Introduction: Spice Shelf From Scrap

This is a simple practicing project to learn the basics of woodworking. It will take about a weekend to make.

Materials can be scrap wood from other projects or purchased cheaply.

We used only:

  • Simple plank (or straight list)
  • L-list
  • Round list
  • piece of plywood (this can be taken for example from old broken furniture)
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • furniture nails (very small ones)
  • Wood filler

And the tools used

  • Saw
  • Angle
  • Chisel
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Putty knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Piece of sponge

Step 1: Starting Point and Planning

At the beginning there was ugly plastic box filled with spice bottles...

First step is of course to measure the area where you can fit your new shelf. Use tape measure to find maximum width and height.

Second you need to measure also the size of your spice bottles.

Then comes the planning. The planning is important that you actually can fit your shelf to the limited space you have available and that the spice bottles fit to the shelf and they can be easily put in there.

Here is roughly the process. You can make it as scientific as you want and here are only the basics. Or you can go with a gut feeling which ever suits you more. We practiced the calculations so our blueprints are bit complex, but there is no actually other meaning for the accuracy of one millimeter like we have used.

For the simplicity we chose 35 and 40 as the base dimensions.

Then we calculated the minimum space needed for bottles. The absolute minimum is of course the diagonal length of the bottle. That was 11,5cm. So that is the absolute minimum height for each shelf.

Then we calculated how many shelves we can fit by finding the total height of each shelf and the bottle (ok, actually we only confirmed that three shelves will fit into our chosen height). If everything seems ok - proceed to the actual woodworks.

Step 2: Frame

We chose to leave the top shelf open from the top, so we only needed three frame woods and later one thin support beam.

Cut the frame pieces to a suitable length (in our case two 40cm and one 35cm planks).

To make the frame bit more sturdy we also practiced to make a simplified fishtail fitting (sorry - we don't have better name for this kind of fitting in English). The more advanced craftman you are the better and more complex fitting you can make. With the good tools you can also achieve much better results.

But like said at the beginning, the idea of this instructable is to learn the very basics of woodworking.

The fittings were cut as shown in the pictures

Step 3: Finishing the Frame

At the side parts we also cut extra cut for the rear support beam.

With a file we improved our poor sawing skills to make enough room for the support beam ;-)

Glue frame together and support the structure with clamps. You can also support your frame from inside so that it keeps it shape better. If you glue it wonky you might need to break the frame in order to straghten it again.

Step 4: Shelves and Plywood

We made extremely simple shelves. We cut two pieces of 35cm l-lists to be our shelves. From these we saw away a small piece (widht is equal to the width of the frame) from both ends like seen in the first picture.

This gave us two simple shelves and the third shelf is the bottom frame plank.

Next we placed the frame on the plywood and cut a suitable piece to be our back piece.

If you don't have table saw available, cutting the plywood might be tricky. Luckily plywood is very easy to tool afterwards with sandpaper so it is easy to sand away excess from the edges.

Step 5: Putting Everything Together

Nail the plywood to the back and if you haven't nail the top support beam yet, now it ís time to do that too.

Glue the "shelves" to their positions (if you wish, you can also nail them carefully).

Glue also the round list as a "spice bottle railing". The big screws in the picture are just keeping the round list on it's place. They are not actually used for anything else. This was improvised this way because we ran out of clamps.

When glue is set, you can apply wood filler for all the holes and cracks you might have.

Step 6: Finishing

When the filling and glue is set you can start preparing to paint the shelf.

Use sandpaper to carefully remove extra wood filling and other excess wood.

Find some leftover paint and paint your shelf.

Let the paint dry.

Step 7: Pretty Flowers

No spice shelf should be without accessories. So let's make some simple roses.

Draw a picture on a paper and cut it out with exacto knife (or any other weapon of choice).

Tape the cutout drawings on the sides of the frame.

Apply some paint on the sponge. This is best to be done by applying the paint with a paintbrush so you don't get too much paint.

Carefully "stamp" down the pictures and remove the paper.

Re-do the process as many times as you wish and with as many pictures you wish.

Step 8: Instructions of Use

Place your beautiful shelf on its dedicated location.

Put all your spices in the shelf.

Enjoy cooking because now all your spices are easily accessible and all labels are easy to read.

Now your first time woodcraft project is ready. This is excellent practice for example to do with kids of all ages. And of course your kitchen has now more order and space.

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017