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Organizing a Spice Cabinet With Mason Jars!

I've been needing to work on my spice cabinet for years now so I finally tackled it! Some of those plastic shakers have literally been with me for YEARS! Once I started buying bulk organic herbs and spices off of Amazon I kept refilling my old shakers until they gave out on me. So, one by one, I’ve been replacing them so my spice cabinet was becoming one very strange collection of pickle jars, olive jars, pepper jars and plastic shakers lol.
Time: 2 Hours Cost: $30 Difficulty: Easy
(Yeah if its glass with a good top, I keep it!) It was definitely time for my spice cabinet to grow up and all of my plastic shakers to retire for good! I decided to replace everything I could with my Grandma’s mason jars and that led me to Amazon on the search for the perfect shaker lid.
At first I was confronted by a very DIY thought, “Why don’t I just take a hammer and a nail and punch a bunch of holes in a regular mason jar lid to make it a shaker?” But then I decided that, “No, I really want to be able to close and SEAL them tight.” So these are the lids I found. Most specialty mason jar lids are rather expensive but these were only $13.14 for 12 lids! I was rather disappointed in the options out there – these really aren’t my color but they were the only thing available that I felt were also affordable – functionally though they work great and seal well!
The larger containers means I don’t need to refill them near so often which is also really great because I’m short and I keep all of our bulk herbs and spices way up high in another cabinet. I always knew which was which with the old glass jars I was using (notice I have no labels on the jars of spices in the before picture) and that was fine for me but it meant my husband generally had to open three or four of them to smell before he found what he wanted. (Sorry Joe!) Oregano, basil and parsley look a lot alike lol So I needed to figure out some labels.
I thought about buying sticker labels but that really went against my grain. I wanted to do something that was DIY but simple and not terribly expensive. I’ve never worked with chalkboard paint before but I have always wanted to and this seemed like the perfect project! Another search on Amazon and I found chalkboard paint for only $9!
First I gave the jars a good hand washing (they really needed it after spending decades in the basement and the last couple of years out in the barn…) With them clean and totally dry I first tried to tape them off and create a rectangular label… total fail. I had expected a certain amount of bleed but my inexperience with this paint led to some serious problems. (My husband likened painting with this stuff as painting with snot.) Because its on glass it doesn’t matter how “light” a coat you attempt because inevitably, after a little while, it starts to clump and drip… like its alive! So Joe, after listening to my swearing for a few minutes, asked me, “why don’t you just paint them completely?” So I got my husband a brush and that’s what we did. Did I wince really really really hard covering up those pretty blue jars? Yes I did. But I also knew this paint would come right off with a good washing so I’m certainly not ruining the jars! It took two coats.
Can you believe I couldn’t find chalk at Walmart? Not even sidewalk chalk! This Chalk Pen was all I could find and though it wasn’t what I wanted it turned out to be a good thing. It was certainly easier to use then regular chalk and, with a little scrubbing it does come off especially if you misspell Oregano (ask me how I know). After that I got to fill my jars and throw out almost all of my old plastic spice containers! We do have several spices that I’m just literally using to get rid of them… so they didn’t get jars. But the twelve of our main spices did. Garlic salt, black pepper, seasoned salt, chili powder, cajun seasoning, paprika, cumin, oregeno, basil, parsley, onion powder and garlic powder.
With my spices ready and labeled I tackled another thing that’s always bothered me about spice cabinets: you can only see the ones in the front! Using a scrap 1×4 I created the most basic shelf possible using four screws and cutting it with my miter saw. I made it JUST tall enough to fit a row of jars beneath it and it was really fortunate for me that there was enough room above it for the same size jars! (Somehow my past self put the shelf in this cabinet in the perfect spot when she built her kitchen cabinets!)
This was one of those fun projects that is almost silly with how rewarding it is. Can a spice cabinet really make you happy and improve your life? Yes it can! All in I spent less then $30 and now every time I open my spice cabinet it makes me smile! (Check out the main post on my blog for direct links to all of the materials)

Materials I used for this project:

  • Chalkboard paint   (
  • Chalk Pen   (
  • Mason Jar lids   (

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