Picture of 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.
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Step 1: Equipment and Supplies

Picture of 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)
Paper for Mixing Epoxy
100 Grit Sandpaper (or Similar)
Damp Paper Towel
Label Maker
Pocket Knife Tweezers [Pic 4]

Step 2: Preparing the Tins

Picture of 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]

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guaps3 years ago
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?
jdagnys guaps1 year ago
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.
guaps jdagnys1 year ago
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.
jdagnys guaps1 year ago
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 ( but with out a two piece screw top it doesn't really work.
guaps jdagnys1 year ago
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.
ReeseLloyd (author)  guaps3 years ago
I had the same problem with cinnamon specifically. I never did find a good solution to that problem.

Anyone else have a tip?
MonicaK15 days ago

I thank you for the link to the affordable containers. I want to put them on the back of my pantry door, but am worried about the lids on the containers staying on tight. you mentioned the containers don't move from slamming the freezer door, but do you have any issues with the containers themselves staying closed? The lids do not screw or twist closed, correct?

ReeseLloyd (author)  MonicaK15 days ago
The lids on those particular tins don't screw on, but they do fit tight. I never had one pop off even on the few of them that I dropped.
jstephens9082 months ago
would superglue not have a strong enough hold?
ReeseLloyd (author)  jstephens9082 months ago
It may have. I was worried about the flexing of the metal tins breaking the superglue bond. Epoxy turned out to be a pretty good option. However, next time I'd rough the surface of the magnets with a little sandpaper or buy the adhesive dots that are available now.
slisher2 months ago
I made these as a birthday present for my wife. Wells drink loose leave tea and she hate how the little bags clutter up the counter. Wells purchased two "The Board Dudes" magnetic chalk boards and mounted them in the kitchen.

Thanksgiving for the idea and directions!
meteormurat2 months ago

a really space saving hack idea !


I suggest you look at the deal on other sites, like Amazon for the magnets

MamaSmurf50007 months ago

I like the idea except for the part about putting them on the refrigerator. I have noticed that the sides can be warm and will shorten the life span of herbs and spices. Sunlight is also a detterant. I am thing that a metal sheet on the interior of a cabinet, away from sunlight will be the way I go.

jenekamalto9 months ago

Nice idea! I've been stressing out on what to do in my kitchen!

could you not glue the magnets onto the inside?

Beechcreek2 years ago
You could save time and maybe even money and buy magnetic spice tins.
Nope. Magnetic spice tins run $4 a tin. Which would make my $20 home project a $200 spice rack.
metrometro1 year ago
I did this, and it worked great. However! I used insufficient quantities of JB Weld, and the impact of tin to fridge (thanks to the pull of the magnets) has cracked off about 25% of the magnets. I was trying for a nice clean dab, which is not the right approach. Slather that action on there, build up around the sides.
jdagnys1 year ago
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 ( but with out a two piece screw top it doesn't really work.
jdagnys1 year ago
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.
firefly682 years ago
This is a great idea that I wish I'd seen before investing in a regular spice rack!
Wow.  That's a lot of spices.  Looks great.  "Cept my fridge is stainless steel and it won't hold magnets!  Where do you get the tins????  Thanks.
metalgrannie, your fridge may be like mine--it looks like stainless but is really aluminum on front and steel on the sides. Magnets stick to steel. I don't know why it's aluminum, it's just as !@#& hard to keep clean as stainless!!
Have you tried the side of your refrigerator? The front on my refrigerator is stainless steel but the side isn't. That's where I put my spices - in closed containers with twist off tops (to solve the clogging problem) and using magnetic tape instead of glue-on magnets.
ReeseLloyd (author)  metalgrannie5 years ago
Thanks!  That's interesting about your fridge.  Stainless should hold magnets quite well.  Tins came from Specialty Bottle ->
Steel is a mixture of several different metals chiefly iron.
Stainless steel is steel with 10.5% chromium added.
Some steel has carbon added to make it stiffer and others have nickel added.
Nickel makes to steel non-magnetic but isn't added to all stainless.

Great ible. I plan to duplicate it.

steved56002 years ago
My only comment is that having a clear tin for spice will cause most if not all to spoil quicker. Sunlight and air are the enemy of spices. I was always told the following.
Airtight dark container and keep the whole spice if possible as the ground will age quicker.
The rest of the idea is great. I came to this solution myself. JB weld works best but like all epoxies it's messy good idea on the paper work surface. I use a small paper Dixie Cup to mix in when use epoxy.
katiebegood2 years ago
I did this, and from experience, here are some of my thoughts.

