Posted by: Lance Vaughn | January 9, 2008

Spice Rack 2.0

Just over a year ago, Kristin and I decided we were tired of digging for spices while cooking or, worse yet, discovering at the last minute that we didn’t have what we needed. It was time for some serious organization. I let my obsessive compulsive nature take over and worked up a pretty good system. In the process, we freed up a lot of valuable kitchen cabinet space, but as time passed, we decided my first attempt at a homemade spice rack was a bit too cumbersome. It was a great learning experience and one that I have recently leveraged when I went back to the drawing board for Spice Rack 2.0.

As you can see in the photo below, my previous solution (Spice Rack 1.0) was definitely a step in the right direction. No more spice cabinet mayhem! I used four metal cases, each of which held fifteen individual spice canisters. The spices were sorted alphabetically within each of the metal cases, which were stored conveniently nearby. The main drawback of this design was having the spices divided up into the separate cases. Every time we cooked, we’d have to get all four cases out and open them up to find the spices we needed and then put the cases away. The spice canisters that were left in the cases would then shift around, which meant when the cooking was done, we’d have to get the cases back out and reorganize everything again. In hindsight, this really didn’t save us any time or hassle. We had just traded one problem for another.

For Spice Rack 1.0, I had selected canisters, or tins, from Lee Valley. I initially thought I liked the smaller one ounce canisters, but over time I came to the conclusion that they were just too small. We were constantly refilling them and digging through our reserve spices, which we had stashed away in a box on the floor of the pantry. With Spice Rack 2.0, I opted to go with canisters from Kamenstein which are three times the size. Not only do we have to refill them less often, but most spices come in similarly sized packaging, so we don’t have nearly as many spices stored in the reserve box. When we went from Spice Rack 1.0 to 2.0, we reduced the number of spice jars in our reserve box from more than thirty to a small handful.

As soon as I got my hands on one of the Kamenstein canisters, I was immediately impressed. They were sturdier and had the look and feel of a quality, finished product. The Lee Valley canisters are delivered to your door with unfinished edges, scratches all over and metal shavings floating around in them. The compression fitting for the lids are inconsistent, with one tighter than the next. And if you hold them too tightly while putting a lid on or taking it off, they bend, making the process even more difficult. The Kamenstein canisters are made out of a thicker, polished aluminum and the lipped edges provide additional structural support. Also, the Kamenstein canisters are so clean out of the box, you almost feel like you’re wasting time wiping them down.

By no means am I trying to slam Lee Valley or their products; I just think their canisters are meant for a more industrial or workshop setting. After all, they are called Watchmaker’s Cases. The Kamenstein canisters are obviously manufactured for kitchen use. They have holes around the top for pouring your spices: four small holes for sprinkling and one larger hole for more liberal application. Finally, the Kamenstein canisters have magnets on the back of them, whereas the Lee Valley canisters do not. One could easily glue a magnet to the back of the Lee Valley canisters or even apply some velcro if you wanted to go that route, but when considering the quality of the canister itself, I just can’t recommend it. Pay a little more for the superior product and you’ll be happy you did.

When I originally brainstormed Spice Rack 1.0, I pondered the idea of labeling them to make it easy to find things. But once I started putting our spices into the canisters and marveling at the idea of being able to actually see the spices through the clear canister lids, I decided it might be cool to leave the label off the front. Over time, I thought, we would learn to identify the spices by sight, and a label on the back would allow us to double-check things just to make sure. And having them filed alphabetically as we did certainly helped with this learning process, but I can tell you the novelty wore off pretty quickly. Sometimes when you’re cooking, you’re simply not in the mood for guessing games. You need the cumin, and you need it now.

So, for Spice Rack 2.0, I bought a label maker — something I’ve always wanted anyway. After standing in the isle at my local office supply store for nearly thirty minutes, I opted for a slightly more expensive product (Brother PT-1280) designed for Small Office use, rather than Personal use. This product uses a different labeling tape than the cheaper models and is really two tapes in one. It prints onto the white tape and then applies a clear tape to the top before ejecting it. This gives you a water-proof label that will never smudge or smear, and that’s perfect for the kitchen!

After manually cutting the first few labels with scissors to get them to fit nicely onto the canister lids, I thought to myself, “Shouldn’t I just be able to tell the label maker how long I want my labels?” Sure enough. Within a few minutes, my label maker was producing labels 1.8 inches long. In the picture below, you can see the two dots to the left of “Wasabi”. Once the tape is ejected, all I have to do is cut the label where those two dots are and I have a 1.8 inch label with my title perfectly centered.

