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Picture of Magnetic Spice Rack
Looking for spice storage can be extremely frustrating. (Too big! Not enough jars! Don’t even think of taking up my counter space!) So I schemed up my own more flexible storage system. And it’s sooooo simple: just tins, glue and magnets. Ample (and attractive) spice storage can be found on your wall or fridge, leaving your cupboards and counter blessedly free of those pesky little spice tubs. And did I mention that storing your spices in tins will help them keep their flavor longer than in glass or plastic jars?

The full  writeup is also available at my blog, kitchen table scraps along with lots of other foodie nonsense including how to store spices to maintain their quality.
 
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Step 1: Decide where to locate your spice rack.

Picture of Decide where to locate your spice rack.

First, pick a location for your spices. Mine works great on large, exposed side of my fridge, but that may not work for your kitchen. If you buy a cheap metal shelf support, your spices could be organized in a line almost anywhere in your kitchen. You absolutely need to think about accessibility and appearance when deciding where to put your spices, but also think about heat. Opaque tins will keep your spices safe from light damage, but exposure to heat can be equally damaging. So avoid placing your spices near your oven or on a wall that gets hours of direct sunlight.

Step 2: Assemble your materials.

Picture of Assemble your materials.
Tins:

Make a list of the spices that you like to keep around. For the spices that I use most, I like to have separate containers for the whole spice, and for a small portion of the spice ground. So if you want doubles be sure to include them twice in your total. Just for good measure, add 10-20% to your total count before you order tins. If you’re ordering them online, it’s definitely cheaper to order a few extras rather than to make a separate order later. Make a few extra tins and you’ll be ready to slap a label on your tin when you get a new spice.

Other Equipment:
2 part Epoxy
1/2″ rare earth magnets
Steel wool or fine grit sandpaper
a small stick (for mixing epoxy)
a circle cutter, or sharp scissors
craft glue or double sided tape (for attaching labels to the outside of tins)
1/2″ metal shelf support (optional, this is only if you want to mount your spice rack on the wall. Mine is on the side of my fridge.)
Thick, matte paper or adhesive label paper (for printing labels)

Step 3: Glue magnets to tins.

Picture of Glue magnets to tins.

Use steel wool or sandpaper to rough up the center of tin and one side of the magnet (Don’t clean off surface). Squeeze out epoxy and hardener on to the roughed up surface. Use a stick to mix the epoxy and hardener together, then carefully place the magnet in the glue. It is important to use enough glue so that it will squish out around the sides of the magnet– not tidy, I know, but the extra epoxy on the side keeps the magnet firmly attached. Otherwise the magnets tend to peel off after a while. So let the glue be a little messy, and take comfort that no one will be looking at the back of them anyway. Leave the tins to dry undisturbed, as per the directions on your epoxy.

A 4oz. tin will need 1 or 2 magnets to hold it up, depending on what you’re storing in it. The heaviest spice I’ve found is whole nutmeg, a 4 oz. nutmeg tin needs 3 magnets, whole seeds like pepper, cloves generally need 2 magnets. Powders and dried leaves will be fine with just one magnet. If you plan to stick your spice tins on a metal shelf support , be sure that your magnets are glued exactly in the center of the tin. If you are using more than one, the magnets should be spaced out to either side, but in line with the center of the tin.

Step 4:

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I printed the labels onto thick matte paper and glued them to the surface of each tin with craft glue. I love my nerdy-botanical labels, but I’m sure that equally attractive labels could be made by cutting up magazines and slapping on a name, or even just printing out simple text labels on quality paper. Depending on the type of paper you use for your labels, you might need to adjust your adhesive strategy. I used a thick matte printer paper, and I was able to attach the labels to the tins with a thin coat of craft glue.  Using a sticky-back printer paper would also work quite nicely.

Step 5: Make final adjustments.

Picture of Make final adjustments.