1) if you have trouble opening things (like pill bottles and jar tops), make sure you get screw top canisters. You can find them here:

2) Unless you want to replace your spices every six months, don't get the clear top canisters. Get a solid top. They aren't as pretty (unless you make a pretty label for the top) but your spices will keep fresh much longer not being exposed to light.

3) Instead of the small round magnets, go to a local craft store and get some magnetic tape (do a Google search for "magnetic tape" and you'll find lots of suppliers on-line). You just cut off a square, peel off the backing and stick the gummy side to the back to the canister. No muss, no fuss.

katiebegood2 years ago
A couple of things. The first is that I used magnetic strips with peel off backing that stuck to the tin. I found it much easier than gluing magnets to the back of the tins. Here's a link to a supplier of this tape:

Second - if the freshness of your spices is important to you, you might want to consider using tins that are not clear topped. The problem with the clear top is that it lets light in and light degrades spices very quickly. Your spices will remain strong and fresh much longer if you store them in tins with closed lids.

Also, if you are like me and suffer from some arthritis in the hands, you might want to invest in twist off caps rather than the slide off tops. I was having a very tough time getting the tops off the slide off kind of tin and once or twice the spices went flying when the top finally came off. Using a twist off top helps with this immensely.

cjv9982 years ago
In case anyone was wondering, I just got a variety of the containers from Specialty Bottle for this project. The 4oz "deep" containers with the clear lids (the ones recommended in the article) have nice snug-fitting lids.

However, I got some of the 8oz and 16oz containers for larger amounts of dried herbs and spices (both the "deep" variety with clear slip-on lids), and the lids on those are pretty loose-fitting; I wouldn't trust hanging them up with spices in them. The lids seem like they'd even come loose on their own over time if you hung them up. I think I'll use a punch to make a few indentations on the sides of the lids so they fit more snugly. Hopefully that works out.

So, to anyone wanting containers larger than the smallish 4oz size: either get ones with the screw-on lids, or come up with a way to modify the lids and make them fit more snugly.
helllordkb2 years ago
Yes 2 part epoxy dries quickly. It can take 1 to several days to cure however depending on the 2-part epoxy your using. For best results i would say do all the tins at once for each step, with the exception of applying the epoxy/magnet. For best results you should apply the epoxy and magnet to each tin, one time at a time. Don't apply the epoxy to all of them and then add the magnet, it won't work as well.

I would also use twist locking tins if you can get them. I love the instructable but the first time i did something like this, the problems came from the tops of the tins being loosely attached and not screw tops.
shootfilm4 years ago
So there's no need to scuff the magnets with the sandpaper, like I did the tins?
By scuffing the tin your removing, often non-magnetic surface point/finish added to the tin. You are making small microscopic cuts into the tin which increases the surface area . The more surface area for the adhesive material, the better it sticks. That being said this JB Weld Steel and hardener is a 2 part epoxy adhesive. There are many different kinds of 2 part epoxy you can buy but when it comes down to it, 2 part epoxy makes an incredibly strong bond no matter what.
ReeseLloyd (author)  shootfilm4 years ago
Scuffing the magnets definitely won't hurt. I've had to reattach a couple of mine. So, if you have the time and patience I'd say scuff away.

MeredithP2 years ago
I just loved this idea and completed a large batch of tins a few months ago. I hadn't had the opportunity to go back and check the tins (just filled them and put them on the fridge). Now I realize that the magnets are sticking to the fridge, and not to the tin. I think two things are in play here: 1) I didn't use enough JB Weld. I really took that sesame seed size to heart and 2) I should have come back and moved the tins more in the last few months before the magnets "adhered" to the fridge stronger than the tins. Working up the energy to re-epoxy almost every one again. Still love the idea and the way they look, though. Your thoughts? Next time: use more epoxy, leave them off the fridge for months? Or move them regularly?

Thanks for the wonderful idea!
ReeseLloyd (author)  MeredithP2 years ago
One option might be to rough up the magnets a bit before applying the JB Weld. I started to notice this issue with my tins as well, but retired them when I moved to a new house shortly after.
This is great.! The website has a couple sizes, and they're much less expensive than varieties I've found in stores. I'm really excited to get all my spices out of plastic baggies.

For housekeeping's sake, the link leads you to the wrong section on Specialty Bottle.
Punkguyta5 years ago
 I swear to god I've seen my teacher buy those exact metal tins with clear plastic lids in the center, but they CAME with magnets already attached. Interesting..
Ikea sells 3 for $5.00. Then you buy the metal bar for about $8.00. I bought a few to see if it was worth using them for beads. Storage and finding what I'm looking for quickly is a problem.

I love the spice idea!
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