DIYdiy projects

DIY Ladder Shelf Shoe Storage

by Francesca Stone

DIY Ladder Shelf

We’re all living such busy lives — rushing around, trying to find extra pockets of time to become more and more productive. One of the methods I use in an effort to save myself time and hopefully get jobs done quicker is keeping everything where I need it. It’s as simple as keeping pencils on my desk, makeup by the mirror and shoes close to the door, not hidden away in a closet somewhere.

Although this is a great system for shaving valuable minutes off the time it takes to carry out everyday tasks, it does mean that unless I take care to plan storage solutions creatively, we can end up in a mess. Storage needs to be both functional for its everyday use and beautiful to allow it to be placed in an optimum position.

I love the raw appeal of pine. It’s also a fantastically quick and easy material to work with using household tools. I had the pieces pre-cut (to the specifications listed in the materials list) by my local DIY store, making this DIY even faster to put together. Perfect for saving a little extra time. —Fran

DIY Ladder Shelf

DIY Ladder Shelf


  • Pine wood:  2 – 47″ x 6″, 2 – 18″ x 8″, 1 – 18″ x 7″, 1 – 18″ x 5″
  • Sanding block with sandpaper
  • Drill and wood drill bit
  • Wood screws
  • Saw
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Glue gun and screw caps (optional)

Step 1: Cut the angled edges.

To create the ladder effect, the shelf needs to lean back slightly. I created a cardboard template to ensure all my angles were perfectly aligned.

To make your template, measure a piece of card 6 1/2″ long. Then measure 1 1/2″ high and, using a ruler, draw a line from this point to the corner on the opposite side of the card. Cut along this line and you will be left with a wedge-shaped piece of card.

Take the template and line it up against the end of the two longer pieces of wood with the corners meeting. Draw along this line.

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Do the same at the other end of the wood, turning the template so that the thinner end of the wedge is at the opposite corner. Using the saw, cut along both of these lines.

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Step 2: Find what will be the back of your shelf along the longer lengths of wood. The back will make up the corner with the wider angle. Mark this in pencil so you don’t get confused later on. Measure along the back of the panel, marking off every 9″ until you have four points.

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Step 3: At each one of these points line the template up so that the smallest edge is flush with the opposite side of the wood. Mark along the angled edge of the cardboard. This should be parallel with the angle at the end of the plank.

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Step 4: Measure and mark 2 small crosses along each of these lines, both 2″ in from either side of the wood.

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Step 5: Take the second long length of wood and turn it over onto the opposite side. Repeat steps 2 – 5 so that the markings make a chevron shape repeating along the lengths of wood.

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Step 6: Drill holes all the way through the wood at every cross.

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Step 7: Turn the first of these longer lengths of wood so that the front is flat against the surface you are using. Take one of the 18″ x 8″ shelf pieces and line it up along the pencil mark you made earlier.

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Step 8: Screw in two of the wood screws through the pre-drilled holes and into the shelf to hold in place. My electric drill has a low setting for screws, but you can do this with a screwdriver if that is easier for you.

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Step 9: Repeat this last step screwing each shelf into place along the longer length of wood in ascending size order. Once all the shelves are secure, line up the second longer piece and attach with the screws.

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Step 10: If you want you can cover the screw heads with caps. I actually preferred the look of the metal against the pine, but this is entirely up to you. If you are worried about scratches or slips you can glue rubber onto the bottom of the shelf to make it more secure. Again, this is an optional extra. I haven’t added this step and my shelf stands very securely!

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  • AHHHH this looks so beautiful, but I have absolutely no talent for building things – even IKEA is a challenge for me. I’ll have to set my man to it :P !!

  • Nice tutorial–clever use of vertical space. That hanging plant holder is really great, too.

  • My girlfriend would like this. Her room is pretty small and ladder shoe shelf would be a nice fit. I’ll make one for her. Thank you

  • Wow, this is truly beautiful (that plant hanger too!) Even though I do have two left hands I will try to make this. I’ve got very annoying old pipes in my flat that make it impossible to have a normal shoe rack and the place I want to have one. This is a great idea to just ignore them. :)

    Could you maybe post the measurements in cm as well, for all the metric-system using international readers around here? :3

  • I love this DIY too, thanks for sharing! I also love the hanging planter too though! Is it literally four bits of wood with the lip of the flower-pot sitting on the wood? All that raw wood is so pleasing

  • Seems like you could just buy an inexpensive wooden step ladder (hopefully they still sell those… Home Depot?) and cut it down. Little more expensive, but easier.

  • Does the ladder stay in place and upright well? Thinking of making this for our apartment but the spot would be below a coat rack and behind a door so it may see some abuse :)

  • Love this tutorial, but I have a question – why make the shelf depth get smaller? Can I do it keeping them all the same size? Thanks!