How to Make Your Own Magnetic Spice Rack | amybites.com

How to Make Your Own Magnetic Spice Rack

Since cabinet space is minimal in our kitchen, I decided to look into getting a wall-mounted, magnetic spice rack to free up some space. However, I soon realized that most pre-made versions are outlandishly expensive, and worse, they just didn’t have the look or the function that I wanted. Many have non-airtight, flimsy containers that come pre-filled with questionable spices that you may not even want or need, which drives the price higher. So I decided to make my own! When I posted a photo of the completed project on InstagramTumblr, and Twitter, I got a lot of comments and questions about it online and off, so I decided to make this how-to post. I’m really happy with how it came out, and it’s certainly saving us valuable cabinet space! Of course, I’m sure there are dozens of different ways you could accomplish a similar result, but I’m just sharing how I made mine and the sources for my materials. I was not incentivized by any of these sources, and I’m not getting any profit or kickbacks from the links below.

The Base

I got the stainless steel base from Amazon for $26 ($15 + $11 shipping). If you’re a handy person and want to save some money, you could buy a sheet of stainless steel from a hardware store or another supplier and drill holes for the screws in each corner yourself, but I opted to pay a bit more to have it ready to go. This also has rounded edges so you won’t injure yourself on sharp corners. I love the size of this (12×24″) because it’s narrow enough to make it a space-saving solution, but it’s pretty tall so I have room to grow into when I add spices to my collection. All you have to do with this is mount it to your wall with screws (or, in my case, have your boyfriend do it).

The Jars

I ordered these 3.75 oz. glass, hexagonal jars from SpecialtyBottle.com. I chose the hexagonal shape because as you can see, they fit together really nicely to use space efficiently, plus they create a nice honeycomb shape. Clear glass jars are suitable for my purposes since my spice rack isn’t in direct sunlight. However, if yours will be in direct sunlight, consider opaque glass bottles or another opaque container—just make sure they’re airtight and food-safe. That’s important to ensure the freshness and longevity of your spices. At 3.75 ounces, most of my store-bought spice jars’ contents fit easily in these bottles, and they’re light enough to be held by a strong magnet but hefty enough to feel sturdy. And at 64¢ each, they’re also cost efficient. I counted all the spices I use the most and decided that 30 jars would be best for me to start, so the tab came in at only $19. Shipping to my location was about $12, so the total was about $31.

The Magnets

This was the tricky part. I actually had to try several different types and sizes of magnets until I found one that worked: these super strong Neodymium magnets. They have a diameter of 3/4″, which is perfect to sit right in the center of the jar lids and hold them easily. At $14.99 for 10, they’re not cheap, but you have to use this size of Neodymium magnets or the jars will simply not hold. Trust me, I know from experience! Learn from my trial and error. These came to $45 for my 30 jars. [Edit: Reader Roxanne sent in a tip about another source for magnets that would come in just under $30 with shipping. Thanks! Edit 2: Another reader, Babs, says that these magnets were not strong enough in her experience.] To attach the magnets to the lids of the jars, I used a dot of Gorilla Glue superglue in the center of each lid, and carefully placed the magnet on top. These magnets are really, reallystrong, so be careful! Luckily, since they’re magnets and the lid is metal, you don’t have to hold them together while the glue sets—they provide their own pressure. Just let it dry for at least 30 minutes to an hour just to be safe before you try to mount the jars to the base.

The Labels

There’s a thousand ways you could label these jars—you could simply put some masking tape on the bottom of the jar and write the spice name on with Sharpie—but I decided to print some simple labels on some sticker paper that I had lying around. The cost of two sheets of sticker paper would be about $1.50 plus the miniscule cost of the ink to print the labels. You could also have your local print shop do this for a pittance. I just designed some 1.25″ circles in Adobe Illustrator and typed out all of my spice names, then printed them on the sticker paper. I used a 1.5″ diameter scalloped-edge paper punch that I had, but you can just cut them out with scissors or an X-acto knife. Then, I just peeled off the backing and stuck them on the bottoms of the jars as smoothly as I could.

That’s it!

Since I have a lot of room left on my spice rack as I continue building my collection, I used a magnet to attach a little index card I made to keep a running list of spices that need refilling soon. This is a great way to keep those low spices top-of-mind whenever you glance at your spice rack, so next time you go to the bulk spice aisle in the grocery store, you can just grab this card to make sure you get what you need. And you’re done! Just arrange your spices on the wall-mounted stainless steel base and you have your very own, DIY magnetic spice rack!

The total cost for this project was just over $100 (for 30 jars).

