Cool DIY pallet shoe rack (5 simple steps + FREE PLANS)

A clean house provides you with peace of mind and protects your things from harm.
The same is true for shoes.

It would be a pity if your favorite pair of shoes wore out quickly because you left them lying around, or if you wasted valuable time every morning hunting for your shoes.

So, in order to correctly store your shoes, you’ll need a shoe rack. You can buy one from a big-box store, but they aren’t distinctive and are often unattractive. Making a DIY pallet shoe rack that matches your decor is a lot more enjoyable.

Making a pallet shoe rack is a straightforward process that can be completed in 5 simple steps:

  1. Disassembling and sanding the pallet wood.
  2. Cut the wood to length.
  3. Make the legs
  4. Connecting the legs with the shelves
  5. Decorating for a personal touch.

Thanks to the free shoe rack plans that you can download, you don’t have to worry about designing and figuring out what length, width, and height your pallet shoe rack should have.

So you may get started right away, and this wood shoe shelf can be completed in an afternoon.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

You’ll soon have enough space to keep all of your shoes thanks to this one-of-a-kind and lovely DIY wooden shoe rack. Furthermore, you will be able to enjoy this lovely, rustic, and unique shoe rack built of free pallet wood for many years to come.

It’s a simple and enjoyable project, and it’s a lot less expensive than any of the other models you’ve seen.

This easy woodworking beginner project can be done with a minimum of tools. Even an inexperienced woodworker should be able to complete this project.

Keep in mind that the sizes on the free plans to make this wood shoe shelf are reference sizes and can be adjusted to your needs.

Pallet wood is not the only type of wood you can make this great shoe rack from. To get inspired, I recommend you check out my article What Is The Best Wood For Shelving? A Quick Overview

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

What do you need to make a pallet shoe rack?

To prepare you for building this shoe rack with pallets, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipments that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this wood shoe shelf.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Safety first! Protect yourself!
Materials I used for this
(power)Tools I used for this
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Watch the video & learn how to make a pallet shoe rack

Before you go on reading this article, check out this video first. In this video, I’ll show you how I have built my shoe rack with pallets.

After watching this video, you can continue reading this article to discover all details you need to build this DIY shoe rack yourself.

How to make a pallet shoe rack?

Now that we have gone through the list of what we all need for this pallet shoe rack DIY project, you can follow the DIY pallet shoe rack instructions below on how to make this rustic shoe rack.

To make a pallet shoe rack you will need to have a minimum of 3 pallets. 
I’ll list what boards you will need for this project.

  • 4 boards for the legs
  • 9 boards for the shelves (Attention: these are not all the same length, further on in this blog I will give you more information)
  • 6 short strips to connect the shelves to the legs

If you don’t know where to find free reusable wood to make a shoe rack with pallets like this, check out my blog 7 simple ways to find free lumber. I’m sure that article will inspire you.

OK, now let’s go build that shoe rack!

Pro Tip

If you are using pallet wood or other recyclable wood, make sure you have removed all nails or screws.
When nails or screws come into contact with the saw blade when cutting the planks to length, this can lead to dangerous situations.
The saw blade can also be damaged.
Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

Step 1 | disassembling and Sanding the pallet wood​

To begin, you must disassemble the pallets. This is best accomplished using a crowbar.

This is a critical stage that requires extreme caution. The older the pallets, the more probable it is that the wood will crack when prying it loose.

Place the crowbar at the dividing line between two planks that are joined with a nail. Tap the crowbar with a hammer to pry it between the two boards, then press the crowbar down in short increments to separate the two planks.

Do not attempt to totally separate any planks in a single location. This exerts strain on the wooden plank, potentially causing it to break. Loosen the board in small increments over its whole length.

And then there is the sanding part.

I know this is not the most popular activity, but pallet wood is rough.
To avoid hurting yourself and to get a nice finished shoe rack from pallets, this is a necessary step.

Now that all the boards are still separate, this is the best time to do it. By sanding the boards before you assemble them, you can do this quite fast. 
To speed up the work, I used my sander with 80-grit sandpaper.

After cutting the boards to length, you can quickly sand the sawn edges with the same sandpaper.


If you want to know more about how to determine the right sandpaper for your project, be sure to check out my blog: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.

Everything you need to know about sandpaper can be found in this article. It will no doubt give you a better understanding of the proper use of sandpaper.

There is also a FREE downloadable guide available to help you determine the right sandpaper grit.

Highly recommended!

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

Step 2 | Cutting the Wood to Length

Once you have sanded all the boards, it is time to cut the boards to length.
The correct lengths depend on the dimensions of the wood you use.

You can use the downloadable shoe rack plans for this and adapt them to the size of your wood.

In most circumstances, the length specified on the plans should be less than the length of a normal pallet board. You will never have to expand a plank by joining two planks if you stick to the sizes specified in the free plans.

To cut the boards to length, I used my miter saw with a stop block. This way, each time I needed boards of the same length, I was able to cut the boards quickly. Thanks to the stop blocks, I did not have to measure and mark again and again.

