Introduction: Magnetic Periodic Table of Herbs and Spices

Picture of Magnetic Periodic Table of Herbs and Spices

I designed this magnetic spice rack after searching fruitlessly for a creative way to display all my spices. I loved the idea of a magnetic spice rack to go along with my magnetic knife rack, but store bought options were either too boring or too expensive. Then I found some test tube spice rack designs on this site. As an engineer and Alton Brown fan, I wanted to stick to the idea of cooking as chemistry. I used the idea in the comments on this page as inspiration for my final design. I took the commenter’s proposal of using taxonomy as a way of organizing spices and ran with it. After a few hours on Wikipedia, I decided to group the herbs and spices by Order and include the Family, Genus, Species, English names, and a made up symbol on each box. As for salt and pepper, they just had to be Hydrogen and Helium, right?

For the tines I used these 4oz clear top tins from Specialty Bottle. After using them for nearly a year I can tell you there aren't quite airtight and your spices will age if not used quickly. They also sell 3oz solid top twist tins, which I believe are more airtight, although also more expensive and you lose some of the aesthetics. As for the magnets, I found these 1/2x1/16" self-adhesive neodymium magnets are great. No messing with multiple, tiny magnets or mixing your own epoxy. The magnet is large enough to easily sit flat on a counter, but thin enough so if it does tip to one side nothing will spill out.

I had my design printed on vinyl at a local shop, and they applied it to some 403 magnetic stainless steel sheet metal I bought from I got the labels from and printed them myself. I made the frame with some moulding and spray paint from Home Depot, but you could also buy a frame from a craft store.

EDIT: WOW! I never expected to be featured on the Instructables homepage, let alone ThinkGeek's and "IFLS"'s Facebook page. Thanks to everyone who "liked" this project. Unfortunately, there is a patent on "magnetic spice racks" and I will not be able to sell this or start a Kickstarter because of the overwhelming patent licensing/legal fees. However, I will sell PDFs of the background through the link below. If you'd like a custom version of the background, let me know and I can make you one for a few dollars extra. The font I used for the labels is just Arial and the words are Garamond. There's obviously nothing to stop you from making your own version from scratch, but please honor my copyright of this specific design.

Thanks and enjoy!

Purchase the PDFPurchase the excel. No Instructables Pro account required. Note that in the plain white picture above, I've changes some of the spices in the blends area and the version for sale has these changes.


ata1anta (author)2016-04-11

Love this! Doesn't meet my needs so won't be building this (right now). But that doesn't mean I can say how great I think this is!

Janey44 (author)2015-12-05

I love it...awesome idea!

Yonatan24 (author)2015-09-15


Bits4Bots (author)2015-05-14

Cool :)

MerylH (author)2015-01-14

I was wondering what the measurements are for this?

SinginLow (author)MerylH2015-01-15

The original was 24" by 36". This is also the ratio used for the PDF.

elizruge (author)2014-01-22

I love it!!!

Joann1028 (author)2013-09-30

So love the PDF back up for sale or have you thought of selling it made? Interested! How do I find you if you are selling the prints of the table? Thanks.

SinginLow (author)Joann10282013-10-20

The PDF is now for sale. Just purchase at Gumroad and send to your local print shop! Note that I changed some of the spices in the blends area.

jovershiner (author)2013-05-17

This is amazing!!! To quote Futurama "Shut Up and Take My Money!!".
I really want to make one now, and hopefully with the wife's approval I can. Good luck on the Kickstarter and if I see you on there I'll throw a few your way. On a side note could you please upload the high res PDF again? I know I'm gonna design my own just because there are some spices I don't use and others I'd like to add, but it would be nice to have a clear version of yours for reference.

klerafukan (author)2013-05-17

Very nice work! How can you get the instructions (other than with a pro membership)?
Would pay you of course...

Helen Baq (author)2013-05-16

I really wish you'd leave the PDF available. While I would happily purchase a spice rack from you, I don't use some of those spices due to food sensitivities and other ones I use fresh. I would like to make my own so it's personalized to my own cooking needs. :/

ccapetillo (author)2013-05-16

I don't see why you took down the PDF. It's thanks o the attention you got from Instructables in the first place that's sending you on this path.

kelbrad10 (author)2013-05-16

How do I download the PDF that you sent to the print shop

tommac2808 (author)2013-05-16

This is awesome. I would seriously consider getting one if they are a good price.

mmcnama4 (author)2013-05-16

I understand the desire to monetize, but leave up the file(s) and info...

My case: if someone is going to DIY this, they'll do it regardless of your kickstarter or not (this isn't the type of KS project that too hard to do on your own). If they're like me, they'll want to see the detailed images/instructions and decide they rather help fund your KS campaign.

kinyras (author)2013-05-16

Took down the high res PDF? took me 30 minutes to do my own with photoshop. Changed the title typeface for Proforma as well.
I am also recycling the door of an old freezer.
Thanks for the idea.