So, that’s the canisters, but there were a few more important decisions to make. I hit the Internet pretty hard looking to see if I could find someone else with a good DIY do-it-yourself solution. Here is a blog I found that was really helpful, mostly for all of its comments. After reading this post a few times and contemplating everyone’s ideas, I came to the conclusion that a magnetic dry erase white board was the best possible solution for storing the canisters. The biggest benefit is that it works for any arrangement or personality. You can arrange your spices in whatever order or perceived grouping you want. This was huge for me, because after going through what I went through with Spice Rack 1.0, I really wanted flexibility, first and foremost. If after awhile I decide I have a better idea on how to organize our canisters, there’s nothing holding me back.

In addition to having the flexibility of grouping spices and moving them around, a white board also allows me to mark on it, of course. I can indicate which spices are running low or keep a list of any new spices (or other groceries) I want to buy. If I want to draw lines around related or complementing spices, I can do that. Total freedom for creativity! Having this ability to mark up my spice board is, in my mind, what makes this a better solution than a velcro rack. Sorry, Alton. You’re still my hero!

For my initial stab at arranging our spices, I came up with three general groups: spices, peppers, and seasonings (spice mixes). At first, I was just going to have all our peppers in their own group pushed over to the side or circled with a red marker, but then I happened to run across some of the Kamenstein canisters at World Market that were painted red. Perfecto! I know this goes against my original argument of flexibility, but back in my Spice Rack 1.0 days, I had grouped the peppers separately from all the other spices, so I knew I liked it this way. (You can see all our peppers in the lower right of the Spice Rack 1.0 picture.) I haven’t been able to find these red canisters available anywhere online, otherwise I’d point you to them. As for our seasonings, I decided to store them beneath the peppers, using the red canisters as a divider.

As you can see in the photo below, my initial arrangement is rather orderly. The spices are in alphabetical order starting in the upper left corner going down. Once I got down to the peppers, I started back up at the top and ended up with three columns and a little room to grow. For those spices for which we had multiple types (Paprika, Roasted Paprika, etc.), I put the two side-by-side. This approach creates a lot of white space and makes things easy to find. You can see the peppers near the bottom separating the spices from the seasonings. If you check back with me in a year, we’ll probably have a totally different arrangement. That’s the beauty of it!

You’ve probably noticed by now that I opted to mount the white board to the back of our pantry door. This keeps it out of sight, mostly in the dark and away from the heat of the stove. The 24×36 inch white board fits perfectly onto the back of the door. Now, when we cook, we just leave the pantry open and we have access to virtually everything we need without having to constantly open and close doors.

The final piece of the puzzle was how to mount the white board to the door. We have a new house, so I didn’t want to drill any holes or mark anything up in any way. Hanging it from the top of the door wasn’t an option either, because I didn’t want it swinging around or knocking against the door. This got me thinking about adhesives. The problem with adhesives is that they can leave residue behind when you remove them or possibly even pull away paint.

After a bit of research, I found a product by 3M called Picture Hanging Strips, part of their Command Strips product family. When you remove these strips after adhering them, you pull down on them in such a way that, according to 3M, keeps them from leaving residue behind or pulling off paint. (Notice the little tabs at the bottom of the velcro-style strips in the picture below.) Now, I haven’t tested this to be sure, but in the end, it was the best solution I could find. The Picture Hanging Strips have two parts that snap together sorta like velcro so that I could reposition the board if I didn’t get it up straight the first time. This also will allow me, when I’m ready to take the white board down for good, to pull the board down and then carefully remove the adhesive strips from the door. It’s a bit of a leap of faith on my part, but I am happy with the choice I made. I placed twelve of these around the back of the board, held it up firmly against the door for 30 seconds and let go. Voila! Board mounted!

So, there you have it. Spice Rack 2.0! Coming in at just under $200 (including the label maker), it’s certainly not the cheapest option. After all, just leaving your spices all jumbled in your kitchen cabinet doesn’t cost you a cent. But, for those of us who love to play in the kitchen, the joy of having our spices organized and easily accessible is, well, priceless!

. . .

