Introduction: Test Tube Spice Rack

Picture of Test Tube Spice Rack
Here's a test tube spice rack that I made to hold all of my spices.  I tried to improve upon previous test tube spice racks that I've seen by using a nice looking piece of bamboo plywood and by using oversized O rings to "float" the tubes in the rack and eliminate the base plate.  Also, my kitchen is short on counter space, so moving the spices out of the cupboard and onto the wall was a bonus.  I've got a lot of spices, so I made two of these racks, but the design would work well with just one, or as many as you might need to hold all of your spices. Sorry I can't publish this as a full step by step Instructable since this was one of the few builds I've done where I didn't take pictures along the way, but I'll do my best to explain how I made it in the text below.

  1. plywood bamboo strip approx. 2" x 16"
  2. glass 25mm x 150mm test tubes from Drillspot
  3. size 10 cork stoppers to match test tubes from Mcmaster
  4. 22mm x 4mm rubber O-rings to match test tubes from Mcmaster
  5. assorted spices
  6. skinny measuring spoons from Lee Valley
  7. screw hook to hold measuring spoons
  8. mini L brackets
  9. hanging hardware for plaster or drywall walls
  1. saw to cut wood
  2. drill or drill press (better) to drill holes in wood and hang rack
  3. 1 1/8" Forstner bit to make clean holes that are slightly larger than test tube diameter, but smaller than O-ring.


Cut appropriately sized strips of wood for your test tube rack.  On a drill press, use a 1 1/8" forstner bit to create evenly spaced holes on the rack.  Try to drill as straight as possible if you're using a hand drill.  Slip the O-rings onto the test tubes, fill with spices, and insert cork stopper into the top. 


Hang test tube rack onto the wall with small steel L brackets using appropriate anchors or hardware for your specific wall type.


gen81465 (author)2017-06-04

I love this. One of my sisters teaches Chemistry, Physics and Biology at a High School. I'm going to put this together for her at Christmas. By the way, here's a couple of versions of labels that should fit nicely on the cork covers: one version with molecular formulae,

and the other with skeletal formulae,

The images come from the following website:

and posters with them are available (see website for details).

slooney64 made it! (author)2015-06-07

I had the bamboo plywood from another project and was installing a new shelf for hanging pots. Decided to use your idea to restructure my spice storage.

Weekend kitchen remodel, complete!

slooney64 made it! (author)slooney642016-01-02

I recently added a test tube holder and acquired a spice funnel from Amazon. Together, they make it super easy to refill the test tubes. The holder alone allows me to keep a couple of spices on-hand while cooking without rolling around or spilling.

The holder is made with a chunk of 4x4. I cut the holes with the same 1-1/8th" spade bit using a drill guide and a piece of scram underneath to prevent tear-out. The holes go all through way through, to avoid crud buildup. The wood is the perfect thickness to leave the tubes suspended about 1/4" from the surface of the counter. (Your mileage may vary if you position the o-rings on the test tubes differently.)

If the radius of a test tube hole is r, the holes are spaced one radius from the edge and one radius from each other. That means for three holes, the length of the 4x4 is (6r + 2r + 2r) = 10r. I did most of the measuring using a scrap of paper with a pencil mark at r and 2r that I marked using the holes in the spice rack. No actual math or rulering was involved.

Free-handing straight holes through a 4x4 is very hard without a guide or a drill-press. The picture of the my drill guide is from a different project and shows a different bit. A 12V cordless is not sufficient for drilling through a 4x4 with a spade bit. You will need something more powerful like a corded drill.

To finish, just sand and apply some penetrating oil.

madmungo (author)slooney642015-12-09

What a lovely kitchen! :-) I really like the pot hanger. Is that a shelf, or something like a band of metal?

slooney64 (author)madmungo2015-12-09

It's a Cuisinart stainless steel shelf with pot hooks (CRBS-36B). Works great. Stands out just far enough to keep large pans from touching the wall. Far more convenient than stacking them in a cupboard.

madmungo made it! (author)2015-12-09

It is a lovely spice rack you have made. I got some large test tubes from Ikea and wanted to make a rack like yours. I could not find any o-rings that were cheap enough for my needs, so i modified the design and added a bottom shelf to the rack.

Naturelover555 (author)2014-09-24

I made a similar one! I purchased my test tubes from instead. They were a lot cheaper and much better quality (they are borosillicate).

Ketzer (author)2012-02-06

Needs ominous/semi-misleading labels.

Latin names, major chemical components (i.e. "cinnamaldehyde"), or just drawings of molecules. Just don't outright lie on the labels, though (no "Strychnine" please.)

If you are going mad-scientist in the kitchen, you have to go all the way.

FunkyNutbar (author)Ketzer2012-03-13

I'm in the middle of gathering the bits and bobs for a project like this and I decided on Periodic Table type elements. English name, latin, plant family and made up symbol.

pr0me7heu2 (author)FunkyNutbar2014-02-17

What was the best way you determined to(1) make the labels and (2) stick them to the tubes?

Cezsaria (author)FunkyNutbar2013-01-20

For extra science points, the Latin genus and species should be italicised, with genus capitalised and species all lower-case, example; Salvia officinalis. Otherwise, awesome :)

Dhyansi (author)FunkyNutbar2012-04-03

FunkyNutbar, this is brilliant. DIY spice racks are worth the trouble even more now with this labeling convention. :D

sing1ejack (author)Dhyansi2012-09-09

Agreed! I thought the test tubes would be kind of sleek, but those labels make them awesome instead!

