Introduction: Magnetic Spice Rack

I love to cook and, as such, I have a huge collection of spices.  About a year ago I got tired of having to dig through my pile of spice jars to find the one I was looking for, so I decided to change it up.  Pulling some inspiration from Alton Brown and some commercial products that I'd seen I settled on a magnetic spice rack.  In looking around it would seem that I'm not the only one that came to this solution.  In fact, there's even another Instructable on the same topic.

Step 1: Equipment and Supplies

To do this project you're going to need some supplies and equipment.

4 oz Round Clear Top Tins [Pic 1]
1/4" x 1/16" Neodymium Magnets (3 per tin) [Pic 2]
Paper Work Surface
JB Weld (or Other Epoxy)
Toothpicks
Paper for Mixing Epoxy
100 Grit Sandpaper (or Similar)
Damp Paper Towel
Label Maker
Pocket Knife Tweezers [Pic 4]

Step 2: Preparing the Tins

Okay, to get started on the assembly we'll start by prepping the tins.

1) Start with a clean tin.  You want them free of oils and other debris so clean if necessary. [Pic 1]
2) Rough the back of each tin with the sandpaper.  You don't have to get the entire back sanded, you just want to add some texture for the JB Weld to stick to. [Pic 2]
3) Wipe the sanded tins on the damp paper towel to remove the dust. [Pic 3]
4) Let the tins dry briefly so any remaining moisture can evaporate. [Pic 4]

Step 3: Applying the Magnets

With the tins prepped it's time to affix the magnets.

1) Apply equal parts of the JB Weld Steel (black) and Hardener (gray) to your mixing surface. [Pic 1]
2) Mix the epoxy with a toothpick until it is a consistently colored paste. [Pic 2]
3) Apply three small dabs of the epoxy about the size of a sesame seed on the back of the tin using the tip of a toothpick.  This seems like too little epoxy at first but it is plenty to keep the magnets affixed. Also, the JB Weld is magnetic.  So, if you add too much it will crawl up the side of the magnet and begin to coat the top.  If this happens wipe the excess off with the damp paper towel. [Pic 3]
4) Using the tweezers pick up a single magnet. [Pic 4]
5) Apply the magnet to the dab of epoxy.  Make sure your aim is true.  Since the tins are metal they'll attract the magnets as you get close. [Pic 5]
6) Repeat for each of the tins you're making. [Pic 6]

Allow the JB Weld to cure for 24 hours before you continue with the rest of the steps.


Step 4: Labeling the Tins

Now that the epoxy is dry you can label the tins, fill them up and stick them to a metal surface.  For the labels I used a label maker loaded with clear labels with black ink. [Pic 1]  I find that these look the cleanest when applied to the tins.  You could certainly use any other label you like or simply write directly on the tins.  On that note, you definitely need to label the tins.  Once you get them up it's very hard to tell the difference between some of them, especially the leafy herbs.

Finally, when you're applying the labels make sure you place them with the top of the letters facing the bottom of the tin. [Pic 2]  That way when they're stuck on the metal surface you can read them easily from the top.

Step 5: Finished Spice Rack

For my spice rack I decided to stick all the tins to the front of my refrigerator.  There is room for 70 tins; 80 if I cram them a touch closer.  With the neodymium magnets they don't budge a bit when you open or close the door, no matter how hard you try.

Instead of your refrigerator door you could also stick them to a sheet of tin hung from the wall, strips of metal affixed to the inside of your cabinet doors or a magnetic whiteboard.

Step 6: Final Thoughts

Lastly, some tips and pitfalls from someone who's on version 2.0 of this idea.

Tins - There are quite a few different options for tins available.  There are both round and square versions and you can also pick various sizes.  For the size I've found that 4oz tins work best.  First, these tins are compact which maximizes the number you can pack in a space.  Second, they hold nearly the exact amount of contents that are included in a commercial spice jar.  Finally, buy a few extras in case you have some get badly dented.

