Apothecary-labeled Test Tube Spice Rack




Quilter, crafter, maker, baker, coder, cook.

This instructable is based on noahw's Test Tube Spice Rack, and I used his links to find my test tubes, corks, and o-rings.  However, this instructable contains the addition of labels and the rack is constructed differently.

For this instructable, you will need:

For the rack
~a power drill
~1/8 and 3/8 inch drillbits
~8 or 10 foot strips of molding, cut into 18-inch sections.  (got mine from Home Depot, where they cut the pieces for me.)
~duct tape
~two machine screws and six nuts per rack, for a total of eight screws and 24 nuts.  Note that these will be visible, so get something that is at least a little visually pleasing.  I used brass #6, 2-inch machine screws and the nuts that fit them.
~Spices, of course!
~test tubes (25mmx150mm)
~a funnel for pouring spices into the tubes

for the labels:
~wallpaper glue
~plain white printer paper to print your labels on.  This is my first instructable, but I will find a way to share my labels in case anyone wants to use them.

Ready?  Let's go!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Drill Holes in Your Molding

First things first.  You have your molding, and you've cut it into strips of 18 inches or however wide you want your rack to be.  Next thing you have to do is attach your molding pieces to each other and to the work surface.  I used duct tape, but you classy people would probably want to use clamps, as long as you don't damage the molding.  Use the tape to make sure the pieces are flush with each other so that when you make your hole through both pieces, it lines up how you want it to.

Finally, measure where you want the hole to be and go for it!  I believe I did 3/8" from the top and 1/2" from the side for both holes.  Make sure to go into your "front" piece and out of your "back" piece to get a prettier front.  Drill down until the bit makes it through both pieces of molding and into the piece of scrap wood you used to protect your work surface ;)

Once you've drilled holes into each side of the rack, you have to un-tape the pieces and set the top piece aside.  depending on the length of the screws you bought and the width of the pieces of molding you got, you may need to inset the screws you just made holes for.  To do this, figure out how much you need to inset them by, and put a piece of tape on your 3/8" drillbit to mark how far up the bit that distance is.

Flip over your back piece of molding so that you are looking at the part that will be facing the wall.  Your two drill holes will be easily visible.  Trade up drillbits to the 3/8" bit and center it right over the already-drilled hole.  Drill down until the measuring-tape you put on the bit is flush with your piece of molding.

Once you have nice clean holes, you're ready to assemble the rack!

Step 2: Assemble the Racks!

Set aside the back piece of molding.  Take the front piece, and use your power drill to drill a screw into and then back out of it, to widen the hole just a little bit.  

Now take your back piece of molding again.  Screw your screw into the inset you made, from your inset towards the front.  Once you've sunk it nice and snugly, flip the piece over.  Put on two nuts.  Screw one down all the way to your back molding.  Leave the other an inch up the screw (you can use one of your test tubes to get an approximate gauge of the proper distance)  Do this for both sides.

Take the front piece of moulding and wiggle it down the screw into the nut.  You will have to work pretty hard to force it, so be patient and careful.  Once it's flush with the nut, screw one last nut on top, so that your front piece is sandwiched between two nuts and won't move back and forth on the screw.  

For now, leave it loose.  Once it's time to put the tubes in the rack, you will want to check, adjust, and tighten, because once you've done that the front nuts will bite into the front piece and be difficult to move.

Now is also the time to add whatever mounting hardware you want.  I used "keyhole hangers" and screwed them into the back.  Whatever way you choose to mount the rack, make sure that you have one on each side so that the rack is stable, and make sure that the hangers can survive a little jostling.  If you don't rent, consider bolting the things to the wall.

Step 3:

Print your labels!  My labels are available for your viewing and printing pleasure here, should you want to use them.  To give credit where it is due, many of the descriptions on my labels come either from Morton & Bassett (whose name I also used because it sounds like a great apothecary name, and to whom I have some loyalty since they are based in my childhood hometown of Novato) or from Penzey's.  If you want to make your own labels, just make sure they are less than 2x2" in, or they will be way too big for your tubes.  Set your design program to 300 dpi and once you're ready to print, set your printer to a fine setting. 

Print them out on plain white paper, then carefully cut them out.  place them upside down on a piece of scrap paper to protect your work surface.  Get out your wallpaper glue, pour a small amount into a little glass, and use the brush to paint the glue onto the back of the label.  Peel the label off your work surface, and place it carefully on the tube.  I place it center-first, smoothing up and down in a single line, and then around the sides.  You'll find a technique that works for you.  Since the glue isn't terribly sticky, you have some time to smooth down and adjust the label and make sure it's straight, correctly positioned, and wrinkle-free before you set the tube aside to dry.  The dried glue is easy to scrape off of glass, so don't worry if you smear some on your test tube tube.

Step 4: Fill Tubes and Place in Racks!

Put the o-ring on your tube, then use your funnel to fill the each tube with it's corresponding spice.  Cork that sucker!  Repeat till you run out of spices or tubes.  These tubes will hold about half a spice jar's bounty, but they look freaking awesome and are super accessible.  I have no problem refilling tubes and getting to store my spice jars in a less accessible place.  

Use one or two tubes as gauges to adjust the screws on your racks and tighten them so they are nice and firm, make sure that the o-rings hold the tubes firmly in the rack all the way along its length and not just at the ends, and then fill the racks and hang them. 

Cook something awesome.

Be the First to Share


    • Home Decor Contest

      Home Decor Contest
    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest

    15 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    And a great idea for liquids(olive oil, oil) would be tapered beakers and for the dry goods(flour, sugar, coffee) would be large different size beakers with cork lids. Turn the kitchen into a lab! Love your labels too!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I love that idea. I have an acquaintance who actually used a chemistry setup for his bar. I had considered using hanging titration bulbs--no idea what they are actually named--for dispensing oils, but they're expensive!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I think that visually, they look perfect. My one complaint is that I can't fit my measuring spoons inside the mouths, so I have to do a lot of gentle tapping to get the spices out. It's fine for things I don't bother to measure like garlic salt, but I recently had a debacle with cayenne pepper, which made for over-exciting chili.

    If I were to do it over I might try to go a little wider.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I was wondering if you could share how you made the design for the labels. I would like to make labels like yours but I can't see the details of them.

    5 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry, I didn't realize the pics I had uploaded weren't at a hundred percent res. I'll try to put up some new ones when I get home. In the meantime, there isn't much to say. Go to "1001 free fonts" to find some cool old-timey fonts you like. I've had good luck with the western section. Download those and install them on your computer. I used photoshop to make my pictures -- create a new canvas, 2in by 2 in at 300pixels per inch, and google around for pictures and descriptions of the spices. For finding images, I had good luck with " engraving" or " botanical drawing". Once you find them, copy and paste. To make the basic shape, I just used the line tool to create a double border around the edges (duplicating and merging layers is your friend) and googled around for images of borders, etc. Can't remember the search terms I used. There was very little actual "art" that I did. It was just finding stuff already available and using that.

    Hope this helps.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much! I'm gonna find some kind of texture for he background. Maybe canvas? I dunno. I think I'm going to do it in Illustrator though just because I like things be nice a sharp ^_^ thank you!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea -- there are a ton of great pieces of vector art for borders and things that you can find online. Just remember these labels are gonna be *small* so make sure any background you have is not distracting.

    Share a pic when you're done?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    This isn't actually for a spice rack perse, I am planning on making an Alchemy shelf and I am thinking about using this for bottles to mark which elixir is which.

    Thanks! Once I created the layout, it was pretty easy to go through and change it to suit each spice. The hardest part was finding old drawings for each one.