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Easy to Build Shoe Organizer Tray

Build this easy shoe tray to organize your shoes in a closet, mudroom or entryway.

Can you believe we are already on week 3 of the $100 Kids Closet Makeover? It’s hard to believe how far we have come, and this week we are organizing shoes!

In case you missed any of the previous closet makeover posts, I am redoing my daughter’s (use-to-be) horrendous closet for the $100 Room Challenge. Yep, that means I can only spend $100 and must do the makeover in 1 month!

Straight on picture of the front of the shoe organizer tray with shoes inside it.

You can see the before photos and read about the other projects here:

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Week 1 || Week 2

And this week I solved our unorganized shoe problem for her closet, check it out below!

Shoe storage for the bottom of the closet with word overlay over it.

Why Use a Shoe Organizer?

Trying to teach my kids to put thing back in their proper spot has been a bit of a challenge. But it’s even more challenging when something doesn’t have a dedicated spot!

Before I always asked the kids to just put their shoes in the bottom of their closets. They would get tossed in there… sometimes.

Turquoise stained wood shoe rack in the closet.

But when it came time to put their shoes on, they were unable to locate their shoes. Tossing them in the closet meant they could be anywhere.

So a shoe organizer means the shoes now have their own dedicated spot. And this one is built to hold the shoes in an orderly fashion. But it will still be easy for the kids to put them away.

Five pair of kids shoes organized on the shoe storage tray in the closet.

Benefits of the Shoe Storage Tray

The beauty of this simple shoe storage tray is the angled boards. They are attached in sections creating 2 specific rows for shoes.

The back of the shoes rest up against the boards of the front row or the front of the tray. This should help keep them nice and organized.

Shoe organizer tray with shoes on the back row showing the way the shoes sit in the organizer.

And since my kids don’t usually have 6 pair of shoes, the back row is perfect for slippers and hand-me-down shoes we are waiting to grow into.

That leaves the front row with room for her most used shoes. The shoes are quick to find and even quicker to put away properly!!!

How to Build a Shoe Organizer Tray

Tools Needed:


Shoe Organizer Tray Size

This shoe organizer is built for my 8 yr old daughter’s shoes. It would also work for my shoes (I wear a size 7 1/2 or 8 in women’s shoes).

The rows are 10″ deep so of you want to make one to work for larger shoes, you will want to adjust. But be aware of the depth of your closet so you don’t make it too big to close your doors.

Also, there are 24″ of width for each row, this leaves 8″ per pair of shoes. Adjust the width if you have wider shoes, or if you want to add more shoes to your organizer.

3D SketchUp drawing of the shoe organizer tray.

Cut List:

Cut the following pieces from the 1×4 board:

  • (2) Front/back pieces @ 25 1/2″ long
  • (2) Side pieces @ 20″ long

Cut the following pieces from the 1×2 boards:

  • (10) Row slats @ 24″ long
Cutting 1x4 boards at the miter saw.

Mark the Angles on the Sides

On each of the side pieces, draw a line at the center (10″). Then measure down on that mark 2″ and make a mark.

Draw a line from the bottom point of the board to the mark. This will be the angle of the front row.

For the back row, measure down 2″ from the top on the back of the board and make a mark. Draw a line from the center mark to this mark.

Make sure your marks mirror each other on the two boards.

Making marks on the shoe tray side pieces for the row placement.

Build the Frame

Set your pocket hold jig for use with 3/4″ thick material. Drill 2 pocket holes in each end of the side pieces.

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Drilling pocket holes with the Kreg K5 pocket hole jig.

Add wood glue to one end of the a side piece and clamp it to the edge of the front piece at a 90 degree angle. Make sure the angles that were drawn on the board facing into the center and the front bottom is in the correct spot.

Make sure the boards are flush at the corner and on the top/bottom. Then secure the boards with the pocket hole screws.

Attaching the sides piece to the front piece.

Repeat by attaching the other side piece to the front piece. Again, be aware of the angles that were drawn on the board, they need to face inward and the front bottom needs to mirror the other side.

Add wood glue to the open ends of both side pieces and attach them to the back piece in the same way as the front.

Finishing off the frame of the shoe organizer with pocket hole joinery.

Add the Row Slats

Start with the front of the tray, and position the first row slat so the bottom is flush on the drawn line. Leave a 1/2″ gap from the front of the tray (I use a scrap of wood that is 1/2″ thick for easy spacing).

Secure the row slat with wood glue and 1 1/4″ finish nails. Use 2 nails per side to keep it from twisting. Make sure to secure both sides.