Answers to some common questions:

  • No, I haven’t seen Alton Brown’s spice rack, but have heard it is similar. I’m not claiming to have “invented” anything here. I am merely sharing the details of my thought process and experience in hopes of helping others who are interested in a similar spice rack solution. Spice rackers unite! 😉
  • Yes, I’ve tried slamming my pantry door several times, and the magnets held perfectly.
  • I bought the canisters at the Container Store. They were $4.99 for 3. I bought sixteen packages for a total of $80. The red ones were $2 each. I bought eight of those for a canister total of $100. The white board was $50. The label maker was $35. I also bought an extra package of labeling tape and some markers. So, yeh, $200.


  1. WOW! You did good! Looks great and how handy. Seems like the perfect solution for your kitchen.

  2. i’ve used a bunch of those 3m products, and even after 2 years, i was able to pull them off the wall without taking up any paint or leaving any residue – one of my favorite things!

  3. I’ve been thinking the same thing… Just a thought, what happens if the pantry door gets slammed? How strong are those magnets?

  4. Hey, I love those containers. I thought I had seen very similar ones at Ikea already, but I’m not able to find them on their website anymore.

    Now I only need to figure out how to get those to Germany 🙂

  5. Fabulous! A perfect example of how taking a little time to think up the right solution can save you tons of time in the long run.

  6. I have been working on my magnetic spice rack for a while. I had to decide whether to print labels or write on them, I had my wife write on them. Looks nicer that way. I bought the canisters at crate and barrel. They are not magnetic but Ikea sells magnetic boards, but I really like the idea of having it as a whiteboard also. Thanks for the idea! The canisters do not have the nice clear lid either but that way I can store them in the light. They come in multiple colors.

  7. Dude, that spice rack is sweet! Thanks for sharing the info. I think I want to do something like that.

  8. Alton Brown did that a few years back, only with velcro on the backs of the canisters.

  9. Impressive…I’m guessing that you don’t watch Food Network? There’s a show called “Good Eats”, and the Host, Mr. Brown, has had one of these since 2004 – I believe that he installed his on the pantry door, as well.

    I understand that there are very many people without access to Cable TV, which is why I asked if you watched Food Network.

    The idea is truly wonderful, and it definitely saves a LOT of time from searching through bottle after bottle, often on the highest shelf!

    Good job and thanks for bringing this to the internet!

  10. $200!? i found those exact same canisters at a linens n’ things store for 99 cents each (actually they were 25% off so i got an even better deal). mine are on the side of the fridge, but i like the dry erase board — i might have to steal that idea.

  11. What a great idea! I’ve been trying to get my kitchen all organized, and this would come in pretty handy 🙂

  12. We did something similar, but were very disappointed with the containers themselves. Spices get caught in the lid. Gets messy…

  13. I LOVE this idea, but are the magnets strong enough to keep the spices from falling if the door gets slammed?

  14. Awesome idea! My spices are all jumbled together in little plastic bags (yay bulk spices), and it’s really hard to find what I’m looking for or know when I’m out of something. I love the idea of putting the spices on a board on the wall, it doesn’t take up any extra counter space.

  15. I got these for my mom last year. they save a lot of cupboard space and are very pleasant to ;look at.

  16. Thanks for this! It made me dream up this suggestion: If you have a baby, know someone who does, or have a great reuse craft store like S.C.R.A.P. in Portland, OR, save those smaller half-sized glass baby food jars to use instead! With some strong magnets (the biggest expense, most likely) you’ve got yourself a nice homemade, inexpensive spice storage solution. Probably works best on the side of a refrigerator, though, or something that doesn’t swing opened or shut.

  17. Awesome, dude. I’ve passed this blog link onto the crew at Good Eats. His is more on the his cabinet doors, but you took it to the next level with finding the right canisters and hanging applications.

    #1 Good Eats Aficionado

  18. Awsome spice rack. I wish I had a pantry so I could do this 🙂 I don’t have any wall space in my kitchen, and only normal cabinets.

    As car as the command strips go: make sure, when you do remove them, that you pull straight down against the wall. If you pull it away from the wall at all, you risk messing up your paint (this was the only time I had one mess up the paint). I have used them a great deal, even in my classroom, and they work wonders.

  19. I like it.

    Would kind of miss the smell I get when I open my spice cuboard though

  20. Can you confirm that you didn’t add magnets to the canisters – ie all the magnetism needed comes from the board?

  21. Ignore the post above – you didn’t mention that they were magnetic containers in the article – I followed the links and found them to be labeled as magnetic – how about a summary how to?

