Not Martha

to make: shoe rack

I love the j-me shoe rack:

(picture from the DWR catalog)

(picture from gnr8)

I love that it floats off the floor, I love that it doesn’t take up much space when no shoes are present, I love that it was the perfect shoe solution to my very cramped back entryway. So, I nearly cried when I found out it was about 5 inches too long to fit into said very cramped back entryway.

I set out to wander around a very large hardware store and find something that I could use in the same fashion. I had grand ideas about repurposing ductwork pipes or gutters or something meant for plumbing. I predictably didn’t find anything that would work. So I went with Plan B: wood. We basically built shelves, narrower ones above wider ones, to work like this:

We bought poplar boards from the trims aisle of Home Depot. We chose boards 1/2 inch thick and 6 inches wide (1/2x6x3) for wide lower shelves and 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches wide (1/2x3x3) narrow top shelves. We cut the wood to size (in our case 22 inches) with the handsaw in the store.

We also bought large and small L-brackets to attach the wood to our walls and appropriate hardware: short screws to attach the brackets to the wood planks (.5 inch), longer screws and plastic drywall anchors to attach the brackets to the walls. I think we used 1.5-inch #6 screws for the walls and white #6-#8 drywall anchors.

Cameraphone spy pictures from the store:

We decided to stain the wood and went with a dark expresso finish, we used two coats. We sealed it with a polyurethane clear semi-gloss. Waiting for the weather to be dry enough to stain the wood was the longest part of this project. You could just as easily use white trim, or simply paint the wood for this project.

Tangent: I had never used stain before and this turned out to be a good learning project for stain, the importance of sanding between each step became really apparent when we put on the polyurethane and all the bits of rough wood created tiny bubbles on the surface.

I was considering painting the planks with a colored paint, and if I had done that I might have painted the wall between the top and bottom shelf set the same color to create a visual whole for each set. Also, if the shoe racks were painted a darker color than the wall, it might be easier to disguise the inevitable scuff marks the toes of the shoes will leave on the wall.

Here is the smaller L-bracket attached to the smaller 3-inch-wide board:

We attached the bracket to the boards first, then used them to mark the walls for where to drill. We used the plastic sleeve type drywall anchors so we pre-drilled the holes, pounded those in (gosh this is starting to sound dirty), then screwed (see?) the shelves into place.

We determined there needed to be 2 inches between the planks for optimum shoe holdage. Happily, the smaller bracket was 2 inches so we were able to use that as a guide.

And that’s it. We have something that doesn’t look too strange, doesn’t take up a lot of space, keeps shoes up off the floor and doesn’t visually encroach on the space.

What I would have done differently: I would have spaced the pairs of shelves closer together. We left 5 1/2 inches between them. When we’re standing in our tight back hallway the shoes seem well spaced from the angle you can see them at, but the pairs of shelves could be closer together, say 3 inches, and leave plenty of room for the height of the shoes themselves. If I could do it over I also would have gone ahead and made a third set of shelves, having shoes tidily stored at the door has proven very nice.


After, empty:

After, with shoes (we painted the doors between that picture above and this picture below):

I could see this as a solution for storing shoes in a shallow closet, but I wouldn’t store good leather shoes in this way for any amount of time, I’m sure the weight of the shoe where the toe presses on the narrow top shelf would create an unfortunate crease. But for the shoes we use everyday it’s just fine.

Conclusion: While we came nowhere near the low profile of the j-me shoe rack, we created something that works better for our purposes and for our small space than anything we could find in a shop. We’re pretty darn happy.


187 responses so far ↓

  • 1 erika // Jun 12, 2007 at 9:37 am

    I love this!

  • 2 nazilam // Jun 12, 2007 at 9:39 am

    I love this too, but can see not working in a house with a dog who enjoys running off with shoes.

  • 3 megan // Jun 12, 2007 at 9:45 am


    Nazilam – Very good point.

  • 4 Jennie // Jun 12, 2007 at 9:52 am

    This is brilliant!

    And just when my exasperation with our shoe piles in the coat closet is reaching critical mass…

  • 5 eh // Jun 12, 2007 at 9:55 am

    good job. the original one was $90-100! for a little piece of metal. what crooks.

  • 6 Tara Kane // Jun 12, 2007 at 9:58 am

    how well does this idea work with heels and other dressy shoes?

  • 7 megan // Jun 12, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Eh – I disagree, I love how simple and well made the j-me rack is. In my opinion it’s worth the price for the look of it. I would have bought one or more of those if they could have fit in my corner. Besides, after the wood, hardware, stain and time involved the cost of my shoe rack was not insignificant.

    Tara – I would be afraid of denting or scuffing the toes on good shoes. This is really for those shoes you throw on to go to the grocery store.

  • 8 radmama // Jun 12, 2007 at 11:01 am

    This is a great idea! My 8 year old has Imelda Marcos tendencies, so even with a mud room to store most shoes and some in our closets, there are several pairs to store by the front door.

    We;re totally doing this! As it will be inside a shallow closet, we might not bother with stain/paint.

  • 9 Monique // Jun 12, 2007 at 11:18 am

    This is really neat. I love all the stuff you make and do for your home.

  • 10 Melissa // Jun 12, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Great DIY solution! It turned out great.

  • 11 Amber // Jun 12, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Anyone have any thoughts on how I might make this work for toddler sized shoes? I don’t have to many shoes but my 2 daughter have TONS!!

  • 12 lsaspacey // Jun 12, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    I prefer your real wood version versus the steel that reminds me of aluminum rain gutters. Honestly, that was my first thought! :) Great Job!

  • 13 Alissa // Jun 12, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    this is pure genius. thank you!

  • 14 Jensie // Jun 12, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    This is so amazing! I’m stunned and love it – I’m heading to the store after work!

  • 15 megan // Jun 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks everyone.

