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DIY magnetic spice rack

My herbs and spices have been a minor source of despair for years. If I run out of things to despair over, there’s always the herbs and spices.

They’re messy and cluttered and no spice rack is big enough to hold them all. You’re supposed to keep herbs and spices in a cool, dark, dry place so they’ll retain their flavour but there are no cool dark dry places in any kitchen I’ve ever had. I swear I have some spices in my collection that are older than my child, but I don’t know which ones. Sometimes I just feel like throwing them all out and starting over.

Most of the time I don’t even think about them, let alone anguish over them, because they’re all crammed in an overflowing plastic basket in a kitchen cabinet: I subscribe to the “out of sight, out of mind” school of housework. But then I’ll see a recipe that calls for a particular spice and I can’t remember if I have that one, and I can’t bear to go rooting through my herbal chaos, so I end up buying another one. I have three bottles of cumin (so far).

Recently I stumbled across Amber, whose blog is called Aim True, and she has invented the most brilliant, useful and EASY craft ever: a DIY magnetic spice rack.

You only need three things: a set of watchmaker’s cases from Lee Valley Tools ($9 for 15 of them), a tube of glue (I used the silicon sealer I got at Michael’s), and some good strong cheap magnets (I got 50 at Michael’s for about $6 I think).

You simply glue a magnet to the bottom of each watchmaker’s case, let it sit overnight, then fill each case with a herb or spice and jot down its name on the back of the case. Stick ’em on your fridge and Bob’s your uncle. (Or, you can do what Amber did and buy a few magnetic knife racks, attach ’em to the wall and stick your spice holders on there.) I swear to God, nothing can go wrong. It is FOOL-PROOF. And it only takes about 10 minutes to make.

So here’s my fridge, with my 15 magnetic spice holders on it. Is that not amazing? (By the way, in case you’re wondering, I don’t know that fat, crabby naked guy on my fridge. The National Gallery sent him to me. It’s an invitation to something.)

Fridge with magnetic spice holders

Coriander seedsOh, and here’s another handy spice tip for you: Coriander seeds are excellent in soups. Toss a handful into any homemade soup, and you get these wonderful crunchy little flavour bursts. Whoever invented coriander seeds was a culinary genius.

8 comments to DIY magnetic spice rack

  • boo

    an invite to see bald fat crabby naked men? eeks.

  • boo

    oh your spices are wayyyy cool *sorry* i got distracted

  • Deb

    What if you don’t know what each spice looks like? Do you have to lift each one off and look at the back? Very cool looking though. One more question…the whole bottle doesn’t fit in the case does it? So, do you still have half empty bottles of spices in your cabinet?

  • nik

    Are you as excited as I am about Ron Muek coming to the National Art Gallery in March?

    (The naked fat man on the ‘fridge is one of his works, for those of you who don’t know.)


  • Deb, yes, you have to peek at the back to see the label if you don’t know your spices. And you’re right about the other thing too – I still have an overflowing plastic basket of half-empty spice jars in my cabinet. But I FEEL better about them now.

    Nik, I AM excited. I’d never heard of Muek until recently, but I’m definitely intrigued. (Intrigued enough to put a picture of a fat crabby naked guy on my fridge.) By the way, I’ve got something for you. It’s not as exciting as the Encyclopedia of Deviant Sexual Behaviour, but I thought of you immediately when I saw it.

  • Great spice rack! I love it :)

  • Portland

    There are many places that sell bulk herbs and spices to avoid those extra containers. Bring in your tin and have them weigh it before you fill it, and you don’t even have to deal with extra plastic baggies. Co-ops are great, but some larger stores have them as well. Most mass market that comes to mind is Whole Foods. If you don’t live in an urban area, there are still options – Google and see what you come up with, or order online – says they will ship as little as an ounce!

  • i like to add herbs and spices on the foods i cook.`:.