Magnets - Speaking of dented tins let me give a bit of an explanation as to why this is version 2.0.  When I first did this project I used regular strength magnet tape that I was able to buy in a huge roll.  It was much simpler to apply to the tins but the pull force was much less.  What ended up happening is that heavier contents, salt for example, would slide down the refrigerator.  Also, if a tin was bumped it would fall, often taking others with it.  I'm betting I'll never get all of that Old Bay from under my refrigerator. [Pic 1]  That said, there is an option if you'd prefer to take the magnet tape route; use high energy magnet tape.  This product has double the pull strength of standard tape and should hold much better.

As for neodymium magnets there are lots of options.  I think the ones I chose for this project work great.  They easily support even the heaviest load (my test was a tin full of large crystal sea salt).  However, since I've only used three you can tip the tins and pull them right off without a problem.  If you're looking for another option instead of epoxy you could also try the self adhesive discs that K&J Magnetics offers.

Bulk Production - When I first re-did my spice rack for version 2.0 I processed 65 tins in one go. [Pic 2]  Some quick pointers for working with this many.  First, do one step at a time to every tin.  For example, sand every tin, then wipe every tin, etc.  To manage the JB Weld a little easier I used a dixie cup to mix it in.  Another note on the JB Weld, make sure you move fairly quickly.  It took me about 45 minutes to glue all the tins and the JB Weld was beginning to get fairly viscous by the time I finished.

Comments

author
guaps made it!(author)2012-02-06

I built this and have been using these for about a year now. I love them, and have had a lot of compliments about them. I have a couple comments from what I learned, and a question about a problem I'm having.

I used super glue and decided to use two magnets. Sometimes I just have to learn the hard way. For the really heavy spices (think salt), two magnets was not enough. They would slide down the fridge. Also, after a few months, the superglue started to fail and the magnets started to come off the tins. I used JB Weld now and they are rock solid.

The really fine, ground spices (cinnamon for example) are giving me major problems. The fine dust gets between the lid and the rim of the tin and this makes it almost impossible to get the lid off. I definitely can't pull the lid off, and usually I can't twist it off either. I now have a pair of channel locks (pliers) in my kitchen that I use to get the lids off the ground spices. Anyone else having this problem? How do you keep the lids from binding?

author
ReeseLloyd made it!(author)2012-02-16

I had the same problem with cinnamon specifically. I never did find a good solution to that problem.

Anyone else have a tip?

author
DanielO121 made it!(author)2016-05-12

Well, it's been a while since your post, so I don't know if you still need an idea for a solution. The problem is that the times seal by side pressure. The tin sides are slightly narrower in diameter/circumference to allow lid to attach. It si that gap which accumulates powder.

I have two possible solutions (untried BTW) . If you can find a gasket that fits inside the lid, that will allow the wall of the tin to touch the lid preventing the powder getting into the gap. The lid just has to touch the lip of the tin wall.

The best would be a plastic ring of the type used for spice shakers - flexible. It should be a ring to preserve the clear view inside. Depending on availability and size of your lids, you could just modify a Ball jar gasket, or even cut a hole in the center of a Ball jar lid, if just the gasket is not available.

Another possibility is getting thin metal tape, about 1" wide. Cut a strip equal to the inner circumference of the tin. Lengthwise, Fold over the tape to stick to itself, leaving another half inch exposed. Paste that on the inside of the tin so that it extends above the lip of the wall, sufficient to touch the lid when closed, and provide a slight pressure barrier, to prevent the powder from getting into the gap when closed. It should be completely invisible from the outside.

author
agwh made it!(author)2016-05-12

Try putting plastic wrap over the top of the jar first. Then screw on the lid. The plastic wrap forms a tighter seal, conforms to the threads, and forms an anti-friction barrier between any spilled powder and the lid. (I also do this to keep things from leaking, when transporting liquids or other leakables in a suitcase.)