    Amber – I’m not sure if you could rig it up much smaller. How about something like this: coat hook shoe rack at Apartment Therapy.

  • 16 Kath // Jun 12, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    So creative!

    And I LOVE LOVE LOVE those green shoes! What kind are they?

  • 17 megan // Jun 12, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Kath – They are Solo Tie shoes by Ecco. I bought them a few years back and they only seem to have pink left. I keep hoping they will come out with more since a darker color would be great, they are very very comfortable.

  • 18 aloe // Jun 13, 2007 at 3:32 am

    I have to admit, I like your shoe rack– very clean & modern, but, since I have four million pairs of kids shoes to store I’m off to buy a cheap coat rack–

  • 19 Jade // Jun 13, 2007 at 3:48 am

    I def love yours WAY better that the orignal. I bet that if you did the whole cut and packaging thing you could make a couple of pennies selling the kit.

  • 20 Jo Tolond // Jun 13, 2007 at 4:41 am


    I love this! :) I’ve just bought a house and this is the perfect solution for me. Also I think this is a fab website, keep up the good work.

  • 21 McAuliflower // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Ooo I’m imagining a wall full of shoes with these shelves climbing up to the ceiling…

    great project!

  • 22 Serena // Jun 13, 2007 at 9:50 am

    That looks great! Megan, what green did you use on your doors? It’s LOVELY!

  • 23 megan // Jun 13, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Jade – Oh no chance I’m going into the kit business :)

    Jo – Thanks.

    McAuliflower – If you have room you might also want to consider something like what Laura from Project Runway had – see this picture. It’s simply Elfa shelves holding shoes, it would be far fewer holes in your wall!

    Serena – It’s a copy of a color by Yolo Colorhouse called Petal.02. You can read about the drama around it at this post (includes links to the paint companies).

  • 24 Rita // Jun 13, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Love it!

    BTW, even your shoes coordinate with your decor. Amazing!

  • 25 Juice // Jun 13, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Does this shoe rack work for sandals? What about soft slippers?

  • 26 megan // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Rita – I normally don’t keep the green shoes out there, but I couldn’t resist getting them in the pictures.

    Juice – My flip flops hang down at an angle, and anything that has a soft sole might not stay in place.

  • 27 Marianne // Jun 14, 2007 at 7:48 am

    what a simply superb idea! I will doffo be using this site for some clearly simple advice when we move shortly, to our own place yay!!!

  • 28 mia // Jun 15, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration! This is a good-looking solution to the shoe clutter in my closet. I am going to test it out with applying foam to the underside of the wood (like maybe the thick craft foam?) to protect from scuffing. I’ll let you know how it turns out. :)

  • 29 Dennis // Jun 18, 2007 at 5:44 am

    GREAT IDEA!!!!! Thanks for sharing your ingenuity with this space saving idea. Keep up the greaat ides

  • 30 cooljames // Jun 18, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    If you’re fearing the effect on your shoes, stick a stretch of felt under the toe-piece.

  • 31 patooti // Jun 19, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Great idea. To tidy it up a bit, I’d suggest inverting the bottom shelf hanger so that the top shelf bracket and the bottom shelf bracket are in-between the two shelves (in front of the toes of the shoes. Then use a trim board (length x 1/2″ x 2″) to hide the brackets. Winds up looking like a wooden “U” sticking out of the wall.
    Also, I think Ikea has some nice kitchen wall shelves that use nice looking brackets and can be trimmed down to size. Might spare you the staining and urethaning steps.

  • 32 megan // Jun 19, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Patooi – Thanks. I considered the bracket arrangement you are describing however the length of the bottom bracket came into conflict as well as that the brackets are not completely clean 90 degree folds — the brackets are curved a bit at the fold to provide strength. I would have had to mount the lower shelf slightly away from the wall to accommodate this curved bit. Additionally, to accommodate the thickness of the larger bracket sticking up beyond the top shelf I would have to mount the top shelf on it’s bracket about 1/6th of an inch away from the wall. All of this would have been tricky and not as strong. I don’t think adding something to hide the hardware sticking up from behind the top shelf would look clean no matter how how you arranged it. Besides which, when shoes are in the rack none of the hardware is visible when you view it from eye level (some of the pictures were taken lower).

    I really only undertook the staining of the wood because I wanted to try it, I had never done it before, and because I wanted a specific color of wood. Otherwise I wold have probably used white trim from the hardware store or I would have sought out other shelves. But honestly after weeks of considering materials and traveling out to various shops, finding the shape of wood I wanted as well as the ability to cut it to size right there helped make my decision.

  • 33 TootsNYC // Jun 20, 2007 at 5:11 am

    What I hate most about having the shoes on the floor is that it’s a pain to clean *under* them. This solution fixes that

    If someone wanted to eliminate the rough ends of the boards, they can sand, or they can get iron-on veneer strips (and there’s a $12 trimmer if you need it bcs the veneer strip is too wide, though careful work w/ a razor blade is probably fine too (and certainly cheaper).

    I love the iron-on veneer strips bcs they let you use plywood, when you have something big going on.

    You can paint the metal brackets, if you want to–I did on a shelf project. It’s easiest to spray-paint them w/ the metal primer BEFORE you attach them to the board. Then, just paint them whatever color you need, either before or after you put them on the board. I painted the section of the bracket that was on the shelves one color, and used the wall color for the section of the bracket that was on the wall.

    “Stain and varnish” combos are often the easiest way to finish wood, I think. You get the rich look of stain, but it’s not that much harder than paint, sometimes it’s easier.

  • 34 TootsNYC // Jun 20, 2007 at 5:13 am

    “we might not bother with stain/paint.”

    I suggest you paint–if only so that cleaning the shelf (in a few months) is easier. Dust will cling to raw wood, and the wood will snag the cloth when you go to wipe it.