The cheapest comparable I could find is this 20-piece set for $85, which has a lot of complaints about the non-airtight containers, weak magnets, and general lack of function. All the others seem to come without a base, without jars, are poor quality, or only have room for a few jars. I guess it’s true that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! I really love how this spice rack looks and functions, and I think it’ll serve me well for years to come.

Notes
  • Again, you can save quite a bit more if you can create your own stainless steel mount or have another magnetic surface already in your kitchen that you can use.
  • You can also mount these on the side of your magnetic fridge, but only if you have a free, open side of your fridge (do not use the door—it withstands too much abuse and you don’t want to break a jar every time you open the fridge).
  • If you have a cabinet that can accomodate it (no interior shelves, adequate width to open the door without hitting the jars), you could mount the base on the inside of a cabinet door.

42 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Magnetic Spice Rack

  1. Tina

    Hi Amy, thanks so much for your information! I did want to direct you to https://www.kjmagnetics.com/blog.asp?p=spice-jars which is the same company your link above takes us to, but instead to their invaluable special magnetic spice jar set-up discussion. I ordered the magnets your link above takes us to but these are too weak to do the job. This company apparently has a lot of interest in using their magnets for these projects, so they did a nice comparison.

    Reply
  2. JanB

    I purchased my magnetic board at IKEA for under $5. Now on the hunt for containers. So thank you very much. The ones I bought were from The Container Store. They are BPA free but, not air tight and have magnetics on the back at $1.99 each. So if your wanting 30 it’s quite a bit.
    Thank you,
    Jan B

    Reply
    1. Steeps87

      specialtybottle.com as she mentioned in her project is amazing. They have all different types of bottles for really good prices. I bought the same jars she did and am very happy with the quality of the materials and how quick the shipping was.

      Reply
  3. Babs Evangelista

    Great project! Thank you for the great instructions. You might want to consider removing the link to the magnets that was sent in to you by Roxanne. I ordered them through that link and they are completely not strong enough. $30 down the drain! I will now order the ones you originally linked to and hopefully they will do the trick.

    Reply
    1. amybites Post author

      Yikes! Sorry about that. It seems different things work for different people based on the comments. I’ll edit the post and make a note of that.

      Reply
    1. amybites Post author

      Hmm, Traci – I don’t think that would work since the lids are pretty thick. If you try it and it works, definitely let us know!

      Reply
    2. Eleni

      I’ve been doing some research on this because many of the ones that are sold on etsy place the magnets inside the lid. They use super strong neodymium magnets, but when I researched the safety of these magnets, it said that they should not come in contact with food. It seems to me that it could be harmful to put the magnets inside the lid even though it would look better. If anyone knows of really strong food safe magnets that will not have issues coming in contact with the spices, please share because I would love to try it out. If not, I will also be putting the magnets on the outside of the lid.

      Reply
  4. Samantha

    I tried this, and it’s not working very well. I am using the side of my fridge, so perhaps that’s the issue? Some magnets pulled off as I was assembling the jars, and most of the remaining magnets stayed on the fridge when I went to remove the spice to use it! I’m not sure if the magnet is too strong or the glue is too weak….

    Reply
  5. Chris V

    Do you find it’s hard to get to jars in the middle so tightly packed? I think it looks nice, but it feels like you have to move things out of the way to actually grab jars in the middle.

    Reply
  6. Chris

    Just made something similar to this. You don’t have to glue the magnets if you just put them under the cap. The metal lid becomes a magnet for you. Enough to hold the bottle to the wall.

    Reply
  7. Alex

    I just ordered the jars & magnets you linked to from Amazon. FYI, the magnets are current $8 for a stack of 10! That makes the whole project for 30 jars $55 if you’re sticking them to the fridge. :)
    If you use the magnets K&J recommends from their inventory, the magnets alone would be $64 for 30 jars.
    After reading around, I’m going to try putting the magnets on the inside of the lid, and I’ll let you know how well it works.
    Did you have trouble with the magnets sticking together and breaking when you were unpackaging them? Even those who rated them 5 stars said they had difficulty with that. How did you avoid it?

    Reply
    1. amybites Post author

      Hi Alex – I was just very careful with the magnets, making sure to “slide” them apart rather than pull them. That seemed to work pretty well!

      Reply
  8. Alex

    I ordered the 3.75oz jars from Specialty Bottle, and the neodymium magnets you linked to on Amazon. A single magnet on the lid of the jar was not strong enough to hold the jar in place on the fridge- it would either slide down or just fall off. I’m not sure if your fridge is more magnetic than mine or the magnets I got weren’t as high quality. I was quite disappointed in the strength of the magnets- most of my dollar-store fridge magnets are stronger than the neodymium ones I got from Amazon.