  22. I was very impressed with your work and all the explanations; I assume you never entered an IKEA store, because there you can find such items at a very low price, in various dimensions.

  23. Can you complete a set and sell it to me if I tell you the needed dimensions of the whiteboard?

  24. Hi, I tried to find the Kamenstein containers at The Container Store, but only found the premade spice racks. Any chance someone can post a link to the $4.99 for 3 tins? Thank you!

  25. Terrific idea. I’ve been wondering what to do with all my spices, now I know! Boy, I wonder if husband has any clue about what I’m about to get him to do. I am totally pinching your idea!

    Thanks for the excellent post.

  26. […] it could be done a lot cheaper than he did it probably..Just thought I would share with ya all Spice Rack 2.0 v a u g h n a u s t i n __________________ […]

  27. Awesome job and thanks for sharing. Many of the issues you had to work around – keeping enough spices ready to go, storing in the dark, finding quickly – were also issues that my family business faced when we went to design a better spice rack. We came up with SpiceStack – a three-drawer organizer that holds 27 standard spice bottles from the grocery store (or your own bulk spices in jars) all in the kitchen cabinet.

    If any of your readers don’t have the time or $200 to recreate your rack, SpiceStack might be a good quick-fix solution for their spices. Check it out at and Happy Organizing!

  28. Thanks.. .I was going to buy the Lee Valley type. I’m definitely rethinking that approach. Appreciate the tip.

  29. a reason to buy a label maker. Delicious

  30. Good sir, THAT is clever as hell! Thank you so much for sharing the details of this project, it’s something I am going to look into more!

  31. I can’t do this now due to the weird shape of my kitchen. But, when we move, I’m doing this. If I knew a little more HTML, I’d make this text green.


  32. this is a great post! awesome rack 😉

    I’ve been wanting to make a magnetic spice rack for years…thanks for all the tips and ideas!

  33. This idea is beautiful!! I love it. The whole time I read your blog, I was thinking…”sheet metal”. Sheet metal is magnetic and it can look really good too. Plus, it matches the canisters. It would keep it more “industrial” like in the kitchen. I don’t know if that’s the word.
    I use the cheaper canisters for scrapbooking supplies and know that they wouldn’t work too well with spices as the lids aren’t too sturdy, but these other ones you’ve shown are fantastic!! Cool!

  34. I’m jealous of the back door real estate, which I don’t have. My solution was to have standard spice jars standing up in a drawer, and after running out of room I discovered glass vials about 12mm wide and the same height as my spice jars. This is where I put cream of tartar, ground allspice, things that I use 1/2 teaspoon of at a time very infrequently. The things that you need to have, but a very small amount will do. And I’m a graphic designer, so I made some funky colour coded labels – mustard yellow for curry powders and spice blends, burgundy for chili related items, green for oregano, thyme etc., gray for any whole spices. It makes it a lot easier to zone in on the jar that I need. I have achieved personal spice drawer nirvana!

  35. I like this, and will remember it! I too bought a label maker (which I too had always wanted!) for my spices. I also bought a 5′ x 2′ CD case — like a bookcase, but shelves are narrower, and spaced for CDs. (I cook Indian and Mexican, and I have a LOT of spices!) My spices are alphabetically on those shelves. But if I find myself in a smaller kitchen, will definitely consider your idea! Thanks for posting it.

  36. Good stuff! My mother bought a couple magnetic metallic spice canisters that look similar to yours a few months ago from Christmas Tree Shops. Our fridge actually has magnetic sides too (and it’s right next to the stove) so we just stick the canisters onto there. It’s absolutely wonderful and I’ve loved it ever since she bought it. I love your detailed descriptions and photos!

  37. I love the fact that you put the whole rack inside your pantry, instead of wall mounting it in the open like the ‘fancy’ magazines with the same setup do.

    You’d think people would realise that open air/light storage would take away both flavor and color.

  38. I have these magnets. They are very strong but they are extremely tough to open with the spices in them. They have no lubrication or graphite in the turning mechanism and thus they become very tough to use.