  • 35 megan // Jun 20, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Toots – I should have specified, I would have gotten some trim that was already finished. There was a lot of melamine finished trim at the hardware store.

  • 36 Terry O'Leary // Jun 26, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Try gluing thick felt (in the same color as the shelf)to the underside of your top shelf to cushion your better shoes.

  • 37 Karma // Jun 27, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    What an ingenious idea! I have been shopping all over for a shoe rack that will work with the space I have and that is perfect, thank you!

    Nazilam- I have the same problem but with an infant who has a taste for his big sister’s shoes. My solution when I do this is going to be to install it higher up on the walls out of reach. If your dog is not too tall it may be the solution for you as well!

  • 38 QueenMum // Jun 29, 2007 at 11:27 am

    What a great idea, I’ve added it to my JKL, saved for a rainy day. thanks

  • 39 Matt Haughey // Jun 29, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    FYI: Make Magazine featured this

  • 40 Mark Lednor // Jul 1, 2007 at 11:53 am

    I think that it would look interesting if the shelves were made of clear acrylic, the shoes would appear to hang in mid-air.

  • 41 may k. // Jul 1, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    I am curious about what stain brand you used on the wood and how you applied it?

    I tried staining once and it was a ghastly experience for me as I hadn’t quite realized that there would be the odor and then I wasn’t sure of the safest way to dispose of the leftover.

    Did you use a brush or a rag? Any tips appreciated, as I just got an Ivar unit at Ikea and would like to try out staining again.

    TootsNYC, I guess you can also put those iron-on strips all over a board? Or do they only come in relatively thin sizes?

    May K.

  • 42 bob // Jul 1, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    The j-me shoe rack; with those prices it should be more like the f-me shoe rack!!! The wooden rack is a nice low price alternative.

  • 43 Aeni // Jul 1, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    This is a great idea for drying shoes too.

  • 44 Andrew // Jul 1, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Consider putting a strip of felt on the bottom side of the “toe holder”. This would protect more delicate shoes from getting scuffed and if you use a thick felt, you’d protect creases and dents.

  • 45 megan // Jul 1, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks for the notice Matt!

    Mark – You’re the second person to suggest that (Ahn-Minh did as well). I wonder how hard it would be to have it made?

    Bob – I disagree. I think the j-me shoe rack is nicely engineered, smooth and far easier to install than my clunky alternative. I would have happily bought them if they had fit into the space in my corner.

    May K – I’m no expert. I applied with a foam brush, and otherwise followed the directions on the label.

  • 46 Ablewise Free Classifieds // Jul 1, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    This look really nice. I think it can squeeze in small corners.

    Also, the underside of the holder can include some hooks/pockets to place socks. Socks are essential with sneakers but does not have the spot for them.

  • 47 carlos // Jul 2, 2007 at 6:29 am

    perfect, i’ll definitely “borrow” the idea…thx for the inspiration..

  • 48 RustyBadger // Jul 2, 2007 at 9:45 am

    If you used three boards instead of two, and simply built a U-shaped unit, you wouldn’t have to buy L-brackets, nor would they affect the aesthetics of the shelf. Simply drive screws through the back piece of board into the wall studs. Given the weight of the shoes that will be on it (for a short shelf like this), you will only need two 2-1/4″ screws to hold it up. Materials would be (for one shelf): 1 1×2; 1 1×3; 1 1×6, all cut to the same length; one-and-a-quarter inch #6 wood screws (you want thin screws so the wood doesn’t split, and if you have a drill with a 1/32″ bit, it would be good to pre-drill the holes for the screws); some 180-grit sandpaper; and whatever type of stain or paint you want. I still think this idea of Megan’s kicks all kinds of gluteous maximus on the metal version – but I’m a woodworker, so I admit to being biased!

  • 49 Larry // Jul 2, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    What about screwing a rain gutter to the wall?

  • 50 rzn // Jul 2, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    I love it. One idea – for those people who worry of crease on their shoes – buy one of those thick sponge strips, cut to size and glue right under the top shelf and you get crease free shoes.

  • 51 GailM // Jul 3, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    This shoe rack is such a terrific idea. I’m considering a narrow floor to ceiling version for my closet. I love all the ideas you come up with! You are one clever person!

  • 52 Mordin // Jul 9, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Out of curiosity, couldn’t you have just picked up some Tin-snips (Scissors that are for cutting metal) and trimmed off the extra 5 Inches off of those J-Me things so they would fit in your closet? Just thought I would mention it. :)

    I assume that the purpose of the post was more about doing the project and the DIY aspect, which I thought was cool (I am always coming up with excuses for doing projects that involve woodwork, it drives my wife crazy!). Anyway, good job on the shoe rack, very creative way to store them & looks nice too.

  • 53 megan // Jul 9, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Mordin – The j-me shoe rack is made of brushed stainless steel and I doubt I could get through it using snips. I didn’t consider buying power tools with strong enough blades to sheer through, and I doubt I would have gone that route anyhow as I don’t really have room to store something like that. Maybe I could have had a local metal shop trim them for me?

  • 54 bobby d // Jul 17, 2007 at 4:55 am

    melting snow from shoes on the top rack will drip on the inside of the shoes on the bottom rack

  • 55 megan // Jul 17, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Bobby D – It rarely snows where I live, and I would hope anybody would have the good sense to let the shoes melt and dry before putting them in there.

  • 56 James Pitzer // Jul 22, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Megan, thank you for such a great idea! I have been looking for a shoe rack solution for some time and have not had much luck. I came across this website yesterday and built 3 of them today! Rather than staining wood, I used tuffboard, witch is a white composite material made from wood and plastic I thought it may be easier to clean and, I am too impatient to wait for the stain to dry. I live in the pacific northwest and as you can imagine, the floors are always getting messed up because of the rain. I have a feeling life just got a little better with these.