Please, tell me you have a complete set I can grab somewhere?

sing1ejack (author)sing1ejack2012-09-09

And now that you've got me curious, what is the word in the top-right corner?

FunkyNutbar (author)sing1ejack2012-09-10

The text on the top right is the plant family name. I've uploaded my image files to my library. Take a look in there to get all the ones I've made. I can send a photoshop file if you want the template too.

sing1ejack (author)FunkyNutbar2012-09-10

That's awesome. When I visit your profile though, I don't see any links to a library or images or anything. Do you have a link?

kmerr1972 (author)FunkyNutbar2012-04-22

I love this idea.

bwaters2 (author)2014-02-05

what a beautiful job you've done with this. I love it!

Thraxen (author)2013-09-26

I want to built a spice rack and thought of the common ones which are shelves. Though I was thinking with all the different size bottles it would have been a pain. Yours though... Oh damn it looks epic and so useful!

beginnerls (author)2013-08-14

Love this spice rack!

beginnerls (author)2013-08-14

Love this spice rack!

mhauser1 (author)2013-03-29

Here's my version. A retired shop teacher made it for me. It is 3 rows deep and holds 26 spices. I love it and he said he would be happy to make more if people wanted to order them. It is out of walnut. He's also made some that are 2 rows deep and hold 13.

noahw (author)mhauser12013-03-30

That's really nice! I'm so glad that you like it. Aren't those little spoons cool too? My dad got them for me on mine. Thanks for posting the photo of the finished project, this is what keeps me posting and sharing my work!

PapaGeek (author)2013-03-22

How do you like the size of the test tubes (25mmx150mm)?
Do you wish you got bigger/smaller ones, or are they just the right size for spices?

noahw (author)PapaGeek2013-03-23

I think the size is just right. I find myself refilling the black pepper corns the most frequently, but that's only around once a month or two. It's just big enough so that you are not filling too frequently, but not too big where the spices just linger forever. You know that stale "old spice" smell...hey, maybe that's where the aftershave company got it's name?!

hlangille (author)2013-02-23

For those concerned about spice degradation, you could try aluminum cigar tubes such as these (Caveat - I've never ordered from this company before, first one that popped up)

sing1ejack (author)2012-12-25

The bamboo plywood looks great, where did you get it?

diegofenner (author)2012-09-17

Looks awesome!
That's a great idea, I'll do something like that, if it looks good I'll send a msg with pics :)
Thanks for sharing.

Loopstyle (author)2012-03-13

Really nice idea!! You are more then welcome to visit and share your work! :)


banzitothecheeto (author)2012-01-30

You could frost the labels on the glass. :o)

noahw (author)banzitothecheeto2012-02-28

This is a good idea - thanks! I used to etch glass plates by applying tape, then cutting parts away to make an adhesive stencil of sorts, and then sand blasting them. A laser or that glass etching creme that Earth First was into a while ago would also work well.

That would be cool!

alexandredoubleyou (author)2012-02-07

hey just wanted to share what I did after seeing your project. I wanted to this a while ago but couldn't figure how to make them stay. rubber gaskets, of course!!

noahw (author)alexandredoubleyou2012-02-28

This makes me happy. Glad you the O rings worked for you.

TheCritic (author)2012-02-27

This is really cool but I see a practical use issue due to size along with a labeling issue. I really like it for spices frequently used to stay close at hand though.
Great post.
The only change I would make would be adding another lower level for the tubes to rest on instead of the o rings. They tend to dry out quickly. then you have a mess on the floor when they fall through..

Lindie (author)2012-02-09

I really like this! Nice idea!

OldDogVT (author)2012-01-31

Very nicely done and attractive.

Moving the spices into the light (from inside your cabinet) in clear glass, however, shortens their shelf-life and potency. Spices stored this way are pretty much worthless after just a few months, having lost a high percentage of their flavor. I keep all my spices in aluminum containers that have tightly fitting lids, most of them stored whole, ground when needed. Even spices I purchase preground are stored this way. Whole spices basically last forever. The stuff you get in supermarkets, sold in glass bottles, is already less than half their original potency, and is a waste of money.

Aswa (author)OldDogVT2012-02-05

I was thinking the same thing.
I think you could also mount the rack on the inside of a cupboard door, though. That way you’d save space and keep them dark at the same time, and you could still have the cool looking test tubes :)

Lindie (author)Aswa2012-02-09

That's a great idea!

acti (author)2012-02-06

Has anyone looked at (or designed) a test tube compatible way to control dispensing of the spices?
(Perhaps something along the lines of a liquor bottle pour spout,
or a close-able shaker top?)

mir0k (author)2012-02-06

great idea, I've been looking for spices solution for a while, so I think this is it:)
thanks for posting.

tonll (author)2012-02-06

oh. *places hand to heart* my heart just went pitter patter. lovely.

Bochiechio (author)2012-02-05

Where do you get the bamboo plywood?

hollymaren (author)2012-01-30

You could also get bigger tubes for the spices you use a lot. Easier access for measuring spoons too.
I use a lot of beads and think this would be great way to have them displayed for use.

hollymaren (author)2012-01-30

It would not be hard to add a label (label maker) or use a Sharpie, etc. You could also make a double wide holder and stager the tubes to see them all. Also you could add a smaller hole to the back to lift the back row up a bit to make it handier to grab.

jessyratfink (author)2012-01-30

These are so pretty. I would love these in my kitchen.

randofo (author)2012-01-30

How do you tell the spices apart?

jessyratfink (author)randofo2012-01-30

Ha, Tyler always asks this question all the time, because none of mine are labeled either.

I can tell just by the color and size... years of experience, I guess.

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