Whip Up This Shoe Caddy for Your Closets


If you like “neat”, you will love this shoe caddy that keeps that pile of old shoes in order in the bottom of your closet!

If you are anything like me, as soon as you walk into your house, you kick off your shoes and throw them into your front closet (or back closet or where ever your shoes hibernate between adventures).  Over time that closet becomes an obnoxious pile of miss matched Nikes and work boots.  It comes to the point where I won’t even open the door to the closet and I resort to keeping one pair of shoes out within reach and wear just that one pair daily because I hate reaching into the shoe closet to dig out a pair of shoes.


Ask Shari, I keep a neat home, but my shoe closet is a pit.  So I decided to take action and build a shoe rack, complete with a bottom shelf that can pull out to eliminate the effort of reaching way back into the closet to grab a pair of boots.

This is a fairly easy project, but you will need a few woodworking skills such as working with a circular saw and a miter saw.  But hey!  This may be good motivation to go to your local home center store and see if they offer classes in how to use power tools.  I also have an article in the shop project category on how to use a circular saw so you may want to check that out as well.   Either way, this is a great project to help eliminate the clutter of shoes in your closet.

Materials List:

  • ½ plywood, 4ft x 4 ft sheet
  • 1ft x 4ft x 10ft pine boards
  • ¾ in shoe molding
  • 1in x 1in square dowel
  • 2 center mount drawer glides
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
  • Cordless drill/bits
  • Clamp
  • Hammer and finish nails
  • Pocket Hole Jig (Kreg makes a great kit)
  • Wood glue
  • 150 Grit Sandpaper

Make sure to measure the width of the door way of the closet that the shoe rack will be placed in.  Believe me you will want to do this first, the rack is fairly large and will need to slide into the closet, and once it is built it will be hard to downsize.  I now have an extra shoe rack lying in my garage…..if you catch my drift.  *IMPORTANT – all measurements for the instructions are for my closet size, yours may vary.


1. The first step is to build the base frame.  Use 1 x 4’s and cut to length using the size of your closet as a guide; the frame should allow about 2 inches of room on the sides when placed in the closet.  Cut the lumber to length using a miter saw. *For reference, my base frame measured 26in x 18 ½ in.

tip 1

When cutting long pieces of lumber with a miter saw, use a support block to hold the piece flush with the saw base, I use scrap lumber to build a stand that I keep handy at all times when using my miter saw.


2. To construct the frame, use a pocket hole jig to drill pilot holes into the boards and secure using self tapping screws.  Secure the jig using a clamp and drill the pilot holes.


Then attach the lumber using the self tapping wood screws.  For stronger hold, use wood glue as well.


Pocket hole kits can be purchased that contain all you need.  This jig is a great way to join wood.  The kits are relatively inexpensive and are a great way to build bookcases, tables, all sorts of things.


3. Using a miter saw, cut to length the upright supports, there are four supports, two longer back supports and two shorter front supports.  One end of all the supports will have a mitered cut.


Depending on how high you want the upper shoe tray to be will determine the height of each support.  For my shoe rack the back supports measured 14 inches in height and the front measured 10 ½ inches.  At the end of each support, cut a mitered end.  The cut should be at a 20 degree angle on the miter saw.


4. Attach the longer back supports to the back of the base frame first using the pocket jig and screws.


Then using a level, locate the placement of the front supports by placing the level on the mitered end of the back supports, slide the front supports along the frame until the level matches the angle on both boards, the level will guide you to when the 4 supports are in the right position.   Secure the upright supports to the base frame using the pocket jig.

The next step is to attach the drawer glides to the base frame.  Purchase two center mount drawer glides that are long enough for the base assembly (these can be purchased at a home center store in the cabinetry department).   I chose two glides to handle the weight of the shoes.


5. Attach the control slide to the base frame; the control slide is the glide with the curled edges and the small ball bearings on the side.  The control slide holds the free glide into position as the glide tracks open and shut.


6. Using a circular saw cut a panel that will fit between the upright frames and the width of the base frame.  This will become the gliding panel for the lower section of the shoe rack.


Use a guide to cut the plywood to ensure a straight cut.


7. Add a piece of 1in x 1in wooden dowel trim to the front edge of the gliding panel, secure by using wood glue and finish nails.  Sand all edges smooth using 150 grit sand paper.


8. Attach the free glide to the bottom of the bottom panel.


9. Cut the top platform out of plywood using the circular saw. The panel should be cut so that it extends past the lower support leg by 2inches.  Secure the panel to the support legs with wood glue and finish nails (using a nail gun and compressor will make this step a snap).


10. Add a length of ¾ inch shoe molding to the lower edge of the top platform for a stop bar.

Fill all holes with a flush spackling compound and sand all surfaces smooth with 150 grit sandpaper.


11. Slide the gliding panel into position and place the shoe rack into your closet.

After constructing the shoe rack for my front closet, I found that I needed several more for the rest of the closets in my house that have shoes stored in them. So I’m off to the lumber yard to grab more supplies.  I hope this helps you corral some of your shoe over flow; I don’t think I will be stepping on any ones toes if I tell you that this is a “soleful” project.


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