  • 57 Evelyn Lum // Aug 1, 2007 at 11:43 am

    You are too creative! I actually like your shoe rack over the J-Me Shoe Rack. Wow!! I am impressed!!

  • 58 Michelle Baker // Aug 2, 2007 at 5:21 am

    Awesome idea!

    Hey, what paint did you use on those doors? I’m in love with that green!

  • 59 megan // Aug 2, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Michelle – I used a color from Yolo called Petal.02. Actually since Yolo only sells gallons I used a paint store recreation of Petal.02.

  • 60 amy // Aug 4, 2007 at 10:39 am

    just discovered you

  • 61 Christine // Sep 12, 2007 at 5:58 am

    LOVE this idea! I’ve had similar problems with shoe racks I’ve liked, but was never industrious enough to come up with a clever solution as you have!

  • 62 Ranjan // Sep 20, 2007 at 3:28 am

    I truly love this idea because it is truly to love. I also appreciates the brain behind this.

  • 63 Holly // Sep 30, 2007 at 6:34 am

    Why not slant the shelves at an angle so stress would be reduced on the toe? The wall end of the shelf could be cut similar to crown molding. I am painting the shelves & wall section the same dark color in a semi gloss or gloss to make for easy cleaning & low scuffs. I am hanging a full length mirror beside the shelves (in my closet) to provide an end point for the paint/shelves. Anyone see a problem with my idea? Thanks.

  • 64 cindy // Oct 29, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    I love this!!! So perfect for my teeny apartment!! off to home depot;)

  • 65 Niki // Nov 4, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Wow!! great site and full of cool stuff. LOVE the shoe rack and think I’ll make one for my cowboy boots…have too many pairs and I’ve been trying to think of a way to handle them. Nifty idea. Going back to look at your site now…..

  • 66 PJ // Nov 6, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Very Ingenious. I can’t wait to tell my GirlFriend. She has at least 80 shoes. (I’m just guessing) but she has the most shoes I’ve ever seen in a home. She needs an idea on how to put them out. I’ll share YOUR idea.
    Keep on creating :)

  • 67 SkiMom // Nov 27, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    This wonderful! What a great solution! And very user friendly.

  • 68 Silvia // Jan 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Great idea!
    Thanks :D
    Kissies for you.

  • 69 Liz // Jan 11, 2008 at 10:44 am

    For the handy person who wants a DIY floating shoe rack alternative to this wood one, I found this at

    Step by step how to make an inexpensive wire floating shoe rack using a Closet Maid shelf. Not sure what sizes of CM shelves are available. The semi-acrobatics involved are intriguing as well. ;)

  • 70 Liz // Jan 11, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Oh, and there’s this one there as well:

  • 71 Lilian // Jan 11, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    I just LOVED your site and the ideas posted on it!

  • 72 Kathy // Jan 19, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Great job!

    It cracked me up to read that you headed to Home Depot to “prowl” the aisles!
    I am forever seeing things in stores that are simply priced out of reach – so off *I* go to Home Depot or Lowes to find my own way.

    (My favorite project to date was what my neighbor refers to as “The World’s Largest Hide-a-Key”. Right outside my front door in the middle of my flowerbed is a big ol’ bright green monolith owned by the local cable company. I could not plant anything close enough to it to disquise it and its very existance annoyed me every time I returned home and walked past as it mocked me. Then one day I was reading an Improvements catalog and saw a Super-size lightweight rock (

    I was at Home Depot in record time and returned with everything I needed to “build” a paper mache rock, coated with exterior stucco and sponge-painted to resemble granite. I sealed it with an exterior varnish and it has held up very well for 6 years now.

    One of my friends came to visit one time and told me that she had difficulty remembering which condo was mine. So she just wslked around the complex, kicking the landscape rocks (gently) until she found the one that was MINE.

    Too much fun!

  • 73 Alan // Feb 18, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Would there be much problem from the shoes in the top rack dripping onto the shoes below?

  • 74 Kelly // Feb 24, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Brilliant reverse engineering. Now I want one.

  • 75 Jessica // Mar 1, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Very cool project! I love the gree paint on your wall! Can you tell me what it is?

  • 76 melina // Mar 4, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    you could also add some foam or something couchy on the top piece of wood to protect shoes and it might help with denting…

  • 77 jamie // Mar 8, 2008 at 8:27 am

    its jamie from j-me, designer of the real stainless steel version, a future design classic! although i understand and respect the process of making a bespoke cheap version, it remains exactly that. the j-me shoe rack is timeless, elegant, solves a problem and is a great talking point. for those interested in buying a real one i am happy to offer a 15% discount. type in the word BOOM in our copoun code on the website

  • 78 // Mar 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Genius! You should show this off more often!

  • 79 Imhappy // Mar 20, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I just have to say, I am JEALOUS. When we built our house 2 yrs ago, someone suggested we build a mud room, but we didn’t.

    Also, where our entrance is from our garage, there is zero wall space, there are stairs and a nook.

    I wish I could put this somewhere, I am thinking to make my side wall in the garage a little tidier (A LOT) tidier with this great idea.

    If you come up with any other great ideas like this one for the home, I sure hope you post it on this site.

    I saved this site as a favorite, I am going to send it to friends!!

    Thanks for sharing.
    God Bless You.

  • 80 Jason // Mar 28, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Has anyone else tried to make this yet? I think the dimensions are all a little too small for me (6′ tall with size 13 shoes), and was wondering what sizes worked for others… as I don’t want to put it up and have my shoes not fit or stay up!


  • 81 Sliu // Apr 13, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Great idea! But as someone has already mentioned, this would not work in my house since my dog would steal the shoes off the rack for a snack. :) Perhaps I could add it to the closet.

    Good work!

