Almost $0, Magnetic Rustic / Industrial Spice Racks, Upcycled

We had this massive issue with so many spices (47!) that we were stacking them one-on-top-of-the-other. It was messy and annoying. So, with a little internet searching, I found an idea for a magnetic spice rack. The colors of the spices show through the clear containers, and they're so pretty on the wall!

I'm a big proponent of upcycling, so when I saw these frames sitting on the side of the road with a "free!" sign.... well, I knew they were coming home with me to get a new life via the creative efforts of El Esposo and myself!

Frame with a piece of galvanized steel behind

The frames were free, on the side of the road. The spices--well, I already had those! The backing is a piece of sheet metal that was kicking around in the garage, a left-over from another project. The know-how to do this is ALL El Esposo's doing. And he has a shop full of tools, so this does take a little bit of skill. I just did the planning and gathering of the items.

The piece of sheet metal is galvanized steel. DO NOT try to use aluminum--it will not work with magnets! The galvanized steel can be found at any big box hardware store. 12 x 12 sheets are very inexpensive. This piece was a cut-off from a 2' x 3' piece. I think it cost about $10, originally, but at this point it was just scrap metal in the garage. The steel needs to be cut to the measurement of the frame back. You can "score" the sheet steel with a razor knife, over and over, and then "pop" it. (El Esposo is a big guy with a lot of strength. When he first told me this was how he cut it, I didn't believe him... but he did it. Tin snips or sheet metal sheers would work, also. Just score it with a sheet metal break, first.) The edge will be VERY sharp! Hence, for the sake of dusting, and not ripping open finger tips, I asked him to add the wood piece that you see next to the steel. It covers up the steel edge *just enough* to keep it from finger-slicing... The steel attaches by simply hammering small nails through it. Also--the picture wire shown was only so that I could photograph it on the wall. You need this to stay sturdy on a wall, and not move around, so use the D Ring hangers (shown in next picture) and use them with two screws or hangers, directly on the wall.

The D Ring Hangers-- Pre-drill a small hole, smaller than the shank of the screw. Then, use a power screwgun and go right through into the wood frame from behind.

This is a close up of the inside edge. I asked El Esposo to add this because I didn't like the look of the spice tins "sticking out" from the frame. I wanted the frame to have depth. He added a piece of scrap wood, and was very careful with the miters. You can see the differences in the colors of the wood. He GLUED the inner section in, so nail holes wouldn't show up.

(Now for my part!) I purchased a poll of adhesive backed magnets. It cuts well with scissors, and you just measure across the backs of the spice tins. I took off the adhesive backs, and stuck them directly to the tins. You could also use heavy duty magnets that come looking like thick coins. Use E6000 or Goop brand glue to attach them, because those will bond metal-to-metal.

The tins cost 77 cents each from Specialty Bottle on-line. (Cool fact: Specialty Bottle will send you --FREE!--two examples of their products. So I ordered a round one and a square one to see which looked best. I decided on the square ones, and then ordered.) The tins are food safe. these measure 1.4" deep and 2.4" across.

Attach your backings. I used an extra little bit of magnet, just to make it more secure. I also used a sharpie on the back, so I didn't mix up any spices before I got the labels on. (The green stuff all looks alike to me, and mixing up the Cayenne with the Paprika might make for some very shocking Tater Salad!)

I enlisted the aid of a good friend who has GORGEOUS hand writing and she graciously sat and wrote the labels with a fine-tipped white paint pen. I could have orderd labels (too expensive!) but I decided to use some black contact paper, create a template of the inside portion of the tin window, and then cut that from the contact paper. It's a bit time consuming, but the labeling makes it easy to see which spice is which spice.

This is the one in my house, with 47 spices. The more rustic one, with fewer spices, is a wedding gift for a friend in Georgia.

Enjoy! I hope this gives people ideas, inspiration and I'm looking forward to seeing if anyone else has done something similar.

Give your "two cents" on this-- I LOVE FEEDBACK! So many people have commented and given great ideas as to how the would "tweak this." It could be for the stuff in your craft room. It could be for the stuff in your "junk drawer"
(Um. Ok. Lookin' at me for that one!) There are SO many ways to tweak this... Tell me your thoughts!

~Happy thoughts, Lesley and El Esposo
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 24 questions
  • Tanya
    on Jul 1, 2018

    Im in love! Yes of course for myself at some point, but a much more pressing issue... a wonderful friend is getting married in November. Her future-to-be is a chef (an amazing one from what I hear). Thus would be a PERFECT GIFT!! I however have not the skill set, patience, nor brief moment of free time to do This. Would you make one for me??

    • Lesley Owens
      on Jul 16, 2018

      Hi Tbo: You say you tried cutting the metal and it mangled? My guess is you didn't use a sheet break first to "score" the metal... Or do what El Esposo did, and score it with a razor knife and a metal ruler until you can get it to just "pop" right off with a clean line... Practice a bit more. I think you'll get it. ut, with that said, I do have one that's almost ready and I can paint to match any decor... Let me know if you'd like one.

  • Margherita McCallum
    on Jun 20, 2019

    Do these tins come with holes in them to sprinkle the spice out? I don't want to open the tin to get it out.

    • Lesley Owens
      on Jul 12, 2019

      Hi Margherita,

      No, they do not have "sprinkle holes." If you look through the photos, note that they are squared, food safe tins. They do have to be opened to get at the spice.

      With that said, however, I think it would be a GREAT idea to find an inspired way to magnetize those small containers that DO have the holes in them. Why not, right? Look through the photos I posted, note the magnetized strip used, and try it out with your own. And do share photos when you've created it!



  • Pamela
    on Aug 9, 2020

    This spice rack is genius. It's beautiful.

Join the conversation

2 of 218 comments
  • Frank
    on Aug 9, 2020

    This is brilliant!

  • Lisa DeBose
    on Aug 10, 2020

    I love this, I have a ton of spices and use them all the time. My apartment is small, so this one wouldn't work for me (darn it!), but I'm definitely sharing this idea with my daughter. Kudos to El Esposo for his part. 👍

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