The Evolution of an Entryway Part 2 – DIY Hanging Shoe Racks

*Update* I’m linking this project up to today’s link party at Organize & Decorate Everything!

So you’ve seen the results of the first part of my entryway re-imagining.  But, there are a couple outstanding issues.

  1. There still isn’t space for shoe storage.  (And for the record, Dan is the one with the shoes-left-at-the-front-door issue!)
  2. There still isn’t really a good place to dump the day’s mail.  (I should say I do not advocate leaving your mail at the front door indefinitely.  I am intensely afraid of identity theft.)

Here’s what the other side of the entryway looks like.  It’s just a wall.  But here is the small space problem.  It’s a wall BEHIND A DOOR.  Our laundry machines and water heater (and minimal storage) are in a closet just to the left of the front door.  In fact, if you have both the front door and the laundry door open at the same time, they hit each other.

Don’t you love our dancing froggy door stop?  LOL.  We use him to keep the door slightly ajar so the kitties can get at their box🙂

So DILEMMA – I need shoe storage and a mail drop off point, but I have next to NO SPACE in which to do that.

Enter the Front-facing shelf.  The Savior of the Small Space Dweller.  Here’s how I crafted two hanging, front-facing shelves for shoes that fit BEHIND a door.  (Not to be confused with on the back of a door, which is also a useful place for storing things, but always looks untidy to me.)

Searching around the Internet, I was inspired by these two posts I found.

This one from Forma Design is custom made and slim.  Exactly what I needed.  Then, there’s this front-facing book shelf from Tutorial Adventures. 

So I let that roll around in my head a bit and decided on a few things.

  1. I did not want to rely on my shelves having perfect symmetry.  I am decent at measuring, but I am a craftswoman by no means.
  2. I want to conceal dirt.  The open shoe rack looks great, but I know ours would get dirty, scuffed and dusty.

Here’s how I proceeded.

I assembled my (initial) materials.  This was an organic process and (as usual) I forgot to buy a few things at the hardware store, so a One Day Project turned into a Two Day Project.  *le sigh*

Here’s what’s there:

  1. Four 3′ lengths of 4.5′ MDF baseboard
  2. Four 3′ lengths of 1.5′ MDF trim board
  3. Four blocks of 2×5.5×6 wood (This doesn’t have to be exact, I got this piece in the ‘cast-off’ bin at Kent and had them cut it.  What matters is they are all the same height and depth and that the depth is slightly more than your widest MDF baseboard.)
  4. Small wood screws (I bought 32)
  5. 4 1-inch L-brackets
  6. 8 2.5 inch L-brackets.  ALERT! This photo shows 4 of these… but… this project requires EIGHT of them.  I had to go back and buy four more the next day.
  7. 4 key-hole picture hangers

What else is needed but is not in the photo:

  1. Wood glue
  2. 4 flat head screws with matching wall plugs (I also had to go back to buy these.)
  3. Fabric
  4. Staple gun
  5. scissors
  6. tape measure
  7. level
  8. drill/screw driver
  9. Primer and a paint brush
  10. Glue Gun (optional)

Okay, so that list seems really long, but trust me, this project is relatively easy.

Step One: Prime the wood blocks and let them dry. You won’t have to do this (obviously) if you buy pre-primed pieces, but because I got mine in the discount bin, I had to prime them.  This is the most boring step of all.  Don’t be fussy.  Most of this will end up covered, it’s just to seal the wood and make sure it’s all uniform.

Step Two: Use the 2.5″ L-brackets to fix the 4.5″ MDF to the wood blocks.  Make sure it’s all flush along the side that will sit against the wall.  In my case, there was about 1″ of wood block hanging over.  You can use the wood glue here to help the process along.  You don’t even need the drill for this.  You can definitely screw these in by hand.

Step Three: Use the smaller L-brackets to fix the 1.5″ MDF to the front of the blocks.  I measured 1″ from the top of the board and 1″ from the front.  I could have used a level for this part – but meh.  I didn’t🙂

At this point, you could be almost done if you wanted.  It wouldn’t be unlike the first inspiration piece I posted from Forma Design.  But there are unsightly unfinished lines and frankly, I don’t feel like painting this.  Plus, I’m hoping to avoid scuffs and the like.  So where the inspiration project ends, mine keeps going!