  • 82 karen // Apr 14, 2008 at 4:53 am

    What about storage for flip flops? I live in the South and that is what we normally wear. Thanks

  • 83 chantal perreault // Apr 29, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I was looking for a shoe rack to put in the garage beside the door and voila! Brilliant. Thank you so much for explaining how you accomplished it. This weekends project.Sincerely Chantal

  • 84 Donna // May 8, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Why didn’t I think of this! I turned a narrow breezeway into a mudroom by bumping out 2′ into the garage. Built shelves with baskets, bench seating, a small closet, hooks, beadboard…the whole thing. I love it but I still have shoes all over the place. Instead of resigning to the fact that the people who live in my house are just slobs, I’ll try this one last idea – I think this will definately work. Thank you! Donna

  • 85 Jasi // May 16, 2008 at 5:55 am

    It’s a fantastic hack of a brilliant design. The high price of the original reflects the designer’s clever work and innovative idea. I will buy twenty when I can afford it, but for now it’s off to Home Depot for me.

  • 86 Matthew K // Jun 9, 2008 at 7:06 am

    I can see these ruining my sneakers. Not only denting the toe, but warping the bottom…

  • 87 megan // Jun 9, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Matthew – So far we haven’t seen it affecting the shoes we keep here, but no, it’s not a rack that would preserve good shoes or shoes that need to fit in a specific way. Keep in mind, at the door like this it’s less of a storage rack and more of a temporary stop.

  • 88 Toblerone @ Simple Mom // Jun 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    This is such a great idea! Thanks!

  • 89 Beds and Breakfast Dave // Jun 17, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    That’s a great idea. I’ve been racking my brains for several months wondering how we can deal with a pile of shoes on the floor in the bedroom – your idea definitely fits the bill. Many thanks

  • 90 Chic Muse » Blog Archive » Make your own shoe rack! // Jun 19, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    […] […]

  • 91 shashank // Jun 22, 2008 at 5:25 am

    one of the best and using very less space


  • 92 zach // Jun 25, 2008 at 9:48 am

    I found your design and decided it was almost perfect for my space. the only thing i changed was i put a piece of wood at the back to avoid scuffs on the wall.

  • 93 Paul B // Jul 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Interesting shoe rack. But am I missing something here?! Why not just build a shelf to put the shoes on? I don’t see the purpose or advantage of placing the toe of the shoe into a device that lets them hang there. I can mount several shelves to the wall just as easily. In fact even easier than someone that was going through all the trouble of trying to re-create the design with pieces of wood and L-brackets. Are you people the same people that spent millions of dollars designing a pen to write in zero gravity and the Russian’s used a pencil?

  • 94 megan // Jul 29, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Paul – Simply this, when the shoes are not present the rack itself takes up a lot less space. In this case we have more room to move around in the bit of hallway, and one is much less likely to bump into the corner of the shoe rack when going in a straight line from one door to the next. When shoes are present, bumping into the heel of a shoe is much less painful than bumping into the corner of a shelf.

    I think the original j-me rack was meant to be placed in a hallway, in which case you would definitely need to keep the amount of space it takes up to a minimum. And again with the pain from shoe vs. pain from rack consideration, it makes sense.

    As for putting up something to hold the shoes vertically, I can fit a lot more shoes into the same space if they are perched toe in, and it’s also really easy to grab them to take on and off.

  • 95 10 Crafty Questions with Megan Reardon - the Wonder Lady Behind Not Martha | CraftBoom! // Aug 22, 2008 at 2:31 am

    […] to unblock? I find something in my daily life that I would like a solution for but cannot buy. My shoe racks are an example of this. Not only did I end up with a solution for keeping shoes my tight little […]

  • 96 Shalum // Sep 24, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    So cool! I hope someday, I can use this! Thanks!

  • 97 Rahul // Oct 19, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Excellent post. Thanks for taking the effort to put all the details.

  • 98 Lilith // Oct 28, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Glue felt to the bottom of it and use socks in the shoes (More good storage.) and bye bye crease and scuff worries!

  • 99 Fred Sanford // Oct 29, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Great idea. Even got J-me to offer a discount.
    We have 4 people with way to many shoes so I’m going to re-create with space for about 30 pair.
    The change I suggest is using a two 1X2’s placed verticaly.
    The horizontal boards would be screwed to the vertical boards from the back of the vertical board. Similar to Zach #92 method of attaching a backer board.

    I’m taking this a step farther because I like playing with my dado blade. I’m notching the vertical boards half way thru. The horizontal boards will sit in the notches. Then I’ll layer the shelves 3 or 4 high.

    For the person with snow issues, we live in the snow belt. Put snowy shoes on the bottom shelf. When no open positions exist move a pair of dry shoes up.

    For the person with toddlers, they have thin shoes but they are also very short. They will just sit on the wider shelf if you can get them to put their shoes there. Mine just toss them any where.
    For the guy with size 13’s like me, measure the thickness of your shoe compared to a size 8 or 9. If your’s are thicker then change the distance between shelves to match.

    If you have enough flip flops to matter then create one with shelves closer together. Hang the top shorter shelf first. If the brackets from that top shelf hang to low it is OK. Put the bottom shelf over them.

    Felt is a great idea, quick and easy. Another thing that might help would be sanding the edge of the board to round it. A router does a good job also.

  • 100 Amber // Nov 16, 2008 at 9:39 am

    What color is the green paint on your doors? I love it!

  • 101 megan // Nov 16, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Amber – It’s called Petal.02 by Yolo Colorhouse. Actually, it’s a reproduction of that color since Yolo is (or at least was at the time) only sold by the gallon and we didn’t need that much. You can read more about it here.

  • 102 mat isaac // Nov 16, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Great project…and very thrifty idea..

  • 103 jasen // Nov 26, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    I like this idea! You can design/decorate it any way you see fit!