  39. WOW!!! This is an awesome idea! What a great idea for space-saving!

  40. You need to get out more !

  41. […] here I thought I was compulsive about trying to keep my spice rack in alphabetical order.  v a u g h n a u s t i n  takes it to a whole new level. (Which brings back the memory of the time my sister visited, and […]

  42. Love it! What a space saver.

  43. What a great idea. Thanks for the helpful article!

  44. […] – OK, now for the cool blog my sister found… Vaughn Austin.  He explains it much better than I ever could, but basically he has purchased a bunch of small […]

  45. Oh, I’ve been wanting to find a spice solution for a long time. Mine of stored inside tupperware containers on a tiny (and nearly useless) bit of countertop I have. It’s NOT working because they don’t all fit well and now I have quite a mess on that even more useless bit of countertop. I LOVE your spice rack. Can’t you just send me yours? My only issue is that I can’t put it anywhere but the wall behind the stove. It literally is the only space in the kitchen it could go. And I don’t have $150 right now to spend (I already have a labeler). I’ll be saving your space for when I can make one in a few months. Thanks!

  46. Three years ago, my friend Katie and I started brainstorming about ways to solve this very same problem. We had two goals — an organized spice cabinet, and a way to do what all the spice companies tell us to do, which is protect spices from light and air so they don’t go stale. We came up with a whole new way to store and use spices. Check it out at Our tins store and stack easily — and I suspect they will work fine on a magnetic eraser board. Even better, with these pre-measured teaspoon packets, the last teaspoon of spice in the tin tastes as fresh as the first. Spice flavors are too delicious to waste!

  47. What a totally cool idea!!! I love it!! I just gave the printout to my husband! He told me to get off the internet! What a fabulous way to store spices and so easy. Thank you!!

  48. that is a great idea. how solid is it, i mean have you nudged any off the board accidentally yet?

  49. This is really nice of you to be so through in your description, pictures and examples. Most sites are just not very good, and expect people in general to be mind readers. I commend you. Best wishes, Holly

  50. thrilling – not for the work itself, but for sharing your thought process – you write very well

  51. […] cool new spicerack Elizabeth saw this post from a fellow Austinite, and immediately went Ooh! She forwarded it to me, and we started in on this DIY […]

  52. We considered doing something like that but didn’t want to have to buy all of those pricy containers. I opted for this method:

    Good to know that it sticks when you slam the door though. That was one of our big concerns.

  53. love it!!!! Wish I had a pantry door to copy your system… it definitely appeals to my organization OCD side. Madelyn – KarmaFreeCooking

  54. I’m coveting.
    In a completely proactive and healthy way of course. And I even dare say yours is even more brilliant than dear Alton’s.
    That feels like such blasphemy.

  55. Wow! I am having a spice issue in my house. I think you just gave me the perfect solution to my problem, and will help me free us a ton of cabinet space! Thanks

  56. I love it, thanks so much for detailing what products you used and how much it cost you. I have a lot of spices as well and the traditional methods for spice storage just don’t cut it. I can’t wait to get this setup in my house (waiting for pfaltzgraff to get the kamenstein containers back in stock at the moment). Anyway, thanks again.

  57. my friend wants one in red can u post the link for the red tins!!! and does anyone know where to get a red magnetic board?

  58. Hey, thanks so much for explaining how you ended up with this spice rack, I’m in the same position (have something like 60 spices) and am about to implement this. I just wanted to say that I found the Kamenstein containers at Pfaltzgraff for slightly cheaper (3.99/3) – – they are currently sold out so I’m just waiting for them to be back in stock. I also found the same containers in red/black/white now. They are made by a company called Lipper and I just happened across them at Bed Bath and Beyond the other day. They don’t sell the containers separately – but they cost about $14/9 containers so it’s not a bad deal – just search Targets site for Lipper Spice and you’ll see the different options. Hope this helps anyone wanting to implement this amazing spice rack, I can’t wait to get mine setup.

  59. Hi there,

    I just stumbled accross your blog by using stumbleupon and love the design of the whole thing! I normally skip straight past food blogs as I have over 20 in my RSS and dont even have enough time to read the ones that I have! I am started out as a blogger myself and always tried to keep the design simple like yours as I think it is crucial, especially if you can back it up with some nice food pics like yours! Keep up the good work and if you feel like sharing some of the photos with other foodies pop over to which is my new site for foodies! Cheers!

  60. […] Using red containers to denote hot spices is genius bordering on obsession, yet very cool. Link to full story with lots of pics. Spread the word: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers […]

  61. […] pizza today so I didn’t need my spices anyway but I need a system. I found this wonderful DIY spice rack on Vaughnaustin’s blog. They put it on their pantry door and although I don’t have a pantry I could convert part of […]

  62. UG! If only I had found your blog 2 weeks ago! I just received my leevalley cases…and the dismay when I opened the box! They are SO small!!!

