Kitchen cabinets can become catch-all’s for cooking items, unless you’re Marie Kondo and have only kept the things that “bring you joy.” Spice jars are commonly used items that can start to add up, however, especially if you are constantly trying new recipes.
If you don’t have a specific place for them, it can be an annoying task trying to find the right one amongst the twenty or thirty you may have collected. If this sounds like your kitchen experience, here are some ways to spice things up with these DIY organizing spice racks.
Minimalist Wall-Mounted Spice Rack
You can easily make your own spice rack out of just a few wood pieces to keep things sleek and simple, as long as you have some empty wall space to work with. Choose a spot where you won't have to go far to grab the spices you need, but also has enough space to hold them all.
This project can be as big or as little as you need, as you can make as many tiers or shelves as you like. Depending on the size of the jars you have, measure the length you’d like it to be, but keep in mind how many jars it will end up holding once it’s all constructed.
An even number of jars will look aesthetically pleasing, and that way, you can place spices in pairs. Each shelf will have a bottom piece of wood for the spices to sit on, two rectangular pieces to act as book-ends, and one wooden strap a little bit higher up from the bottom to keep the spices from falling off.
For the best results, choose thinner over bulkier wood sizes like 1x4's and 1x2's to achieve a nice minimalist look, but also feel free to use what you might already have on hand. Use a level to get the shelves nice and straight, and while a nail gun will make this job go quicker, a hammer and finishing nails are all you need to join them together.
Use stronger screws to attach the shelves to the wall. Even though spices aren’t that heavy, hitting the wall studs or using drywall plugs and anchors will ensure it doesn’t pull away from the wall.
Magnetic metal strips are commonly used to hold knives and other metal utensils along kitchen backsplashes, so this project utilizes this concept with very little construction skill needed.
All you have to do is glue a tiny magnet to the back of your spice jars so they'll attach to these metal strips. This allows you to display them, while keeping them easy to access while you are cooking and prepping.
If you’re worried about having to re-glue your spice jars after they run out, consider re-usable jars that you can fill up at local bulk or waste free stores.
Or, buy larger spice containers of the ones you use the most often and re-fill the smaller jars as needed.
Spice Rack Drawer
If all of your spices are in an upper cabinet, you might have to stand up on your tip toes shuffling through the ones at the front to get to the back.
If you turn the top shelf of a bottom cabinet into a spice rack, it can be easily accessed just like your cutlery is, while allowing you to see them all easier. If the top shelf doesn’t have enough height clearance for your spices, arrange them on an angle with some custom woodworking, or even add circular cut-outs for them to sit in.
Lower cabinets come in different styles, so if you have a deeper top shelf, then you can simply put all your spice jars into it without having to worry about clearance.
You might want to use jars with clear lids so you can see the spices from the top, or get crafty and add little stickers on top. Another cool DIY idea is to paint the lids with chalk paint so you can see what's what, and easily make name changes.
Spinning Spice Rack
This idea is great for anyone who has a ton of spice jars and needs access to them quickly! You’ll either need enough counter space or a dedicated upper cabinet for this one, and measurements will depend on space restrictions.
You can build as many tiers as your heart desires, but two or three will probably do it, as you can fit up to twenty small jars on each level. You could also be a lazy Susan and buy a lazy Susan that’s already meant for cabinets, but that’s no fun.
If you want to make one yourself, you'll need some woodworking tools to make it look professional. For the materials, buy one eight-foot long 2 x 10 board (or whatever dimension works for your space) and cut it into three equal sizes for a two level rack.
A drill press will be handy to make circular indents for the spice jars to sit in, or you can leave the circle flat, but the jars may fall over when spinning if there are too many. The drill press can also make a perfect inner circle for the middle dowel that will go through all the pieces to hold them together.
Glue the dowel to the bottom piece and make sure it dries nice and level. Clamping it overnight will help ensure that it stays in place. For a second level, glue another circular piece to the top of the dowel.
Once the bottom and top are glued to the dowel, now you can focus on making it spin. This is where the third circular wooden piece comes into play. Using screws, fasten a lazy Susan bearing on the top of the third piece and connect it to the bottom of the spice rack.
Attach the two bases together so that the spice rack spins while the very bottom base stays stationary. Put some rubber bumpers at the bottom of the base, and voila.
3-Tiered Spice Rack
This spice rack is meant to sit on the counter, but it can also be installed into an upper cabinet. It uses tiers to create a set of horizontal step-like shelves for the spices to sit on. Essentially, you’re building tiny spice rack-sized bleachers!
If you have a 2x4, sandpaper, and wood screws lying around this project can be made completely for free.
Choose the length you want the rack to be and cut two or three pieces out of the 2x4 depending on how many tiers you want. Sand the pieces with 80 grit sandpaper (an electric sander will be helpful) so that they become smooth.
If you’re going to stain it, you’ll want to do a second sanding with 120 grit.
Next, measure ¾ away from a long edge and place three evenly spaced marks for drill holes (one toward each end and one in the middle). Drill pilot holes into the marks. This will be your top board.
Mark two inches in from an edge on a second board and draw a straight line. This will be the bottom board. Add wood glue between the line and the edge, and place the top board on top with the pilot holes over the wood, so it meets up with the line.
Screw the pieces together with 2 ½ inch wood screws. Using some 2 x 4 cut-offs, drill a few small support pieces along the bottom back so that it won’t tip, and to reinforce the two pieces together. Spice jars can be put on the bottom and top piece of wood for a simple and easy display.