    After a bit of testing, I found that if I put one of the neodymium magnets inside the lid and one outside the lid (so that they are attracted to each other, not repelled), they were able to hold the filled 3.75oz jar securely to the fridge. Even though that doubles the cost of the magnets, it is still $20 cheaper than ordering from K&J Magnetics.

    Reply
    1. amybites Post author

      Glad you were able to find something that worked for you! Unfortunately, magnetic pull varies from fridge to fridge. Mine is hardly magnetic, so that’s why I used a magnetic stainless steel base.

      The magnets worked great for me on that base, but like I said, it varies. I chose to keep them outside the lid because I was unsure about their food safety.

      Reply
  9. sean

    As to why this may not work- there are several variables here:
    1- The magnetic properties of the steel board- not all stainless steel is magnetic.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-dont-magnets-work-on
    2- the strength of the magnets- The N-number is related to the strength of this type of magnet.N 42 vs n52(the higher the N number, the stronger the magnet). Also the larger the magnet you attach to the top of the bottle, the more holding power it will have.
    3. Glue adhesion: to get the best bond use the strongest glue/epoxy. Make sure you scuff BOTH bonding surfaces for proper adhesion.

    Reply
  10. Marla

    Hi there! This is a wonderful tutorial and I thank you for sharing it. I bought the magnets from Amazon that you linked (and I’m using the shorter, more squat jars), but they still aren’t strong enough to hold my jars (or at least not strong enough for the salt I put into one to check it out) without them slipping. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  11. Anna

    I just followed this tutorial and bought the jars and magnetically you reccomended. I intended to stick these to the side of my fridge, but discovered the magnetic pull wasn’t strong enough. I am buying a metal base now and hopefully that will solve the problem.

    Reply
    1. amybites Post author

      Hi Anna – yeah, unfortunately the magnetic pull of some fridges is stronger than others. Hopefully the magnetic base solved that for you!

      Reply
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  13. Tina Adkins

    HI there – I was wondering why you didn’t use the magnet on the inside of the lid? And also, have you used the spice jars you crafted on your refrigerator at all and do you think they would work just as well on that surface?

    Thanks,
    Tina

    Reply
    1. amybites Post author

      Hi Tina – as another commenter said, I wasn’t confident that the magnets were food-safe, so I chose to keep them outside the lid. I (sadly) do not have a stainless steel fridge – ours is old and hardly magnetic, so I have not used the jars on it. However, if you have a nice, strong, magnetic stainless steel surface on yours, I’m sure it’d work great. It definitely will vary from fridge to fridge.

      Reply
  14. Gracie Wilkins

    Thank you so much for the idea!

    My wife is a fabulous cook and she has been wanting a spice rack. Since we have limited space on our counters, I looked for magnetic ones and thought their prices are ridiculous! Some were 120 and up! I am making this for her for Christmas and I really hope she loves it, because I know I do.

    Thank you for the step by step directions and giving the links to where you bought your items!

    BTW, the base is around 16 dollars now with the link you provided :)

    Reply
    1. Gracie Wilkins

      One more thing.. I can’t figure out Adobe Illustrator. I’ve downloaded it, and I’m in it, I just don’t know how to create the labels you did. Could you give a step by step on that? :)

      Reply
      1. amybites Post author

        Hi Gracie, there are lots of tutorials online on Illustrator! However, you can totally hand-write the labels or make them in another program. Do whatever works for you!

        Reply
  15. Theresa

    Hi Amybites! I love to cook & love this spice rack idea- just a quick question about your lids though, where did you find silver ones?? I’m shopping for bottles & jars right now & no one seems to have silver, brushed nickle or stainless steel lids! Thank you SO much for sharing this idea & info! Can’t wait to get mine going!
    ~Theresa

    Reply
    1. amybites Post author

      Hi Theresa! Maybe it’s a trick of the lighting in the photos, but my lids were not silver either! They’re a brushed brass/light gold color. It’s really not noticeable when the jars are mounted, but you could definitely look into some food-safe paint or even fabric coverings for your lids. Hope that helps! :)

      Reply
  16. Shelly

    Hi! I was searching for bead storage ideas because I have tons of beads. I make a lot of jewelry. I wanted an easy way to store them while seeing my inventory. I’m tired of remembering I’ve got this bead in this bag, this other bead in this box, etc. I believe your spice rack will work beautifully for bead storage. Plus, I can store them all by color. And, since the glass is see thru, it will look gorgeous with a light hung above it shining through the crystal beads. Just my plans and how I’m going to use your spice rack. Thank you for the instructions and the links.