  • 104 claire // Dec 19, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Hello there
    you do have a wonderful idea! very clever.
    I was hoping i could offer a few tips as far as sanding goes! First of all, Staining is actually a very frustrating process, it brings out allllll the tiny little imperfections in the wood no matter what you do, especially covering a wood like poplar which occasionally has two tone grain, that being said! One very helpful tip is when you sand in between grits take a damp rag and wipe the board down, this raises the grain of the wood for a better sanding surface, because the sandpaper compresses the grain. That way you get a super smooth beeeeaaautiful surface for the stain!
    source- woodworking/furniture maker.

  • 105 Lori Anderson // Dec 24, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    So very cool! I just wish I didn’t have a husband who constantly barks his shins on every. single. solitary. thing in the room.

  • 106 clik212 // Dec 27, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    This is a brilliant hack. Thanks

  • 107 In A Mood // Jan 19, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    […] also found this shoe rack DIY at Not Martha and I think it would be great in the new condo in the closet – either going up the side wall or the […]

  • 108 Faye // Feb 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I love this idea, however my husband has size 16 shoe and i really doubt it would work for both of us, seeing as i have smaller feet… maybe i could do somethign similar with 3 layers, his on bottom, mine in middle and our sons on the top.. i think i will try it.

    if you cared to ‘hide’ the hardware underneath you could always buy thin strips of wood, like 1/4 or 1/8 in thick and 2 in tall. you could just glue it to the actually hardware with some epoxy so you wouldnt need screws. If you were that interested in covering it. unless you are 3 feet tall you probably wouldnt ever see it anyways.

    great post and great idea. i LOVE the door color as well. thanks for sharing it with AT

  • 109 Kate // Mar 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Paint chip please! I love the color you painted the doors-it is such a fresh, beautiful color, I must have it for my bedroom!

  • 110 Kate // Mar 11, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    oops! I didn’t read the whole thing! apologies

  • 111 Mestre Bonsai // Apr 10, 2009 at 5:48 am

    “…but I wouldn’t store good leather shoes in this way for any amount of time…”

    Easy… place a sponge (or any soft material) glued in the bottom of the top board

  • 112 Becky // Jun 21, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Fabulous idea im thinking contact paper to cover.

  • 113 DIY Decor ideas - Fresh Nest Design // Sep 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    […] DIY Shoe Rack- Not Martha […]

  • 114 Sherry // Sep 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    wonderful idea! I have larger shoes and don’t wear heals (so the tradional slanted racks don’t work. This is a great option.

  • 115 sue // Sep 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I think your version looks better than the “store bought” one! great idea, and with the air space around the shoes, if they’re wet they will dry nicely.

  • 116 Cindy Lee Bergersen // Oct 13, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I laughed out loud when I came upon site.Love Martha for her “daring-do” but she is the pen-ultimate dominatrix of DiY design…until you.Great idea,delivered in a user friendly way.Thanks

  • 117 Make your own J-Me shoerack | Bohemian Revolution // Oct 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

    […] the J-me shoerack was just a few inches too long to fit where she wanted to install it, so she made her own homemade version of the J-me shoerack in the size she wanted. And she created a great step-by-step tutorial for the rest of us, including some tips on: What I […]

  • 118 Basil R. Bhan // Oct 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    To accommodate leather (dress)shoes:
    -Increase distance between the upper/lower shelves by 3/8in. Now,
    -glue or staple carpeting remnants, cut to size, on under-side of upper shelf. This avoids toe scuffs.

  • 119 shel // Nov 3, 2009 at 7:20 am

    i love the design of your shelf i just wish there was someway of making hidden brackets… i know they sell them for floating shelves at ikea but i don’t think they sell them individually so you can use them for smaller spaces like yours… i think i might look and try stil… i like the metal one too which i think i might be able to make but for my decor right now i think a wood one would fit better.. great job you shoe rack

  • 120 Interview, shoes, and shoes. « Estar de moda // Nov 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    […] This is probably the most attractive shoe rack I’ve ever seen. […]

  • 121 Modern Shoe Rack « MySuperTheoryOfSuperEverything // Dec 12, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    […] December 13, 2009 by zahaios This idea isn’t mine.I saw originally this shoe rack design in Not Martha’s Blog. […]

  • 122 Kristin // Dec 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I made this shoe rack and it looks great. Thank you so much for the inspiration and instruction!

  • 123 Trend Tips · Cinderela organizada! // Dec 15, 2009 at 8:06 am

    […] se você fora uma pessoa prendada, pode fazer sua própria sapateira!! O Not Martha ensina […]

  • 124 Sidra // Jan 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Cool idea, but it seems like a lot of effort to hold six pairs of shoes!

  • 125 megan // Jan 25, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Sidra – I can see what you mean but I can assure you in the year or so that it’s been up it’s proven well worth it to have the ability to store shoes in the least bulky way possible.

  • 126 how to :: shoes in the corner | Indie-guest // Feb 24, 2010 at 5:24 am

    […] Not Martha (nella vita Megan) ha costruito quattro semplici mensolette a profondità diversa e in questa pagina spiega in breve come fare. ____________________________ you might also like  art shoes by […]

  • 127 Doug // Feb 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    This looks real easy to make yourself. We have our shoes all over the place. But just a couple of simple boards tacked to the wall solves the problem. I like how the bottom of the top shelf is used to hold the shoes in place on the bottom shelf.

  • 128 DIY shoe Rack // Mar 9, 2010 at 7:17 am

    […] [source] Tags: DIY, FURNITURE, shoe racks […]

  • 129 Top 10 Creative Ways to Store Your Stuff | SocialPWR // May 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    […] up one of many hanging/sliding shoe storage solutions, but we dig both the look and convenience of this DIY “floating” shoe rack. For a slight upgrade, This version goes one better, hiding the hanging hardware entirely out of […]

  • 130 Crimson Dynamo // May 30, 2010 at 5:53 am

    The wood is on Aisle 1 and the brackets are on Aisle 11, at the end, left side, bottom shelf… at least in MY store!

  • 131 Wendy // May 30, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I LOVE IT!

