This simple shoe cabinet is on-trend with its wood scrap door and painted back panel. Using some simple plywood, you can build it in just a few hours.
DIY blogger Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern created this easy project for our DIY Challenge. We asked Ben to use his skills to construct something unique– using lumber— that anyone can complete at their home.
Follow the how-to below to build your own stylish shoe cabinet.
Building the DIY Shoe Cabinet
I constructed the shell for this shoe cabinet out of a single sheet of ¾ in. thick plywood. I made the cabinet door out of reclaimed scrap pieces of wood and used a short piece of copper pipe to make a custom hinge.
For the painted back support, I experimented with watering down latex house paint so I could get a nice splash of color while still being able to see the grain of the wood. These shoe shelves would work well in a mudroom or entryway and is sturdy enough to double as a bench.
- ¾ in. Plywood
- Wood Glue
- Copper Pipe
- Wood Scraps
- Cordless Drill
- Compound Miter Saw
- Orbital Sander
- Circular Saw
Step 1: Pick the plywood
I had the nice Home Depot associates rip a 4 ft. by 8 ft. sheet of plywood into three 14 in. wide strips. Not only does this save me time from doing it myself on the table saw, but it also makes it easier to fit in my car.
Step 2: Cut the plywood to length
I cut the plywood into the lengths shown in the drawing. I used my compound miter saw but this could also be done with a circular saw.
Step 3: Glue the pieces together
The vertical supports for the cabinet are made by gluing two pieces of the ¾ in. plywood together. I spread the glue evenly between the boards and then clamped them together while the glue dried.
Step 4: Cut notches in the vertical supports
I marked notches on the vertical supports so that I could make a series of cuts to create a recess for the back support.
I clamped the three panels together and then set the blade of my circular saw to ¾ in. I made a series of cuts to remove most of the material.
I removed the left over slivers of plywood with a Japanese handsaw and chisel and sanded the notches smooth with an orbital sander.
Step 5: Drill holes in top and bottom
I drilled 5/8 in. diameter holes in the top and bottom piece of plywood. These holes will accommodate a ½ in. copper pipe that will be used as a hinge for the door.
Step 6: Assemble the cabinet
I applied glue to the ends of the panels and then used long bar clamps to hold the pieces in place before screwing them together with 2.25 in. finish screws.
To connect the bottom vertical supports I had to screw in from an angle.
Step 7: Cut the copper pipe
I inserted the copper pipe into the cabinet and marked where it came flush with the top of the cabinet. I then used my tubing cutter to cut the pipe to the appropriate length.
Step 8: Sand the cabinet
I used my orbital sander to sand the front face of the cabinet with 60 grit pads then 120 grit pads. Then I finished sanding the entire cabinet with 220 grit pads.
Step 9: Cut the scrap pieces for the door
I measured the opening for the door and then cut a bunch of scrap pieces of wood to a length that is ½ in. less than the opening. I then sanded the pieces with my orbital sander.
Step 10: Assemble the door
Once I had a bunch of scrap pieces cut to the appropriate length, I arranged them into a design that I found pleasing. I pre-drilled holes in two pieces of ¼ in. plywood and then screwed through those holes and into the scraps.
Step 11: Sand down the hinge edge of the door
I used my orbital sander to round over the hinge edge of the door so it can rotate without bumping into the walls of the cabinet.
Step 12: Install the door
I used ½ in. copper pipe straps and ½ in. screws to fast the door to the pipe.
Step 13: Paint the back support
I mixed water into some latex interior house paint and then brushed that onto the back support.
I wanted the grain to show through the paint so I used a wet rag to wipe off just enough paint to reveal the grain.
Step 14: Screw on the back support
I pressed the back support into the notches I cut out of the vertical panels and then screwed it into place.
Step 15: Add a magnetic latch
I don’t want the door to sing open so I screwed in a small eye hook and then used gorilla two-part epoxy to glue a small magnet to the inside of the door. The magnet sticks to the eyehook and keeps the door shut.
Ben Uyeda is a designer, lecturer, and entrepreneur focusing on the field of affordable and sustainable design. Ben is the co-founder and design director of FreeGreen.com, as well as a visiting Lecturer at Northeastern University. See his designs and DIY projects on his blog, HomeMade Modern.
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