    I did a quick search and found your blog, and will soon be purchasing my boxes from the co. you recommend.

    I am originally from Houston and am a Longhorn, nice to read an Austin blog!

  63. Great idea & design. I love everything about it and the detailed description of your process is fabulous. I’m totally going to borrow this idea. Maybe customise it a little but that’s evolution right? Great blog, made it a favorite for sure.

  64. That is so awesome and well organized. Very nice!

  65. Has anyone been able to find the red cannisters? I have been unable to locate them.

  66. […] saw this spice rack on the internet, and was immediately like “OMG WANT,” especially since at the time I […]

  67. […] mom came to visit I got the magnetic knife racks from IKEA. I was inspired by Vaughn Austin not to use the cheap watchmaker tins from Lee Valley Tools, but to go with nice Kamenstein […]

  68. You know, I have the same Kammenstein containers. I got them all at world market. Do you ever have a problem with the lids coming off? They seem really loose sometimes. You definitley don’t want to pull them off the fridge by the lid! You want to pull them off by the base. Have you found the same problem? I always have to remind guests not to touch my spices!! 🙂

  69. I’m thinking of making a stackable version of this, and while I like the spouts for pouring and sifting spice, I’m thinking of opting for a screw-top lid. Something like the 3 oz container found here ( Anyone have any experience with this? Cheap is good for me, and magnetic is probably not a big deal.

  70. I second the question of where to find the red magnetic spice tin containers; I can’t find them anywhere!

  71. Very cool idea. I’ve seen those canisters before, but only thought of my fridge to put them on. You’re very clever.

  72. This is awesome! I am inspired to organize my spices this way and open up mycurrent spice cabinet for other things! Great post!

  73. WOW! Stroke of genius to use a magnetic white board.

    How do you like the containers after you have been using them awhile? I have read various reviews and have decided I would prefer stainless steel containers over tin. Are the ones you have stainless and do you have problems with the lids? Do the magnets fall off? Seems to be two complaints I am reading out there. And if I keep them in the light ones with solid rather than clear lids might be preferable.

    I found that Ikea sells a very inexpensive magnetic metal sheet that can be hung inside a cupboard or on the wall in the kitchen. I might go that route to match my kitchen colors and put the spices on wall beside counter. If not, will investigate your method. My cupboard door is long and narrow and I may not be able to find a white board in the correct dimensions. The magnetic sheet metal can be cut to any size with tin sheers.

    K& makes the most awesome magnets if you need super strong magnets to make your own containers at any point. I am an artist and use them to hang work.

    I am thinking of finding good stainless containers for my spices and adhering magnets to the bottoms if I can’t find some that are magnetic already if the brand you are using is not proving to be ideal.

    I was wondering why you did not print clear labels on a printer to use for your containers. Is there an inherent drawback to that plan that I have not yet discovered? Of course, it was a good excuse to buy the nice label maker. I am just not sure if I would use it for any other project. Have you?

    Follow-up feedback on your 2.0 system now that it has been in place for awhile would be great.

    Thanks for taking the time to educate us!

  74. […] thread is also really helpful. Here are another two posts about a similar system to our own, and Spice Rack 2.0 was useful as […]

  75. another link to clear top canisters of all sizes and shapes:

  76. Hi! When you mentioned this to me at that party this week, I had no idea it would be so “engineered!” I think it’s great that you have obviously enjoyed this so much, and that you are thrilled with the results. As an organizing expert, one of my biggest messages is about things not being perfect but being “good enough.” We also talk a lot about having an ROI on any project– for you the return was your enjoyment and appreciation for your system. However, you do have to transfer your spices into the canisters ongoing and you’ve spent a great deal of time on this. I would like to suggest to your readers that an alternative solution is regular spice containers on a turntable (double-decker turntables are really great). In just a couple of spins, you can usually locate something quickly. But it sure doesn’t look as cool as your system! Yours is definitely a conversation piece! 🙂 It was really nice to meet you. See you next time!

