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Tips on Building Small Wooden Organizers for Kitchen, Bath... and well, beyond.

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I see a lot of spice racks and other wooden organizers in the blogosphere built with pine 1x4 or 1x6 lumber. These are functional pieces and the lumber chosen works fine. What you may not know, is that most home improvement centers stock 1/2" hardwood stock now (rather than the 1x material that is 3/4" thick). For instance, half inch thick poplar is about as strong as 3/4" pine, takes paint better, and will give your project a more refined look. The 1x4's on the other hand have a rather bulky look, and take up more space (so, if space is dear--which is usually why the project is undertaken--look for thinner stock).
The last spice rack I built only cost about $8.00 in materials (the cans of spray primer and spray paint cost more than the wood), even though I used the slightly more expensive 1/2" poplar stocked at the local Home Depot. Also, instead of leaving the lumber square, I added decorative ends to match the corbels already in the kitchen. Always look for ways to make what you build fit the style of the home. I just used a jig saw to add these simple details and then sanded the jig saw cuts smooth.
Small pieces like this actually require no nails, screws, or other fasteners, just clamps and glue. Clamps may seem expensive, but can be used for a lifetime (I used them again last week to build no-fastener bird feeders with some kids on MLK day). Of course you can always use fasteners instead of clamps or use them both.
The spice racks I built are small enough to be used in the space between the cabinet and the window (they are only the depth of the window casing), so you don't need much room for this kind of project.
One last tip for spice racks, if well placed, the retaining rail will allow the names of tall spice containers to be read above the rail and short spices should have labels that can be seen below the rail.

Ask the creator about this project

  • Z
    Z
    on Jan 29, 2013

    Very good looking spice rack and great information Brian. I was just telling my hubby about the "craft" wood HoDe and L's is now carrying for smaller projects. I love it.

  • Miriam I
    Miriam I Bay Shore, NY
    on Jan 29, 2013

    Great info, Brian. Thank you!

  • Meg
    Meg Chagrin Falls, OH
    on Jan 30, 2013

    Thanks so much for this advice. I'm always in good shape at H.D. or L's until I get to the lumber section, where I get very overwhelmed with all the options.

  • Z
    Z
    on Jan 30, 2013

    @Meg, just find a clerk. They're always happy to help.

  • Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry
    Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry Saint Paul, MN
    on Jan 31, 2013

    @Meg In the HD store nearest my house (and probably in most stores), the smaller dimensioned lumber was in a special little display cube sitting out in an isle in the millwork area. It was near the 1x dimensional lumber, rather than the moldings, but all in the same neighborhood.

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