Project tutorial

DIY Shoe Dresser

Project cost
10 hours
Estimated time

This DIY shoe dresser makes compact storage with tilt-out bins, and a handy top drawer for additional storage. While the outer box is made from 1x12 boards, the drawer, bins and faces area all made from plywood that can be easily cut into strips with a circular saw (or by an associate at the homecenter!). For the inside, we used a half sheet of ¾-inch birch plywood, while I upgraded to walnut-veneer plywood for the faces to create a midcentury-style mix contrasting with the white paint.

(Note: the photo and project depict bins slightly shorter than the actual shoe cabinet plans. Call it a live-and-learn. The taller bins in the plans add just enough height to more comfortably fit heels and men's shoes.)

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Step 1


Using the cut list in the downloadable plans above and a miter saw or circular saw, cut two 1x12x6 boards (actual dimensions ¾” x 11 ¼”) into the cabinet’s two sides, top and bottom. Using a circular saw and miter saw, cut the remaining pieces from a half sheet of ¾-inch-thick plywood—Remember, this can also be cut into manageable strips with a circular saw or at the store. Using a pocket hole jig, drill three pocket holes in each end of the top, bottom, and shelf pieces.

Step 2


facing downward. Apply wood glue to the edges of the top and bottom boards, and then clamp them into place using a long bar clamp, corner clamp, or right angle clamp. Secure the top and bottom boards flush with the ends of the sides using a drill/driver and 1¼-inch pocket hole screws. Throughout the assembly, use a speed square or framing square to check the box for square and make adjustments as needed.

Step 3


On the front edge and along the inside wall of the sides, mark the height of the shelves at 15-inches and 30-inches from the bottom edge of the cabinet box. The reference line on the front edge guides the placement, while the line on the inside keeps the shelf level (from front to back).

Step 4


Apply wood glue to the ends of the shelves, and then position them in place above the reference marks and lines made in step three. Secure the shelves using a drill/driver and 1¼-inch pocket hole screws.

Step 5


Place the drawer bottom on the work surface, pocket holes facing down. Test the fit of the drawers walls by placing them around the bottom, positioned so that the front and back fit between the sides. Using a drill/driver and pocket hole jig, drill three pocket holes in the ends of the drawer front and back pieces. Apply wood glue to the ends of the drawer’s front and back pieces, and then position them on edge between the drawer sides. Drive 1¼-inch pocket hole screws through the front and back pieces and into the sides.

Step 6


Using a drill/driver and pocket hole jig, drill three pocket holes along front and back of the bottom, and two along each end. Apply wood glue to the edges of the drawer bottom, and then secure it in place flush with the bottom edge of the drawers walls with 1¼-inch pocket hole screws.

Step 7


Center the drawer slides along the height of the drawer, flush with its front edge. Secure the slides with the screws provided in the packaging or 5/8-inch screws.

Step 8


Install the remaining piece of each slide inside the cabinet, centered on the height of the top opening, and recessed ¾-inch from the front edge. Place the drawer into the opening. For soft-close ball-bearing slides like ours, the first installation feels tough and requires an extra push at the end to seat the slide. Once the slide is correctly inserted, the drawer should then slide freely and close to a position that’s recessed ¾-inch into the cabinet to account for the thickness of the drawer face.

Step 9


Drill pocket holes along one long edge of each tilt-out bottom board. Using the cut list in the downloadable plan above, cut the faces of each tilt-out bin and the drawer face. (For this part, we used a ¾”x2’x4’ walnut-veneer project panel.) Apply wood glue to the edge of the bottom piece, and then secure it to the back of the tilt-out face board with 1¼-inch pocket hole screws as shown. Repeat on the second bin.

Step 10


To strengthen the connection, secure the “sides” of the tilt-out bins using pocket holes, wood-glue and 1¼-inch pocket hole screws. The mitered end of each “side” board should set flush with the top edge of the bin’s bottom board, and fall short of the height of the bin’s face.

Step 11


Drill two pocket holes in the ends of each plywood divider. Position the divider centered on the top edge of the tilt-out sides with its pocket holes facing the back. Secure a divider inside each tilt-out bin with wood glue and 1¼-inch pocket hole screws.

Step 12


Using a drill/driver, secure a door hinge 1½-inches from the inside edge of the lower shelf and bottom of the cabinet box as shown.

Step 13


Position the tilt-out bin in place so that it’s centered in the opening and the face sets flush with the knuckle of the hinge. Secure the hinge to the bottom edge of the tilt-out bin face as shown. (Tip: I used scrap blocks to hold the bin elevated and in position during installation.)

Step 14


Press the tilt-out bin from the open back (or apply a temporary “handle” made from tape). Tilt-the bin in and out of the opening to check its positioning. Repeat to install the second bin.

Step 15


On the bottom of the cabinet box, position the angled leg brackets flush with the ends of the cabinet bottom, with their taper sloping outward. Recess the front two brackets back ¾-inch, and position the back two brackets flush with the back edge of the cabinet bottom. Install the brackets using a drill/driver and 5/8-inch screws. Thread the hanger bolt on the legs into the opening on each mounting bracket to secure the legs in place. (As noted above, we cut the metal foot off 7½” tapered legs with a hand saw to create a blunt look.)

Step 16


Position the drawer front against the drawer centered on the height and width of the opening, creating an even 1/16-inch gap on all sides. Push the back of the drawer forward to access the inside of the drawer. Clamp the drawer front in place. Secure the drawer face by driving 1-inch screws through the inside of the drawer box and into the backside of the drawer face. Mark and drill hardware holes in the front of the drawer face and tilt-out bins, and then mount the knobs or pulls as desired (not shown).

Step 17


Using a drill and 5/8-inch screws, attach a chain to the inside of the side wall of the cabinet, just below each shelf. Tilt each bin outward until the entire bin is accessible. Stretch the chain to the front face of each bin. Mark and shorten each chain. Secure the end of each chain to the inside of the bin’s face, as shown. Lastly, finish the dresser with paint or stain and a protective finish. Once in place, be sure to secure it to the wall with furniture safety straps, as the large tilt-out bins can make the shallow piece front-heavy.

Jenn Largesse
Jenn Largesse is the editor and creator of House One. As the daughter of a carpenter and an english teacher, she has been honing her love for woodworking and writing her entire life. After nearly a decade as a writer and producer for This Old House, she bought her first home in rural New England and launched her blog, Build Basic.

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