    – Lorie Marrero
    Creator of The Clutter Diet®

  77. You’ve got to patent this. And also, have you tried sending this link to a magazine such as “Real Simple”? I can see container store paying lots of money to buy your idea. PATENT IT! There’s a cost of about $12K if you hire a small firm to patent something, and you could also choose the route of patenting it yourself. There’s a famous book called “Patent iut yourself” which could be a good guide. All the best!! –Deepa

  78. You should change your link for the Kamenstein tins. has them listed at $4 ea, but I found them at for $1.50 ea. Buy 20 tins that that’s the difference between spending $80 and spending $30. Plus if you go to, you can usually find a coupon code to knock the price down a little more. Suddenly Spice Rack 2.0 isn’t so cost-prohibitive!

  79. Loved your post! I am working on a similar solution. Just wanted to note that Ikea has magnetic containers with more capacity (over 7 oz. or 220 ml vs. yours at 3 oz.). They are somewhat difficult to find on their website as they are referred to only as containers in the description. Link to the containers on the Canadian Ikea site:

  80. I made my own spice rack. I was so inspired by your idea. Thanks so much!

  81. Thanks to your blog I, too, made a magnetic spice rack. I am so glad I used the Kamenstein spice tins. Question – after a year have you had any problems with rust? Also, I put salt in one of them – not sure if that will cause the tin to deteriorate or not. Finally, I used round, clear labels for my tins, as I thought they showed off the spices more. Anyway, great ideas and insight! I really appreciated your information. For now I have the tins on my refrigerator because we have a very small kitchen. Having my spices organized has made cooking so much easier and fun – before I could never find anything! Thanks again ~Laurie

  82. […] Spice Rack 2.0 [vaughn austin] OUTSOURCERS: Buy an expensive spice rack that may not suit your specific needs.INSOURCERS: Determine  your exact needs, then build a custom design that improves your workflow.  Feel rewarded knowing that you brainstormed and executed a custom solution! […]

  83. Staples has the magnetic jars for 99 cents (they have the labeler too!!)
    Such a good buy.

  84. Splendid just what I need in my kitchen. Perfect. I like to put ginger powder in my coffee ace. When I get my new kitch I am going to have a set of these

  85. Great idea overall and for the tip on where to find the tins! I really like the idea of having the hot stuff colored red. The labeler that you use, and many other similar ones, have different colored label tape that you can buy in addition to the plain white. So, even if you can’t find red tins, you could still use red-on-white text or a red background label to suit the same purpose.

  86. I love this! I’m planning on setting one of these up as a gift for fiance (he saw Alton’s, and decided one day he’d have one). My problem: I can’t find the magnetic containers (3oz, preferably) with a solid lid. I know he won’t like the clear lids. Suggestions?

  87. So glad I got to read your post about your progress of updating your spice collections! I’ve just finished re-organize my spice jars yesterday! Mine was just simply in a drawer as I’m petite and I can’t reach any higher than the first shelf of my kitchen cabinet! My boyfriend thought I was crazy spending hours/ days thinking and re-evaluating on how best to organize my spices. I’ll let him read your post to understand how important it is to organize spices!

    Thanks for posting!

  88. […] I must make myself this spice rack after we move. […]

  89. I also built your first spice rack, right down to ordering the same watch-makers tins. They didn’t hold together quite so well, the magnets sometime came off, and I too have built a similar creation on my wall. I used some magnetic strips I purchased at Ikea (~$3 a piece) and those same tins from Bed Bath and Beyond.

    I don’t have a picture of mine, but I think your first spice rack idea has inspired a lot of us to come up with similar methods also.

    Great job, love the way it looks.

  90. […] when we move in the near future, I’m ripping off  this beautiful concept of spice storage.  Each spice is in its own labeled magnetic container, held […]

  91. I received these from my mom, I had seen them at Meijers for around 3 for 3 if i recall. You should check it out. Great ideas. Gotta go with the labeler. Great idea as some of my spices are very rare.

  92. You can save a lot of money off of this project by getting your canisters and the magnetic board for $12 at Ikea. Also, I would just use a Sharpie (preferably silver) on the canister instead of buying a labelmaker. and

  93. This looks awesome! I’ve been toying around with some ideas for a spice rack, and I think I’ll copy yours. : ) My only question is about the holes in the canisters — is this impacting your spice quality/shelf life? I was under the impression that many spices should be stored air tight.

  94. Absolutely Awesome!

  95. I’ve been looking at a bunch of different websites to determine the best DYI magnetic spice rack project for my space and level of craftiness…this was by far the best idea I found. Longest part is putting the spices in all the jars! LOVE IT! Thanks so much, I never would have thought of a dry-erase board!

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