    All though I appreciate the design and quality of the J-Me rack, I think that Jamie’s post was completely unnecessary and out of line by saying that this is a “bespoke cheap version, it remains exactly that”.

    Has Jamie even looked through this site?

    The not-martha followers are those who appreciate the thought process and effort of fun and creative ways to do something that suits them.

    BTW… according to wiki… “bespoke describes a high degree of customisation, and involvement of the end-user, in the production of the good.”

    Who wants “one-size-fits-all” anyway? Okay, maybe for a hat…

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  • 132 This Caught Our Eye… | Just The Right Things // Jun 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    […] Gobs of shoes piled by your door? Here’s a DIY project that makes your shoes look like art. […]

  • 133 Frances // Jun 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    The f-me shoe rack?!?! LOL Bob!!!
    Great blog, great post. Bookmarked!

  • 134 מה לעשות עם כל הנעליים האלה « הא ודא // Jul 21, 2010 at 12:06 am

    […] היצירתי הזה נראה פשוט להשמה וידידותי למשתמש. בעצם אפשר לשים את זה […]

  • 135 HeelShields // Jul 31, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Love the shoe rack. Since I have full blown Imelda Marcos disease, this will work really well for keeping the everyday shoes out of the way making room for my beautiful heels.

  • 136 Platty // Nov 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Shoe rack is too cool. Very ingenious. I’m going to build one right away. Thanks so much for posting this.

  • 137 Best Computer Speakers Man // Nov 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Shoe rack is great idea and so easy even I could do it. I think I will.

  • 138 Andrea Pokorny // Nov 9, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Nifty indeed!

    I’ve added you to the Best of Everything over at I believe the community over there is going to love your site.

    Andrea Pokorny

  • 139 DIY: Shoe Rack » The Best of Everything // Nov 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

    […] to lay around, in the way and especially in the entry way. Megan has found a solution with a unique shoe rack. It can be used in tight spaces and help clear up the […]

  • 140 30 Unique Gift Ideas For Any Occasion | dwptrumgan33 // Nov 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    […] Wood Shoe Rack (Not Martha) […]

  • 141 Beth // Nov 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I made two 4 foot ones and I love them! Here is a picture of mine:

  • 142 30 Unique Gift Ideas For Any Occasion | My Blog // Dec 6, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    […] Wood Shoe Rack (N&#959t Martha) […]

  • 143 Cleave // Dec 9, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Not as fun as diy, but since the question was posed… The proper tool for trimming the j-me factory rack to size is a radial arm saw with cut off wheel. If you dont have a friend that will let you use theirs, the least expensive way to trim stainless (or any other metal) is an angle grinder with a cut off wheel. Less than $20 at Harbor Freight.

  • 144 megan // Dec 9, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Thank you Cleave! I live in a house with zero storage (mean it, none, we cannot even fit a microwave in the kitchen) so I’ve been pretty firmly anti stuff oriented. That said, should I ever have the space to use and store the tools I’ll, well, I was going to say I’d give cutting the shoe rack to size but at that point I’d probably have the space for the original shoe rack.

  • 145 Paired-Down DIY: Elegantly Simple Space-Saving Shoe Rack | Designs & Ideas on Dornob // Dec 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

    […] was the original j-me such a good idea? in the words of this crafty DIYer at NotMarsha: “I love that it floats off the floor, I love that it doesn’t take up much space when […]

  • 146 Rob O. // Dec 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Genius! I’m itching to try this solution for my wife’s abundant shoe collection.

    And like others, I immediately thought that of using a strip of felt on the underside of the top piece to avoid scuffing the toes of leather shoes.

  • 147 David // Dec 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Ingenious idea… I’m going to try this!!!

    but does it hold winter boots???

  • 148 megan // Dec 19, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    David – It probably does but I think the melting snow would eventually wreck the wood. I suspect you’d be better off with a boot tray.

  • 149 Top 10 Creative Ways To Store Your Stuff « shop 4u blog for shirts // Dec 21, 2010 at 3:07 am

    […] up one of many hanging/sliding shoe storage solutions, but we dig both the look and convenience of this DIY “floating” shoe rack. For a slight upgrade, This version goes one better, hiding the hanging hardware entirely out of […]

  • 150 Adele // Jan 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    What a great project. Clean and simple looking without taking up a lot of space.

  • 151 Patricia // Feb 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I love this!
    Good idea. Thank!

  • 152 All Hung Up: An Apartment Update | churn bklyn // Apr 8, 2011 at 4:17 am

    […] of sealant, but again I was at this stage of the project in October. I do know that I referred to Not Martha’s Shoe Rack project many times for advice/instructions on wood […]

  • 153 Lorraine Brecht // Apr 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    How about using galvanized steel rain gutter material? Isn’t that the right shape?? ;o)

  • 154 megan // Apr 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Lorraine – I hear you but go walk around the gutters and duct section of a hardware store and you’ll find the shapes are wrong. Gutters are much wider than I expected, it was the first thing I looked at when trying to find a good material to create this sort of rack.

  • 155 max // May 4, 2011 at 7:15 am

    great thing, but to be more baby-safe I’d add round corners

  • 156 Kim Steele // May 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Looks like I need to go out and get some shelving for my shoe collection! Thanks for the great tips!

  • 157 water removal // May 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

    very creative way to use your space. Love it!

  • 158 Tus zapatos colocados sin ocupar espacio | Decoración Hogar Ideas para Decorar el Hogar // Jun 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    […] Vía | The home rejuvenation blog Más información | not martha […]

  • 159 Holly@homestyletips // Jun 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I love this shoe shelf! It’s so simple and takes up a lot less space. Guess I’m heading to the store for my next project!

  • 160 ana // Jul 7, 2011 at 5:47 am

    OMG I just saw this j-me shoe rack and was wondering how to DIY. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I´m going to attempt this project this weekend!