Triangle Spice Rack
This spice rack is pretty neat, and starts to deviate away from the way most of these are constructed. It can be made of any material like wood, plastic, metal, or even concrete. Think of how billiard balls fit into a billiard triangle and apply that concept!
For any of these materials, you need to have a way to cut the shape and have it thick enough so that the base of it won’t fall over. The thicker the better, but too thick, and it will be hard to get the spice jars in and out.
For wood or metal, use the right hole saw teeth to cut a circle that’s just ever so slightly bigger than the circumference of your spice jars. Make the cuts as straight as possible so that the jars won't slide out.
You can arrange the holes in whatever design you like, but the billiard ball approach means that you will have nice, straight lines, and that weight will be distributed properly across the entire spice rack. Have fun with this one!
Criss-Cross Spice Rack
Inspired by a similar way to hold wine bottles, the criss-cross wooden spice rack has a nice, contemporary look when compared to most of the others on this list. This one can also sit on the countertop, but you could fasten it to an empty wall either horizontal or vertical.
You can use scrap pieces of wood for this project but 1x4's will work best. You’ll have three different cut sizes to measure for, but the actual dimensions depend on the size you want. The tricky part is figuring out how to get the two longer lengths to fit together to make perfect squares that connect together on an angle.
The third cut length is to close in the end pieces, so it will be smallest and easiest to figure out.
The best way to join them together is to cut three slats halfway into each wooden piece and glue them together. The slats will have to be measured so that the two pieces join together perfectly, and can be cut with either a jigsaw or coping saw.
Once they are together, use a nail gun or hammer and brad nails to hold them in place. Then the end pieces can be nailed on. You might want to stain or paint them before attaching all of the pieces together.
This project is quite simple and only needs a few tools, but the measurements require some skill to get the criss-cross pattern just right.
Pantry Door Spice Rack
A spice rack on the inside of your pantry door is a brilliant idea, as it stores them close to the kitchen without having them in eyesight.
While you can put up a typical wood spice rack, it might be too heavy depending on the type of door you have. There’s an even simpler way to do it, and while it might be cheating, finding other pre-made storage solutions is the trick.
Look for small wood crates or metal storage bins at your local discount store and simply attach them to the door. White wire cabinet shelving can also be bent and cut to make the size you want without being bulky.
There are many storage options already available for holding pens, paper, and other household items, so feel free to get creative and use things in different ways. A shower caddy can easily double as a spice rack—it’s up to you to call it what it is!
Another option for empty wall space is to make some built-in cabinets for your spices. If you’ve ever installed an inset bathroom vanity, it’s a very similar process.
First, measure and mark the area that needs to be cut out of the drywall so you can use the empty space between the two wall studs. While you can cut the stud out to make an even wider spice rack, this isn't recommended as you'll need to sister the other two joists to help deal with load bearing.
Using the space between the joists means you'll end up with a 12 or 14-inch wide spice rack depending on the materials you use, which is more than enough space for most kitchens, especially since you can make it as tall as you like.
Once the space is cut out, create a wooden box that will sit flush with the drywall, and any add shelves you'd like. Nail the shelves to the box first, and then install it into the wall cavity.
You can leave it open or add a door—paint or stain it, and dress it up any which way you like.
Classic Wood Spice Rack
Last but not least is the classic wooden spice rack. This one will be similar to the minimalist one in terms of needing wall space and measuring wide enough pieces to hold all of your spices. What makes this spice rack different is that it will be enclosed, and not so much a floating shelf of spice jars.
While this one looks bulkier, choosing the right species of wood can turn it into a showpiece. This one should have wooden backing to hold it all together, and thicker wood pieces on all sides to create a boxed-in spice rack.
For a rustic look, use rough sewn or found pieces of wood (pallet boards would work), or create a cottage feel with knotty pine. Specialty wood like walnut or maple will set it apart from ordinary spice racks, but make sure it fits in with the rest of the home’s design – you don’t need the wood to match, but you don’t want it to clash, either.
A good tip for measuring out your longer pieces is to lay out the spice jars on top of the wood so that they are next to each other, but have enough space in between them so you can easily get them out. This way, you can also imagine the finished product and how it might turn out.
Always give yourself enough clearance between the shelves to be able to easily get the jars in and out, as well. Account for the bookend pieces and how they will join up to the rest of the spice rack. They will either add width to the overall project, or take away space for the spice jars to sit.
While none of these projects are very difficult to do, the measuring will be the most finicky and important part.
Take the time to carefully design the spice rack before construction starts for the best results. These DIY spice racks are meant to help you organize your kitchen so that cooking becomes a breeze.
Emily grew up in a household where there was always a summer garden, and a room being renovated. This influence followed her into adulthood as she has worked in various trades for more than a decade, specializing in tile and trim carpentry. She owns and runs MLE Renovations and has over 15 years of professional renovation and landscaping experience.
Emily has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Guelph, a Masters in Creative Writing from Humber College, and a Journalism diploma from Conestoga College, so writing about DIY projects is her dream job! She&rsquo;s particularly interested in green design, re-purposing items, and creating environmentally-friendly outdoor landscapes. She always has a project in mind. Next on the list: creating a rain garden on the front lawn, and turning her garage into a working office and guest suite.
Emily lives just southwest of Toronto, but grew up in Chicago, and has family across Canada and the United States. She currently works in a Lowes garden center and has an orange tabby cat who helps her decide where plants should go - without getting his paws dirty.