    Reply
  17. Nicole

    Just ordered jars and magnets. I’m really excited to be able to free up space on the counter and in a cabinet by moving most of my spices to the side of the fridge. Here’s hoping the magnets hold well enough there!

    Reply
    1. Nicole

      Finished this project last night and did have the problem of my filled jars sliding down the side of my fridge, even with a magnet on both the outside and inside of the lid (cover the inside magnet w/packing tape!). I found the solution to that – I had printed labels on sticker sheet for the bottom of the jars and decided I’d put them on the lids also so I could tell what was in the jars when they were sitting on the counter. Lo and behold – all my jars stick FIRMLY on the side of my fridge now! No sliding at all.

      Thanks again for this post. Love my new “spice rack”. Not only has this freed up lots of cabinet space, but it’s also freed up counter top space and I can get rid of two old spice racks.

      Reply
      1. Beth

        Hi Nicole,
        I’m having the same problem of my jars sliding down and fighting having to buy more magnets. Are you saying you put stickers on the lids and then magnets and that did the trick?

        Reply
  18. Suzanne

    THANK YOU! I have had the etsy version pinned for a year because I just knew I could do it myself. I hate my current spice rack (they are magnetic tins but they are reallllly hard to open). I finally had enough and came searching for tips to make these – your article with links spelled it out for me so well that I don’t even have to think. Thanks :)

    Suzanne

    Reply
  19. ms marie

    Anyone else who has done this feel like the 3.5 is a little large?? I am contemplating the 2oz–a lot of my short bottle spices claim to only be about 1oz, AND would eliminate the issue most are having with the mags not being strong enough, because it would be smaller content to hold up….
    Anyone??

    Reply
  20. Kelly

    Did you get the shaker fitment for the tops of the jars somewhere? I like the hexagon shape, but the spice glass jars come with the shaker fitment, which is nice. I wonder if there is somewhere where we could buy just the shaker fitment that would fit on the hexagon jars?

    Reply
  21. Kavita

    Even plastic jars could be used…these are light weight…one may stick the magnet on lid using strong adhesive. Also plast8c would be light wt…anyone tried?

    Reply
  22. Victor

    Just ordered my stainless steel base. I’m going to save myself some work and get magnetic spice tins from World Market. They come in different colors and cost $1.99 each. You also don’t have to worry about fine ground spices from leaking out of the jars plus you can dispense directly from the tin without having to take the top off .

    You can find them at your local store or get them online here:

    The only thing I’m losing is the cool hex look. I think I can live with that.

    Reply
  23. Claire

    A couple of points
    1. Neodymium magnets should never be in contact with foods and I don’t know what would constitute a decent barrier but packing tape wouldn’t cut it for me.
    2. When buying Neodymium magnets, look for the N value, the higher the stronger. Some sites will even give the weight the magnet will support on a vertical plane.

    Reply
  24. Travis

    For those having trouble with the magnets you problems may lie in the steel you are trying to stick them to. Most grades of stainless steel exhibit to low magnetism. However, there are grades of stainless steel that would be great for this application.

    Reply
  25. Beth

    Hey Amy – Thanks for sharing this DIY – we get a lot of questions in our shop about how to make our product, so I can now send people your way! This discussion hits on a lot of the questions I get. It seems there are quite a few people having problems with jars sliding/magnets not being strong enough…. I thought I give you a secret tip! 2 small magnets are stronger than 1 larger magnet (even if the pull strength of the larger magnet double the small magnets). It has something to do with them pulling side by side on each other and on the lid. I would recommend using two 1/2″+ magnets for each jar. Stacking 2 magnets doesn’t help much, you must have them side by side. You need less strength for the metal plates, as mentioned above. Also, putting the magnets inside the jars works well, as long as your lids don’t indent too much. You really want the magnet/lid/fridge to be all touching. And, as Nicole pointed out – labels on the lids can add some friction to the fridge, and keep your jars from sliding. Don’t give up on your magnets – as there are a few different solutions you can try to get them to work! Even giving your fridge surface a good degreasing can help! :-)

    I’m a bit late to reply to Theresa, but we carry SILVER lids for the small and large hex jars. And they are great looking – so anyone looking in the future, feel free to contact us. (www.gneissspice.com). We have also designed a food-safe magnetic barrier to go inside our jars, to separate spices from magnets – which alleviates concerns about them touching. Though, the issue of food and magnets is the accidental ingesting of the magnets (if you swallow 2 magnets you’re in a whole lot of trouble), not that the magnets “touch” the food….
    Happy Cooking!

    Reply

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