If any of the lids on your tins are a little loose (a few of mine were), then just cut a small (1/2″) piece of masking tape and affix it to the inside of the tin’s lid. This provides a little more grip and resistance if it seems like there is any danger of your lid slipping off too easily. I also like to put a little label on the inside of the tin to note when and where I bought that particular spice.

Now you're ready to fill your tins, and stick them to your fridge or wall. Cheers, and happy cooking!

-Renee
www.kitchentablescraps.com.
TigerMoon6 months ago

I have spent so much time on the net searching for a better way to store spices and am so tired of seeing those sprawling whirly-gig things being offered. Not only is this the best method but the beautiful labels turn it into an art form. Oh I am inspired!

abender16 months ago

I'd check american science & surplus first.

kpriester6 months ago
I love your idea. It's simple and yet so clever and solves a problem many of us with minimal cabinet space have. I'm going to go with the tins and magnets and attach them to the side of my refrigerator that faces my stove so they are in easy reach.
fenikkusu6 months ago

This is SO SMART!!!!

Take a bow kitchentablescraps... we are clapping.

I use a lot of spices! I have three shelves of my pantry closet full of spices! This will help me!!!

SherpaDoug6 months ago

The tins I see are not very air-tight. I would think the spices would not keep well and powdered ones would leak out.

Seems to me you can just insert a magnet into the inside of the can and avoid the gluing all together. I don't think it would harm the spices to have it inside and it's strong enough to make the tin stick to whatever you are using to put it up.

If the tins are made of steel the magnet will lose much of its strength going through the steel. For non-ferrous metals (aluminum) this may work fine.

ebrown291 year ago
Where, online or off, might I find these tins?
vbishop12 years ago
I love this spice rack. Can you tell me how to make the exact labels that you made?? This is brilliant!
asdfzxc2 years ago
what font did you use for your labels?(:
katiebegood3 years ago
I love your labels. It solves the problem of not having clear front tins (to protect the spices from the light) and ending up with plain old tin tops to look at. Your labels solve the "unattractive" problem.

Also, why does everyone glue magnets to the tins? I just used magnetic tape where I cut a square of tape, peeled off the back, then affixed to the back of the tin. The glue on the tape holds firmly and it's much easier to apply.
taria3 years ago
I did this and it worked, but the problem was for some reason they kept falling off the strip. so I had to line them up along the back of my stove. might try a different magnet or something or even add an extra one.

but those little party favor tin cans with the see threw lids worked great.

I still love this idea.
Geli123 years ago
IT IS AWESOMLY NICE!
kregan13 years ago
Where did you get your magnets and tins from?
pennyf244 years ago
I do believe that this is a fantastic idea to organize all those spices once may get.. I will have to get some tins and some pictures... Though I am thinking of getting pictures that are of the actual spice though this is very lovely as well. I have yet to know just yet. Will have to look for the supplies and see what I decide :D Thanks for the lovely idea. This looks way better than a bunch of metal tins sitting on the fridge or on the wall above the counter :D
taria4 years ago
you know I have a bunch of those see threw tins that were on sale at wally world for 5 bucks that they use for party favors, I wonder if they would work as well...I got like 20 of them in a box.
may i ask where you got your labels? or did you make them yourself? they look absolutely stunning!
I did make the labels, and thanks!

A couple of other people had asked about where I got the botanical illustrations. In the comments section after the original blog post, I replied with a few tips for hunting down good botanical illustrations if you're interested. :)
oh! wow! you almost had me fooled. i was so convinced that they were professionally done!
they were professionally done, by her...lol just teasing.
mary candy4 years ago
cooooollll
I go for the "nerdy" labels also. Just great to look at.
scoochmaroo4 years ago
This is a GORGEOUS magnetic spice rack! Well done. I can't wait to see more of your projects!
kitchentablescraps (author)  scoochmaroo4 years ago
Thanks! I've always got more projects in the hopper-- happy to spread the DIY love.