shelves for flats or sandals, and tall cubbies and shelves for boots and heels. In this example, the boot cubbies were each 16 1/8" tall, a single shelf for flats is 4 1/2" tall and three shelves for heels are 8 3/4" tall.

    Place your 9 1/8" shelf pieces within the struts on the left and right side of the unit, using a tape measure to distribute evenly. Secure with four 2" wood screws through the face of the side struts in each corner with your BLACK + DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver. Distribute the 24 1/2" long shelf pieces as desired and secure with screws.

  5. Fill the Seams and Holes With Wood Filler

    For a professional and seamless finish, seal all screw holes and joints with wood filler. Use a putty knife to scrape the filler into the crevices and remove any excess. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying time before sanding and painting.

  6. Prep for Painting and Staining

    Using the 120-grit sandpaper and your BLACK+DECKER MOUSE® Detail Sander, gently sand away dried wood filler and rough edges. Avoid sanding the faces of the MDF as you might scratch the smooth surfaces unnecessarily. Pay particular attention to the edges of your shelf, and sand until they feel smooth to the touch.

    Grind down the wood topper’s splintered edges with 80-grit sandpaper. Finish with 120-grit sandpaper to prep for staining.

  7. Apply Finish to the Wood Topper

    Choose a color of stain that coordinates with your paint selection (a richly stained wood topper adds a nice contrast to the painted MDF). Use a paintbrush to brush on a coat of stain and rub off the excess with a soft rag. Follow the manufacturer's recommended drying times before applying several coats of varnish to seal the wood.

  8. Add a Few Coats of Paint

    While your wood stain is drying, paint the rest of the unit. Grab a partner and work towards each other, painting the exterior and interior of each shelf and cubby. (Skip painting the top of the unit because the stained wood piece will be attached to that later.)

    Allow this first coat to cure overnight before lightly sanding away any brushstrokes and drips with a 120-grit sanding block. Dust off any residue with a clean cloth and apply a second coat of paint. Let your shelf stand and cure completely as recommended by the manufacturer.

    TIP: Apply paint in smooth strokes, brushing away any drips before they dry.

  9. Attach the Wood Topper

    After the paint has dried completely, apply liquid nails to the underside of the stained wood topper and place it on top of the shelving unit with the edges flush. Keep the piece firmly in place with four wood clamps (there should be no buckles or gaps where the plywood piece meets the top of the MDF shelf).

    Allow the adhesive to dry as directed by the manufacturer before removing the clamps. With a partner's help, move your shelf into place and style with your shoes.

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