Step Four: Confer with Munch over how to conceal unfinished lines!  (She’s plum outta ideas.)

Step Five: Fabric!! I did want to use my navy pinstripe fabric to recover the cushion Munch is lounging on, but instead, I’ve put it to a different use.  I measured how much I’d need to wrap my shoe rack in it.  I eyeballed the long “around” measurement, giving myself plenty of room for error and decided that and 8.5″ strip was enough to wrap around the front.  I realized this fabric is perfect for this because there is a bit of stretch to it.

Step Six: Flip the shoe rack onto the fabric so that it’s basically in the middle.  Then pull it taut around the front first.  Wrap the fabric around the 1.5″ trim piece and staple it in place with your staple gun.  Just put in a couple staples and leave it while you do the next few steps.

You can also see in this shot that I cut a small slit in the fabric at each end so that I wraps tightly around the side piece and the 1.5″ trim piece.  Just eyeball this, it’s not a big deal.

Step Seven: Pull the fabric taut around the edges and the bottom so that it’s flush from the front.  I folded down the top about an inch to expose the wood and to get rid of the raw cut edge.  I didn’t even iron it.  I just folded it down and stapled.  Staple as much as you need in order to get it straight.  Don’t be too fussy about how it looks at the bottom, though you may want to be a bit neater when stapling the backside of the 1.5″ piece, just because it will be the most visible once the piece is finished.

Step Seven b):  In order to be neat with that to 1.5″ piece, I actually pulled out the three staples I had in it and used my glue gun to pull it super tight and keep it neat.  My staple gun is just a standard one and the staples were all wonky on this piece (I think because the MDF is super hard).  If you have a better staple gun, than just add in more straight staples.  But, if you’re like me, call on the trusty glue gun to finish off the edge.🙂

Step Eight: Fix the key-hold hardware to the backs of each side piece.  Measure to make sure they are level with each other or else hanging it on the wall will be a big pain the A.

Step Nine: Lament that you don’t have enough supplies to complete the second shelf and that the rest of this fairly simple project will have to wait until tomorrow.  BLERG.  Because I didn’t buy flat head screws, I still tested out my first rack with some 10 pound picture hooks.  I really just wanted to make sure it was going to look half decent.  The screws will make it sit much more flush on the wall.  This, however, gave me a good picture!

Step Ten: Go back to the hardware store bright and early and do Steps One through Nine again to make the second rack.  Today Munch has handed over her consulting duties to Zuzu.

Step Eleven: Measure! Measure! Measure! Use your level and screw your flat head screws into the wall so they correspond with the keyhole hooks on the back of each rack.  This really is the most stable way to affix these to the wall.  Please don’t use picture hangers!  Also, try to find a stud in the wall to screw into.  I did, that’s why mine are not centered on the wall.  This works better for us though, because it allows more room for the laundry room door to swing open.  It all works out in the end!

Step Twelve: Stock them up with shoes and dress the space!  Complete!  Just to give you a sense of HOW SMALL THIS SPACE IS… I had to open the front door and take these photos from the corridor.  Not even kidding.

The print on the left is something we picked up at Value Village for $6 months and months ago.  We liked the colours.  I have no idea what language that is and therefore what it says.  But oh well.  The cat paintings were custom done for me about six years ago in Old Montreal.  I love that they are whimsical without being tacky.  Besides, they remind me of Montreal (a place I love) and my fur babies.

I was going to add in another front-facing shelf for the mail, until I realized the mail will fit well into the top shoe rack.  And because I don’t leave it there for long, this should work perfectly.

I now really want to find a new throw rug for this space – but that will come with time.

Entryway complete.  Now onto the rest of the house😛

I hope this inspires a DIYpassion in you!



Other Posts you Might Like: 

 Entryway Part 1    DIY cake/display plates

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