Great post. I love magnets, but hadn't thought of this. (stupid) Question: could you not just put your magnets inside the jar at the bottom? They would stick to the jar, which would, in turn stick to the metal board.

author
KarlaM38 made it!(author)2016-12-08

If you have screw on lids, try some of that stretchy white plumbers tape around the threads on the container part.

author
guaps made it!(author)2016-05-12

Good idea with the plastic wrap. As for the magnets inside the jar - I read that the adhesive (JB Weld or whatever you use) might not be good to put with food. I have no idea if that's true, but it was enough for me to put the magnets on the outside.

author
Borracho81 made it!(author)2016-05-12

I think agwh meant to skip the JB Weld altogether, and just have the magnets on the inside of the jars without any adhesives.

author
agwh made it!(author)2016-05-12

Yes, I meant put the magnets inside without the JB Weld. The magnets should stay put, due to, well, their magnetism. ;)

author
DonG36 made it!(author)2016-08-04

Here is a link to spice tins whose bottoms are already magnetized:

http://tinyurl.com/h7x69cw

author
LindaH102 made it!(author)2016-01-11

I've had pretty good luck with rubbing the outside of the rim with a TINY bit of coconut oil so it will spin off next time it also cleans the powder off

author
jdagnys made it!(author)2013-05-16

How about tapping off the lid except the contact point and spraying/painting that with a thin layer of plasi dip or rubber spray paint? I haven't done this so I don't know if it would work but I just thought if it works for Ball jars it might work for this.

author
guaps made it!(author)2013-05-17

Sorry, I don't follow you. So the plasti-dip on the outside of the lid so it is easier to grip?

I'm still trying to find a solution to this problem, so I'd like to understand your idea better.

author
jdagnys made it!(author)2013-05-17

on the inside of the lid between the lid and the jar edge; however, more i think about it the more it seems that it won't work. the idea was to create a gasket-like effect so that the cinnamon will not slip between the lid and the edge of the jar, like on canning jars (http://www.canningbasics.com/images/canninglids2.jpg) but with out a two piece screw top it doesn't really work.

author
guaps made it!(author)2013-05-17

Oh, I see. That's a good idea, and one I haven't tried yet. I've got nothing to lose so I'll try it.

author
mumer1 made it!(author)2017-06-22

can you list all those 70 spices? I didn't there were that many, but again i dont cook.

author
TeriW19 made it!(author)2017-05-17

I am going to do this - but instead of using the fridge - I bought a new cookie sheet, which I plan to mount to the wall with command hooks - Love all the ideas!

author
Aslanslucy made it!(author)2016-12-31

Just be aware: In your best interest--careful how you use those magnets...things happen...for instance, if you had the magnets inside the tin and they ended up in your recipe somehow or the contents ate away at the magnet covering--not good. Yes, I know they are strong--but things happen:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium_magnet

Swallowing a magnet for those who might have had surgery at one point and have staples or metal in their implants can cause serious harm or death--and you do not want them around children!

author
faisal067 made it!(author)2016-11-22

hi..i used it but a simple problem facing while opening the lid, the spices dropped out...so i decided to make a half lid open tin and the rounded sheet onwhich these tins are fixed, may be made moveable in circle to get the spices from the back of the fixed lid.....would it be suitable.....plz guide me

author
SherylinRM made it!(author)2016-08-13

@ guaps

Maybe put the 3 magnets down the SIDE of the tin instead of on the bottom?

This will allow the tin to remain vertical and thus eliminate the problem.

Hope this helps :)

author
SherylinRM made it!(author)2016-08-13

Love this idea as I have little space.

