Saturday, March 10, 2012

DIY Spice Rack or Magnets, how do they work?

Apartments never have enough cabinet space, do they? In the nine months I've lived here, I've amassed quite the collection of spices. Most were from the supermarket, but others I dried myself and stored in ziplock bags. I quickly grew tired of digging through my "collection" to find what I needed.

How could I solve this problem? Countertop spice racks were out of the question, as I have less counter space than cabinet space. Plus, they all seemed to come with spices. I already had spices, hence my issue. I didn't need more!

A wall-mounted spice rack seemed the way to go, but the reasonably priced ones I found online were ugly. It was during this search that I discovered magnetic spice racks, and thought they were the perfect solution. Sleek! Shiny! Space-saving! But the prefab racks were so expensive, and some didn't hold many jars at all.

I decided to DIY it. Using theKitchn's article on making your own magnetic spice rack as reference, I got to it.

Step 1: Prepare the back

I decided to drill 7 holes in the sheet metal: 3 along the top, 1 on each side in the middle, and 1 on each bottom corner. Place painters tape over each drilling area before you start. Sand each hole after drilling to remove any pointy bits, and mop up any shavings with some more tape.

Use tape to pick up metal shavings after drilling.

Step 2: Prepare the wall

This part is easier with two people. Hold the sheet metal against the wall where your rack will hang, then drill holes in the wall.

A folded post-it note catches stray drywall dust!

Insert drywall anchors into the holes for maximum holding capability.

Step 3: Pretty-fy the back

This step is optional. I was originally going to go with plain metal, but I stumbled across a tablecloth in Target which matched my dishtowels perfectly. Fate?

Lay the metal on the tablecloth, or whichever fabric you've chosen. Cut around the metal, leaving about 1 inch extra around.  It doesn't have to be exact.

Do this next part outside, or in a well-ventilated area away from pets, kids, or valuables. Lay the sheet metal on the dropcloth, then coat with the spray glue. Smooth the fabric over the metal and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Then flip the metal over, spray the perimeter, tightly pull the edges of the fabric over and smooth. Let it sit for some more.

Once dry, find the holes under the fabric and drill so you're not blindly searching when it comes time to hang on the wall.

Step 4: Hang on wall

Again, this part's easier with help. Hold the metal up to the wall, place a washer on the screw, then drill into the wall.

Step 5: Assemble the jars

Mason jars come with 2-piece lids (ring and flat lid). I was concerned about spills when prying off the flat lid, and didn't want to glue the pieces together, so I bought the 1-piece lids. 

I glued 3 magnets to the inside of the lid in a triangle formation. These magnets are crazy strong and quite fond of each other. After gluing, hold down the magnets for a bit so they don't merge in the middle.

Be careful with these magnets!
Keep out of reach of kids and pets.

When the glue is dry, place the flat lids that came with the jars over the magnets. They're a perfect fit, stay in place due to the magnets, and will keep the spices from coming in contact with the magnets.

No glue required.

Pour spices into the jars and label. You can make your own labels, or buy some really cute ones on Etsy, but I just used the ones that came with the jars.

Place jars on rack.

Step 6: Admire your handiwork

Nice rack!

Of course I'll have to patch up the holes when I move out, but whatever. I'm so happy with how it turned out! I don't have a lot of DIY or handyperson experience, so this was a perfect starter project. Try it out, and you'll feel like Bob Vila (or Bob the Builder) when you're done!

Best part, I've regained some of my cabinet space! Not all, as I bought some very large spice jars from the Christmas Tree Shops, and have a few duplicates due to not checking what I already have in stock before I go shopping.

(Click photos to enlarge)

Materials used:
  • Pre-cut stainless steel (24"x30"), drywall anchors, drywall screws, washers, epoxy, spray glue, and dropcloth: Lowe's
  • 4-ounce mason jars and one-piece lids: Fillmore Container (buy only "food safe" lids)
  • Neodymium magnets (1/2"x1/8"): Almost Free Magnets (look for factory seconds to save money!)
  • Tablecloth for stylish cover: Target
All of the above merchants receive my wholehearted stamp of approval. Fillmore let me specify exactly how many lids I wanted, where other vendors wanted me to buy a lot in bulk. The magnets were shipped from Hawaii and I got them in less than a week!

Seriously, give it a try, you'll be amazed at what you can do!

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