Attaching the first row slat to the inside of the frame with a finishing nail gun.

If you have a hard time seeing where to shoot the nails on the outside of the frame, you can draw the same lines as you did on the inside for you to follow. But make sure you shoot the nails 3/8″ above the line to get it in the center of the 1×2 board.

Repeat with 4 more row slats, leaving 1/2″ gap between them, and making sure the bottom is flush with the angled line.

Secure them all with wood glue and finish nails.

Adding the rest of the slats for the front row of the shoe storage tray.

Once you have the first row complete, start the second row from the back of the shoe tray. This will mean you are starting with the highest part of the angled line.

Attach the first row slat so it is 1/2″ from the back frame and flush with the angled line. Secure with wood glue and finish nails.

Then add the remaining 4 row slats, going down the line. Leave 1/2″ gap between them and keep the bottoms flush with the drawn line. Secure with wood glue and finish nails.

Attaching the slats of the back row flush with the angled line.

Finish the Shoe Organizer

Now your shoe tray is built! It is ready for sanding and finishing.

I always like to start with a 100-120 grit sandpaper if I am using rougher wood (like inexpensive 1x2s and 1x4s). Then finish with a 220 grit sandpaper.

Then clean off any dust and stain or paint your shoe tray. Make sure to check out this post for tips and tricks to getting a smooth professional paint finish on your wood pieces.

Adding turquoise wood stain to the finished wood shoe organizer.

We are going to be using lots of turquoise in my daughter’s closet since it is her favorite color and matches her room perfectly. So we used this fun turquoise wood stain.

I love that the wood grain is still visible, but the color is so bold. Perfect for a kids room!

$100 Closet Makeover Budget

Since this post is part of our $100 Room Challenge makeover, we can’t forget to talk budget. So far I have spent $41 leaving us with only $59 left!

Well I am happy to report that I spend $0 on this shoe organizer tray! But how is that possible?

Close up view of the easy to build shoe organizer tray on the floor of the closet with shoes in it.

I reused wood from an old dog gate that we (sadly) no longer need. Which is why you might see extra nail holes and markings on the boards. But it was the perfect way to reuse something that was bound for the trash.

And the beautiful turquoise stain I used was left over from these amazing 3D pumpkins & gourds I made for fall.

So we are still left with $59 to spend going into next week. I know I will need it since I have to buy drawer slides and come up with a lot more closet organizing solutions!

Closet makeover on week 3 with closet organizer installed and painted and shoe organizer tray on the floor.

Cost of Building a Shoe Tray

But if you do not have wood to use, what would it cost to build your own shoe organizer?

If you used inexpensive furring strips (like I did) you can expect to pay about $2 for a 1×4 and $1.20 for a 1×2.

You will have to pick through the bundles to find straight boards to use (check out my beginners guide to buying lumber to learn to right way to pick out your boards) but the cost benefit is worth it sometimes.

Then if you add a few screws, glue, and nails, you will be about $10 for the project. Then because it’s for shoes, why not use leftover paint or stain (that is what I did here too) to save you more money!

Side of the closet shoe organizer with shoes on the rows.

This project is definitely a great budget option when you look at it that way. I think I need to buy some boards and make one for my son’s closet too!

And for more budget friendly projects, why not check out the other bloggers participating in the $100 Room Challenge this month? Lots of great, and cheap, decorating and DIY ideas below!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Erin- Lemons, Lavender, & Laundry

Tuesday 28th of January 2020

The show situation in our house is out of control! Love this idea for keeping kids' shoes organized. And best of all... if was free for you! Love using leftovers to save money (although I am sad that it had to come from a "no longer needed" dog gate :( Can't wait to see what else you do in this space!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

Thanks Erin! It was sad that we had to use the old dog gate we no longer need, but glad it was saved from the trash.

Dara from The Roots of Home

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

Great project! Finding shoes in the mornings is always an issue, but having a dedicated spot for them will be so helpful! Love the color too!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

It has already helped so much too!!!

Lindsey from Hilltown House

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Having a dedicated space is half the battle! This is a great build - great job figuring out how to angel those slats!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

Thanks Lindsey! It did take some work, but totally worth it.

Terrie Tipler

Thursday 16th of January 2020 I know what to put out by our door in our garage. I have been looking for something for our shoes. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. This is perfect. I love the color you painted yours. Love how your closet is turning out!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

Thanks Terrie! It would be perfect by the garage. I want one there now.


Thursday 16th of January 2020

Very clever Kati and I love the color of the shoe organizer too!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

The color is my daughter's favorite so it was fun to use up some of my leftover stain and make her happy at the same time!

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