Thanks a lot for this :)

author
mmatthews-1 made it!(author)2016-08-05

I have a cinnamon comment. Instead of storing the dry cinnamon, how 'bout buying cinnamon sticks and grinding it fresh?

author
ReeseLloyd made it!(author)2016-08-06

This works for some applications. However, it's very hard to grind cinnamon to the flour-like consistency of ground cinnamon at home. To do that you need a very high end grinder.

author
RevMiller13 made it!(author)2016-06-24

made these about 8 months ago when we moved in to the new place for the spices i use most...works well for my purposes.

i bought my tins from uline.com and my magnets from ebay.

like some other people have mentioned, there is a bit of an issue with the really finely ground spices, but i have gotten into the habit of wiping the rim of the tin with a paper towel before i put the lid back on.

if i can figure out a way to keep the garlic powder from clumping, i will be in good shape.

IMG_20160624_154536975.jpgIMG_20160624_154553905.jpg
author
Catley made it!(author)2016-08-05

This is about garlic salt, but might work for garlic powder, as well. I had so much trouble with clumping that finally I put the container in the freezer, and now it goes for a year or more and is always quite shakable. I realize that doing so would mean it couldn't be used in the fridge door "rack," but might be worth it to save money on having to replace it frequently.

author
Syncubus made it!(author)2016-07-24

Adding some silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent) to your garlic powder might help prevent clumps (it's how the spice industry does it). Also, possibly adding something non-magnetic (such as a glass marble) might give you more 'clump-busting power' when shaking the grains loose.
https://www.americanspice.com/silicon-dioxide/

"Simply Organic" brand garlic powder is more coarsely ground than many "garlic powders" and is less prone to clumping. I buy it by brand specifically because of this fact (I don't care about 'organic' labels).

author
Databanks made it!(author)2016-08-04

re lids getting stuck: I guess you could give the thread a quick wipe before closing tightly and maybe a rubber seal where lid meets jar.

I find the containers with the shaker perforations a bigger issue as there's always a bit of residue left that stops it sealing and the contents get damp - chicken salt, vegetable salt and any other salt-based premix of seasoning is the biggest problem but paprika, onion powder, garlic powder etc have the same. Your solution here would probably help solve it

author
Databanks made it!(author)2016-08-04

Turning the fridge door into the spice rack - brilliant! Thank you

author
VancoD made it!(author)2016-08-04

Ikea sells these containers "already made" (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80102919/) - and I had several in which I put a spice blend containing garlic and/or salt - and there was a hygroscopic/galvanic reaction that ate right through the metal.

Caveat emptor.

author
DonG36 made it!(author)2016-08-04

A great idea that I did years ago. I bought spice tins with magnetic bottoms and just stuck them to the front of my stainless steel stove hood which has a lip on it the same width as the tins. They are very handy there right at the front of my stove hood. Here is a link to a number of spice tins that are already magnetic:

http://tinyurl.com/h7x69cw

author
pegaroo made it!(author)2016-08-04

ksis would love to see a pic of yours!

author
DianeAnna made it!(author)2016-08-04

Thanks for the link for the spice holders, I've been wanting some like this, but they are too expensive at the Kitchen stores - these are very reasonably priced. Moving into a new house next month that has a cool metallic spice rack, and these will be perfect for those spices that are in ugly plastic containers.

author
Raetoni made it!(author)2016-07-26

All great ideas. I did mine with hexagon glass jars with metal lids from Amazon. Main reason, I'm obsessed with quality Pensky spices and the tins are not as seal tight, hence the cinnamon around the lid and the clump in the garlic from humidity. Definitely use heavy duty strength magnets. Has worked well using Gorilla glue for a short term but am seeing a problem of it cracking. Will use the JD Weld in the future and try the brilliantly simple idea posted of putting in the metal lid.

author
violetsmuse made it!(author)2016-07-24

Although a fun project, this will cost a person way more than the $10.00 category that it's in. I LOVE using those magnets around the house but they're pricey. Over $5 a pack at Michaels for 5 (i think). Then to use 3 per tin = lots of dinero. So, in my area this would cost too much at one pop but I've spread out buying these as they are the best magnets. I want to buy them every time I go there but limit myself. I have to or I'd buy them all up! Fascinating to witness how powerful these are!!