Hestia Athena (author)2013-04-28

I would do the back up plan on the table. There are several places where you can buy the tins. It is worth it to spend the money if you really want it.
I just finished putting mine together, and made sure your "handle name" is on my chart. I kept the spice area the same, but changed the blends for my cooking and tasting arena.
It cost me about $200 to do the whole thing without having to make anything except designing the board myself, but definitely worth the money for someone who likes to cook. I even found a website where I can make the blends myself, courtesy of the spice area.
If you can contact me, singinglow, I would appreciate it. I would love to show you mine, and I have some money I want to send you since you gave me the idea.

Samantha_Maree (author)2013-04-27

I am happy to buy one as soon as they're ready! Please keep me updated, I'm absolutely in love with your idea!

sfolk (author)2013-02-19

You should try putting together a Kickstarter campaign. I'm sure it would sell really well there.

steffi.jeffreys (author)2013-02-18

Wow! This is brilliant. I want one... when do you start selling them?

Tracy_Marie (author)2013-02-17

You show it next to a toaster oven, so it's actually a nice, not too big size. Wonderful job. Sell them please. I'm crafty, but that's just too much for me. I'd pay oodles for a customizable one.

lovelofts (author)2013-02-15

Please, please, PLEASE: Either bring back the high res pdf file or allow us to purchase it for a nominal fee. I would happily pay, especially if the spices are customizable!

Slay. (author)2013-02-14

Making this for my father on his birthday. He's a big foodie. Also, we use a lot of Zatar (Israeli spice) so I added a Uuz to mine.

Slay. (author)2013-02-14

Making this for my father on his birthday. He's a big foodie. Also, we use a lot of Zatar (Israeli spice) so I added a Uuz to mine.

MissAnubis (author)2013-02-11

I love this!!!!

Ti Phillips (author)2013-02-10

I noticed there was many comments on spices going bad because of the clear lids.


Invert the lid, pour enough spice to create a nice view, cut a disk out of black cardstock and place over the spice. To hold in place, use a ring of glue from a glue gun. Let cure completely before adding spice to the tin and capping. Now you have a nice view of the spice while protecting the tin contents.

JaimeChandra (author)2013-02-08

First of all - this is brilliant & awesome!! While I wholeheartedly agree that you could produce this & make a nice profit, this does not preclude you from allowing DIYers to make their own from your high-res PDF. Basically, you can still investigate profit while facilitating geeky Alton Brown fans to make their own.  :o)

You *should* state that the table is copyrighted work & that it is not to be used for commercial purposes. Therefore, if someone produced your exact table for sale, you would have legal recourse. However, anyone can take this idea, create their own table to be almost identical,  manufacture for profit, and you would have absolutely no recourse. Closely replicating copyrighted work is usually legal - duplicating or copying is not.

Please bring the high-res PDF back soon!!!

gmiller18 (author)2013-02-07

On arrangement: Separate the rows which on the elements table represent Lanthanoids and Actioids into two colors. Either use one for miscellaneous spices and the other for mixes or leave them blank and include a sticker sheet to allow the customer to customize the table to his or her personal spice collection. Choose a method other than alphabetical for spices within a group -- say, mild to hot for the capsicums or seeds before leaves in the Apiaceae area, for example.

chezelliott (author)2013-02-06

If I were you, I would TOTALLY send this to Alton Brown - I suspect he would love it!
I'm just trying to figure out where I can put it in my kitchen. This is Teh Awesome.

DonnaE68 (author)2013-02-06

This is AWESOME! I would definitely purchase one!

pfaffel3571 (author)2013-02-06

What a wonderful idea!! Where can i buy one?? Lol!

sball7 (author)2013-02-06

Oh my! This is the most awesome thing I have ever seen!! I want to do this now!!!

gmiller18 (author)2013-02-06

Dude, this is commercial quality. Sur La Table would sell thousands of these. You should seriously look into copyrighting the design and getting someone to produce it.

moonbunny (author)2013-02-04

That is awesome! Perfect for the geeky chef!

General Zod (author)2013-02-04

Wow! That's awesome!

annahowardshaw (author)2013-02-03

Awesome! Do you happen to have a .pdf of the board? I can't make out the scientific names from the pic, and the Instructables .pdf file only contains a small pic.

SinginLow (author)annahowardshaw2013-02-04

Glad you like it! I just uploaded the PDF I sent to the print shop.

ynze (author)2013-02-03

Owwww great idea! Wanna make, but need to find the space in the kitchen...

nnygamer (author)2013-02-03

Looks like something Alton Brown wold have.

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