If you do not own a miter saw, you can do this easily with a hand saw. Be sure to check out my blog post, “4 Handsaws You Should Own” to find out what the best handsaw is for you. 

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea


Be sure to watch my video on how I improved my budget miter saw with 3 simple adjustments: 3 Miter saw improvements I should have done before.

Step 3 | Making the legs

With all the boards cut to length, the time has come to assemble this pallet shoe rack.

To do this, you will need to start by making the legs. These are the structural elements of the pallet shoe rack and will determine the height and width as well as the distance between the shelves.

Start by connecting the smaller strips to the longer leg boards to create these legs. You can check out the downloaded shoe rack plans for the exact measurements.

Make sure the horizontal bars are the right height because they will later be used to attach the shelves to the legs.
Also, make sure the current bars are mounted squarely to the legs.

To reinforce the connections, you can use wood glue and brad nails.
If you don’t have a nail gun, you may use normal nails.

The benefit of utilizing brad nails is that the assembly is fast, but the glue also has time to dry without having to wait. This expedites the construction process.


If you’re considering buying a nail gun, be sure to check out my previous article on finding the perfect nail gun.
In that article, I’ll go over all the different types of nail guns available, so you can find the right one for your workshop.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

Step 4 | connecting the legs with the SHELVES ​

Once the two legs are ready, the rack is very easy to make by simply connecting the shelves to the legs.

Pro Tip

When you cut the boards for the shelves to length, notice that the middle board of the shelf is slightly longer and flush with the outside of the legs.

This is for all the shelves on this pallet shoe rack except for the top shelf. 
Take a good look at the photos and shoe rack plans that you have downloaded.
DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

For the top shelf, all three boards are equal and the same length as the outer dimensions of the shoe rack. 
In this way, the boards cover the tops of the legs.

To connect the shelf boards to the legs, you can use wood glue and brad nails again to ensure a strong connection.
This will make your shoe rack stronger and last longer.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

Step 5 | Finishing the wood shoe shelf

To finish the shoe rack made from pallets nicely, you can apply a board around the shelves.
This board will hide the connection between the legs and the shelves and give the shoe rack a more robust appearance.

After cutting them to length, I attached these boards to the front and sides of the pallet shoe rack with brad nails and wood glue, just like I secured the other connections.

By doing this, you will notice that the pallet shoe rack will become more sturdy.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea
DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

To make the shoe rack firmer but also more beautiful, I added a board at an angle of 45 degrees on both sides between the shelves.

To cut the 45-degree angle, I used my miter saw. If you have a miter box, you can make these cuts easily with a hand saw.

All you have to do now is add some wood glue, hold these pieces in place and secure them in place with brad nails or regular nails.

If you have followed all the same steps, you have finished making the DIY pallet shoe rack.
In just a few hours you made a beautiful and unique pallet shoe rack.

But you can make it even more beautiful!

In the next part, I will show you how I build the decorative letters to take this pallet shoe rack to the next level, so keep reading.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

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How to make decorative letters?

I wanted to give my pallet shoe rack a unique look, that is why I made these decorative letters. You can use the same idea if you like, or you can use it as an inspiration to make your own version of it.

To make the rustic shoe rack more decorative, you can use the blocks from the disassembled pallet on which you paint the letters S-H-O-E-S.

Before you can paint the letters, you will have to remove all the nails and sand the blocks first.
For this, I used my sander with 80-grit sandpaper.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

After sanding, you can draw the letters with a pencil. 
As an example, I used the font Serif Bold.

To help you with this, you will find a printable template with the downloaded pallet shoe rack plans. By cutting out the letters, you can use them as a template to stamp the letters on the blocks, or, as I did, first draw the lines with a pencil.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

After drawing the lines on the blocks, you can start painting the letters.
I used chalk paint for this because I had it in stock, and also because I personally like the texture and hue of chalk paint.

However, you can use any paint you like and color that matches your decor.

To paint these letters, it is better to use a smaller brush and apply 2 to 3 thin coats of paint.

After the paint is dry, you can sand it lightly to give the letters an outdated look. To do this, I have used 220 grit sandpaper.

When sanding the letters for the aged look, run the sandpaper gently over the paint and don’t apply high pressure. If not, you will remove the letters completely.


Because sandpaper can sometimes remove paint too quickly, I use an old piece of sandpaper for this application. It is less aggressive and the end result will always look nice.

This way you don’t have to buy extra sandpaper with a finer grit.

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea

By finishing the letter blocks, the pallet shoe rack DIY project is complete, and this rustic shoe rack with pallets is now a real eye-catcher for your interior.

Now collect all your shoes and put them in the rack. 
No more mess of shoes lying around from now on.

If you want some good tips on how to maintain wooden furniture, I recommend you to read my article, How to maintain wooden furniture (+ 5 simple tips)

DIY Pallet shoe rack idea
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Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.

I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!

I hope this information on how to make a pallet shoe rack was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.

Feel free to share this blog on Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media.
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It will be much appreciated.

I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.

Christophe, founder of
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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