  • 161 Regan // Jul 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I want to make these all the way to my ceiling. All I would see would be the brackets… Anyway to paint or an alternative to them?

  • 162 megan // Jul 19, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Regan – I’m afraid that is up to you. I have seen regular shelves used, the sort that fit into a tidy bracketing system. If you have the space that might be a better option for an entire wall of shoes.

  • 163 Jasmine Johnstone // Jul 25, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Fantastic idea! I have so many shoes, so suppose we need many of these shoe racks :-)

  • 164 S Club Mama // Aug 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    LOL this wouldn’t work for my husband’s shoes – size 18! But very cute otherwise.

  • 165 Lynn // Sep 12, 2011 at 9:28 am

    That is awesome!

  • 166 Anna // Oct 5, 2011 at 6:15 am

    This would work great for heels. <3 Great idea.

  • 167 hks // Nov 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    where did you find the small wall hanging coat rack?

  • 168 reverse cycle split system // Feb 18, 2012 at 2:50 am

    i have too many shoes to place it ..thanks it would be helpful to me to manage my shoes…

  • 169 David // Mar 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

    For non-marring your dress shoes try this:
    glue a layer of “Felt” to the bottom face of the upper ledge board.

  • 170 David // Mar 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Let’s simplify hardware & overall cost…
    You can pre-fab these with a 3rd piece of wood approx 1/2″ thk. for the wall side. Glue-n-screw the assembly into a rigid piece before mounting. Anchor to wall with (2) toggles or molly bolts in-lieu-of the 8 or so screws shown. A faster installation and neat w/o the galv. brackets.

  • 171 JODI // Mar 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    wouldnt it just be easier to do the bottom rack long enough for the whole shoe to sit on and not have to worry about the top one to hold the toe in?

  • 172 megan // Mar 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Jodi – I see what you’re saying but the corner between those two doors doesn’t allow for such a deep shoe rack without getting in the way of the pattern of walking back there. When the shoes are in the rack it’s true that I bump into them but it’s far more comfortable to bump into a shoe that can wiggle around than a stationary, hard edged shelf. I’m clumsy enough as it is. I realize it’s difficult to convey just how tight the space by the back door is but you’ll just have to trust me when I say I wouldn’t have gone to such detailed measures to find a solution when a few shelves or a premade shoe rack would have worked.

  • 173 JODI // Mar 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    lol, gotcha!

  • 174 Weekend Project: Make a floating shoe rack | SHOCM // Jun 29, 2012 at 4:46 am

    […] Shoe Rack [not martha via MAKE] […]

  • 175 Leave Your Shoes Behind - CAVDESIGN // Nov 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

    […] As a host, have a few pairs of stylish slippers you wear to set the example. Some beautiful Moroccan slippers are usually a good choice But what to do with your guests’ shoes? Have a shoe rack or some sort of shoe storage in the entry way and make space in it before they arrive.  This cool shoe rack is a floating one from gnr8: A DIY guide to making your own (more affordable) version is on Not Martha blog. […]

  • 176 Kylae J // Jun 28, 2013 at 9:35 am

    What a genius! This is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • 177 45 Design Ideas For Small Apartments // Nov 18, 2013 at 9:57 am

    […] DIY some clever built-ins like this wall shoe rack. Check out To Make: Shoe Rack on Not […]

  • 178 16 Genius Ways To Organize Your Closet // Jan 6, 2014 at 9:58 am

    […] How To Make A Floating Shoe Rack – Allow your shoes to simply float off the floor with this clever DIY rack. You can build it in the bottom of your closet and create some much-needed extra space! […]

  • 179 Smart Storage Hacks for a Shoeaholic | The Storage Blog // Mar 13, 2014 at 9:24 am

    […] how to install shelves, this task can be as easy as 1, 2, and 3. To create a shoe rack just like Not Martha's, all you'll need are two sets of ½ inch thick boards that are 6 inches and 3 inches wide, large […]

  • 180 Benedict Dela Cruz // Mar 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Where would be a good place to build this. I see you’ve placed it in a small area in between doors. Where would other good places?

  • 181 megan // Mar 27, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Beneedict – The back or side wall of a closet would be another good place to put this shoe rack, or perhaps the wall of a bedroom or dressing room if you’re lucky enough to have space for one.

  • 182 Spring DIY Projects | Atchley Insurance // Apr 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    […] still gives the same simple and modern effect as the original!  Check out the tutorial on her site: Modern Shoe Rack — View her tutorial on […]

  • 183 Creative shoe storage solution - The Sawdust Diaries // Apr 21, 2014 at 4:02 am

    […] have come up with some pretty creative storage solutions.  This shoe storage solution from Not Martha is no exception.  These floating shoe storage shelves are pure genius.  She’s got a full […]

  • 184 One can never have too many pairs of shoes.. | design eyes // May 4, 2014 at 3:31 am

    […] DIY shoe storage from not martha. Almost like a full blown shelf but saves a bit of space and is a little bit […]

  • 185 25 Of The World's Best Organizing Ideas // May 20, 2014 at 7:25 am

    […] 9. How To Make A Floating Shoe Rack – Allow your shoes to simply float off the floor with this clever DIY rack. You can build it in the bottom of your closet and create some much-needed extra space! […]

  • 186 Heidi // Dec 30, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Love this idea and I always come back to it when I look for ideas for our small entry way closet. My only question is practicality for winter cities… the inevitable boot drip to the shoes below. I have a loose idea how to avoid it but wonder if anyone else has tried it and can confirm if it’s really that awful or not with wet/snowy weather.

  • 187 Lloyd // Jan 1, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    The original J-me looks like a piece of roofing/siding material that is called j-channel. Has anyone tried going to a local metal roofing dealer and asking to have pieces made and cut to the size/color that they wanted? You might could get that done for only a small amount of money, if they would deal with you.

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