How To Make A Shoe Rack Bench For Your Entryway

Do you have many pairs of shoes but no place to store them? One of the most crucial aspects of organising your shoes is where you keep them. Nowadays, you can find many shoe storage solutions, like industrial shoe racks, walk-in closets, shoe boxes, shoe cubbies, crown moulding racks, PVC pipe shoe racks, pallet shoe racks, hangers for your flip flops, shoe shelves, and so much more! But having a shoe rack bench at your mudroom or entryway is one of the best ways to keep your shoes organised!

a stylish shoe rack bench

A seating bench designed as a shoe storage space is very commodious for family members to sit and put on their shoes before leaving home. By placing the shoe rack in a convenient place, even in a small space, all family members have no excuse not to put their shoes away where they belong. Do you want to build your own DIY shoe rack bench? Keep on reading to find a step-by-step guide to help you out with your new woodworking DIY project

Step-by-step guide: How to make a shoe rack bench

Are you looking for a practical and beautiful storage system for your shoe collection? Follow this easy DIY tutorial to make your own space-saving storage rack!

What you’ll need

  • Tablesaw (or circular saw)
  • Digital angle finder
  • Mitre saw
  • Random orbital sander
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill press
  • Forstner bit
  • Pocket hole jig
  • Face clamp
  • Brad nailer
  • (1) 10×12 cm plywood
  • (1) 5×10.5 cm plywood
  • (2) 20 cm 2.5×5 select pine boards
  • (1) 20 cm 5×5 select pine boards
  • (23 cm) 2 cm cove moulding trim
  • Shelf pins
  • 3 cm pocket hole screws
  • Semi-gloss white paint or spray paint
  • Satin polyurethane

Step 1: Cut the legs

Since the shoe rack bench sides have a modified frame and panel construction, you should start by cutting the legs to length from the 5×5 material.

close up of pine wooden boards

  1. The shoe bench has a 6 mm plywood back, so you should lay out a recess (or rabbet) into the back legs to hold the panel
  2. Make one cut to define the depth of the rabbet, and then raise the blade to match the leftover material. 
  3. Clear out the material with another cut for a 1.2 cm wide 0.6 cm deep rabbet.

Step 2: Build the shoe bench sides

  1. Join the legs using a pair of side rails.
  2. First, cut 2.5×10’s to size and rip them down to get two 2.5×5 rails from each piece.  
  3. Drill pocket holes in the ends of all the rails with a pocket hole jig.
  4. Before joining the rails and legs together, cut two 2 cm plywood panels to size and drill pocket holes in the sides and one on the top.
  5. Lay the legs and rails face down and secure the top rail of the shoe cabinet with 3 cm pocket screws.  
  6. Use the panels you just cut to position the lower rails and secure them to the legs.
  7. Since 2 cm plywood isn’t 2cm, you should use some playing cards to shim the panels up and make them flush with the inside face of the legs.  
  8. Then, lock everything in place with some more pocket screws.
  9. Since you’ll paint the base of the DIY shoe bench, you should opt for a smooth surface by filling the pocket holes with plugs and sanding them smooth.
  10. Use a shelf pin jig and drill holes on both sides for your adjustable shelf.

Step 3: Cut the connectors of the bench

Next, you should make the lower shelf and the stretchers for the storage bench.

  1. Cut a piece of plywood for the lower shelf and drill pocket holes along the ends and the front of the frame.
  2. Cut a 2.5×5 to 1, clamp it to the lower shelf and attach the trim with pocket screws.
  3. The last piece you need to connect the sides is a back stretcher you can get from the leftover plywood. Cut it to 7.5 cm for extra support.
  4. Drill 3 large counterbore holes with a 3.5 cm forstner bit in the underside of the front and back stretchers which you’ll later use to attach the top.  
  5. Drill all the way through the stretcher. Keep in mind that using an oversized bit allows room for wood movement.

Step 4: Assemble the shoe storage bench base

Having all the pieces ready, you should now start to assemble the entryway shoe storage bench.  

  1. Attach the front and back stretchers with pocket screws, making sure to leave the rabbet in the back legs open.
  2. Flip the base over to attach the lower shelf.  Use spring clamps to position the shelf trim 2.5 cm from the bottom. You can reference the distance from the bottom of the frame at 4.5 cm to the legs’ base to get the bottom shelf even.
  3. Attach the bottom shelf to the sides with 3 cm pocket screws.
  4. Make the adjustable shelf the same way you did the lower bracket, attaching 2.5×5 trim to the front. Then, wait until after the base is finished so you can get the size of the shelf just right and minimise the gap between the legs and the stand.

Step 5: Trim and paint your shoe bench rack

You can add some detail around the side panels by cutting some 1.7 cm cove moulding to fit around the inside of your boards.

  1. Measure and cut mitres on each piece on the mitre saw.
  2. Then, attach the pieces with a small pin nailer.
  3. With all of the base parts assembled, sand everything to 150 grit and start on your first coat of paint. For the best result, use semi-gloss latex paint and go for up to 3 coats.

A man's holding a can of clear coat wood varnish to seal pine furniture

Step 6: Make the top

It’s now time for the walnut top

  1. You can substitute 2.5×15 or 5×15 boards for the top, or cut your own wood, depending on the results you want. 
  2. Next, take them to the table saw and rip them each down to 14 cm. This will give you a 5 m top for your DIY shoe bench. 
  3. Use wood glue in a glue bottle and a bevvy of clamps to join the boards together. All you need to do is put a few small clamps on the glue joints at the ends of the panels to keep everything aligned.
  4. Now you can either go straight to hand sanding or if you’re lucky enough to have a drum sander, use this.
  5. Get the top smooth tabletop down to 1.2 m long on the crosscut sledge. You can make it bigger, but this is a nice size for two adults.  
  6. Cut a bevel on the underside of the top to lighten the look and deal with the bark voids in one step. Set the saw blade to 45 degrees using your digital angle finder and cut the bevel on the front edge. Then, flip it around and cut the angles on the sides.  If you are going with a 2 cm top, then it will be far easier to use a chamfer bit in a router.

Step 7: Finish and assemble your shoe rack bench

It’s now time to finish with your DIY project.

  1. Sand the top up through 220 grit.
  2. For the top use, a polyurethane satin finish and apply 2 coats slightly thinned and 2 more thinned 50/50 with mineral spirits for a nice finish.
  3. Position the top for a consistent reveal around the front and sides and then secure it to the base with pocket screws through the oversized holes.
  4. Flip the bench around and nail the back on with a brad nailer. 
  5. The last thing to do is to install the adjustable shelf. Use shelf pins with a hole to secure the frame with screws. This will help keep the shelf in place when your kids are slinging shoes in and out of the bench.
  6. Move the bench into the front hallway, and we load it up with shoes. You can now rest on it!

an entryway with a shoe rack bench, a coat rack and a stylish table.

Are you constantly losing the battle with shoes in the entry? A shoe bench is a great storage idea, especially for families with children. Having this entryway bench by the front door will help them get more organised; kids can sit down on it when getting ready and leave their shoes there the moment they get home. Place it beside a coat rack or storage cabinet to match your home decor, or even add some wooden shelving or bookshelves and bookcase to give your house a classic makeover. Follow our instructions for this beautiful DIY shoe rack idea where you can store shoes and also use as a bench to save floor space. You and your guest are going to love it!

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