Sorry, I got on a tear!

author
Syncubus made it!(author)2016-07-24

Try looking on Amazon or eBay for larger, bulk quantity purchases? Michael's is geared to smaller, craft-sized quantities (with their associated packaging and markup).

I see a quantity of 100 6mm by 1.5mm neodymium magnets from China on Amazon for under $10. (I'm not linking to it, since I'm not advertising for anyone specifically.)

author
violetsmuse made it!(author)2016-07-25

Wow, thats a lot of magnets! Now why didn't I think of that??
Thanks!

author
kcisis made it!(author)2016-07-24

I made a spice rack using these tins for my daughter (chose the clear to see the contents, just buy smaller amounts & use up). Covered a metal sheet with wrapping paper and mod-podged, then inserted into a painted frame (also well mod-podged for easy cleaning). She lives in a turn of the century apartment building with white walls and hideous gray cabinetry, so purple is her go to accent color. For her I covered a metal sheet with purple foil wrapping paper (protected by mod podge) in a purple Victorian style frame with purple metallic pearl "antiquing" (also protected by mod podge for cleaning ease). The contrast between the modern canisters and the antique frame makes it look fantastic and, of course, it can be moved anywhere in the kitchen.

author
jenuin_rticl made it!(author)2016-07-24

Just a thought. Since it is recommended to you keep most spices and herbs out of the light. I wouldn't recommend the tins with the see-thru lids. But, why not use the rectangle tins that you can buy the herbs in? You could put the magnet on the side; it's already labeled; it already has the perfect shaker/scoop hole for that herb, and they are usually cheaper than buying the herbs in the glass jars.

author
GaryS70 made it!(author)2016-07-24

I want to do this on the inside of the pantry door, if so, I don't think the clear lids would be a problem. Nice post!

author
RoseS59 made it!(author)2016-05-26

Hello, I am gathering all the supplies to make this; I was thinking to substitute the 3 small magnets with one "disk-like" magnet in the center of the tin. I was also wondering if little glass jars with metal cups (such as ball small canning jars) would be too heavy. Any advise?

Thank you.

author
ReeseLloyd made it!(author)2016-05-26

Single magnets can be strong enough if you get powerful ones. I originally tried magnet tape and wasn't pleased with how it worked.

As for jars, I think they'll be too heavy. Since the force on the magnet is parallel to the magnets surface (slipping) instead of perpendicular (pulling straight out), the magnet's force is much less.

author
Cehub1951 made it!(author)2016-05-12

great idea, I've seen a version of this but yours seems well thought out. I believe I'll try this but I want to mount them on the wall between counter and cabinets. Is there a product that mounts easily to the wall? Like metal strips that don't require big holes to affix them? Thanks for the directions, I'm excited to try this out.

author
ClaraF5 made it!(author)2016-05-14

You could also just use metal thumb tacks or a nail. Place them at the correct spots by making some sort of stencil on a large sheet of construction paper. That would give it a sort of 'floating' look, which would be cool. Also, you could paint those thumbtacks the color of your wall or even an accent color (when you take off one of the jars, you see a cute little splash of an accent color). I've been thinking about doing something like this for a while now :)

author
ReeseLloyd made it!(author)2016-05-12

I think you can buy sheets of steel at most home improvement stores. As long as it is magnetic it should work for this application. To attach it to the wall you have a few options. You could attach with screws, 3M tape or even command strips. I think the latter might be the right option to get you started.

author
Jedi_zombie85 made it!(author)2016-04-19

How have I not seen this sooner, its great, thanks for sharing

author
lglira made it!(author)2016-04-16

cool project

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HollyMann made it!(author)2016-04-15

Love it! Thanks for sharing this!

author
jinamina made it!(author)2016-04-15

nice

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JEniB4 made it!(author)2016-04-15

nice

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shainajorg made it!(author)2016-04-15

nice

author
shain_hoti made it!(author)2016-04-15

nice

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