How to Make a Shoe Shine Box

A shoe shining kit is a must-have for any man who always seems to be running late. This box makes it easy and stylish, with the option of adding your own personal touch!

A “shoe shine box” is a wooden box that has a hole in the bottom, and it is used to polish shoes. You can make one by cutting out two pieces of wood with a hole in the middle. The top piece should be smaller than the bottom piece. After making the holes, you need to put glue on both pieces and then screw them together. Read more in detail here: how to make a wooden shoe shine box.

Vintage homemade shoe shine box illustration.

Over the years, we’ve discussed the masculine ritual of a good shoe polish a few times here at the Art of Manliness. I’ve been storing my own shoe shine products in a box I received for Christmas a few years ago. Although it’s a great box, I’ve always wanted to create one with my own hands. Then, a few months back, I was thumbing through some old Popular Mechanics magazines when I came across a neat shoe shine box design in a 1950 edition.

It’s a straightforward design. You have a space to put your brushes and polish cans, as well as a spot to rest your foot when polishing your shoes. The two free-turning dowels within the box are what make this design so useful. The dowels function as rollers for your polish cloth when buffing your shoes to a mirror finish after you’ve given them a thorough polishing. Here’s how it works:


This is a really simple and low-cost project. It just takes an hour to make, but you’ll have a one-of-a-kind, strong tiny box that will last a lifetime.

The Style

The modified Popular Mechanics design I used to build my shoe shine box is as follows:

Vintage diagram of shoe shine box illustration.

To see a bigger version of this photograph, please click here.

Vintage diagram of shoe shine box illustration.

This SolidWorks picture was provided by AoM reader Robert Heffern. To expand, click on the image.

Requirements for Materials and Tools


  • (1) 3/4′′ x 8′′ x 8′ board (I used a $11 cedar board from Home Depot). I was able to create two boxes from one piece of wood. Whitewood may be used to make a box that is even less expensive.)
  • 1 wooden dowel, 5/8″
  • a total of 18 #6 1-1/4′′ wood screws


  • Saw (I made use of my table saw.) A miter saw may also be used. This job may potentially be completed with a handsaw.)
  • Drilling power
  • Using a bandsaw or a coping saw
  • Bore bit 11/16′′
  • Compass
  • Tape measure

Wood Measurement and Cutting

Vintage board cutting pieces for shoe shine box illustration.

This is the board from which I’ll be cutting my parts. I chopped a 3/4′′ x 8′′ x 8′ board in half to make it. While the board is described as being 8 inches wide, it is only 7 1/4 inches wide.

Vintage measuring and marking all cuts illustration.

All of my cuts were measured and noted at the same time. To make things easier, I utilized the whole width of the board (7 1/4′′) for most of my components.

The dimensions you’ll need are as follows:

  • (1) 8 1/2′′ x 7 1/4′′ (this will be your bottom piece)
  • 2 × 5 5/8′′ x 7 1/4′′ (these will be your end pieces)
  • 2 x 3 1/2′′ x 8 1/2′′ (these will be your side pieces)
  • (1) 2 3/4′′ x 8 1/2′′ x 2 3/4′′ x 2 3/4′′ x 2 3/4′′ (this will be your top)
  • (2) dowels, 5/8′′ x 7 7/8′′

Vintage cutting wood with saw illustration.

Use your saw to cut the wood.

Vintage all the pieces for the box illustration.

All of the box’s components

Bore Holes and Mark Arcs

Vintage marking the arcs, grab a compass and set the point and the pencil.

We’ll cut two 2′′ broad circles into the upper corners of the end pieces. Grab a compass and position the point and pencil 2 inches apart to mark the arcs. Trace out your arc using the point in the corner.

Vintage marking bore holes marking and measurements for the arcs and bore holes.

Make a mark where your dowel bore holes will be. They should be 3 5/8′′ from the bottom and 1 15/16′′ from the sides. The markings and dimensions for the arcs and drill holes may be seen above.


Cut Arcs

Vintage using band saw to cutting the arcs out.

The arcs were carved out using my band saw.

Vintage two end pieces with the arcs cut out from the corners.

The arcs carved out from the corners of the two end pieces are seen here.

Dowels Boring Holes

Vintage boring the holes for the dowels.

It’s time to start boring holes for the dowels. Get your 11/16′′ wood bore bit out of the drawer.

Vintage boring the holes for the dowels illustration.

You don’t want to pierce the wood completely. 3/8′′ deep is a good starting point.

Pieces are screwed together (and Insert Dowels)

Vintage drilling pilot holes before screwing in the screws.

It’s now time to fasten all of the components together. Before putting in the screws, I suggest drilling pilot holes. Also, avoid using too much force with your drill to avoid splitting the wood. Begin by screwing the two bottom sections together.

Vintage three screws on each end of the bottom piece.

Three screws, one on each end of the bottom piece, should enough.

Vintage two end pieces screwed to the bottom piece.

The bottom piece was fastened to the two end parts.

Vintage screw the two side pieces to the two end pieces.

Attach the two end pieces to the two side pieces using screws. Each corner has one screw.

Vintage putting dowels in at this point drilling the end pieces to the bottom piece.

At this stage, I insert my dowels. Getting them into their holes required some effort. This is something I should have done earlier, like when I was drilling the end pieces into the bottom piece.

Vintage secure the foot rest on top with four screws in each corner.

Four screws in each corner secure the foot rest on top. With this handy shoe shine box, we’re almost done. There’s no need to be concerned if some areas seem to be unequal. A little sanding will take care of it.


Vintage entire box sanding illustration.

Using a sander, sand the whole box. Spend effort repairing joints that seem to be crooked. You are welcome to stain it. I like the unpainted appearance, so I skipped the stain.

Enjoy Your Shoe Shine Box That You Made Yourself

Vintage homemade Shoe Shine Box illustration.



The “shoe shine box dimensions” is a simple project that can be used for many different purposes. It is also very easy to make and doesn’t require any tools or materials. This craft will make your shoes look brand new again in no time.

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