How can I make this into a spice cabinet?

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We have an old and narrow cabinet that used to hold an ironing board. I would like to make it into a spice cabinet, but the back is flimsy wood and installing sturdy shelves is harder than it looks. I've tried gluing brackets on that are screwed to wood shelves, but the glue couldn't hold the weight of the jars. Any ideas?
q how can i make this into a spice cabinet, cleaning tips, diy, how to, kitchen cabinets, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
q how can i make this into a spice cabinet, cleaning tips, diy, how to, kitchen cabinets, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
  21 answers
  • I do not know what your budget is but here is an option that I think will work: line the back with metal (they sell roll of metal in the roofing aisle otherwise known as flashing too) then go to Ikea or other store and look for the magnetic spice jars or if you want to keep jars you have buy some good strong magnets and glue the magnets on the side of the jars or containers. this would look good and be functional. I would try one bottle on the frig to see if the bottle works. Good luck
  • Stefanie Cochran Stefanie Cochran on Jan 14, 2014
    That might work. I have very little counter space so I was hoping to make the last couple of shelves a little further apart for bottles of oil and other condiments.
  • Moxie Moxie on Jan 14, 2014
    I would suspect that this ironing board box cabinet is mounted to a stud on either side. If that is the case, the sides are the points of attachment that can provide the pull out you need. I would suggest you make a "U" shape out of 1 x 2 or 4 material. Then place that in the box with the short ends against the sides or jamb of the box and nail into the side & stud beyond. Place one of these at each location you want a shelf. The place a 1x2 or 4 on top of the "u" shape for the actual shelf. If you are placing heavy jars on the shelves, add another 1 x 4 in the middle between each shelf bracket (and one from the bottom shelf to the bottom of the cabinet) and wedge them in tight - this will add support in the middle from shelf to shelf - one can't give unless they all go. If you paint it all in white, you won't hardly notice it. You could also make a shelving unit with four sides and shelves to fit within the recessed box and fasten that into the sides. You can get check for studs by just putting a nail or screw into the adjacent drywall or through the side of the cabinet box and see if it bites or just goes through the drywall. If you find there is no studs...you could remove the box, add blocking in wall from the opening, add plywood back and new 1 x jambs. You could also make a frame of 1x put mesh or plexiglass on the back and hing to the front for a door if you want one and even add casing trim to the perimeter if you want to get fancy. Hope that helps! Good luck and I would love to see what you do. I am currently planning a spice space about this size but don't have the cool recessed cabinet. Oh if you want a item stop you could add wood dowels by drilling at the sides where you want them and let them span across at the front edge of the shelf to keep things from getting knocked off.
  • Moxie Moxie on Jan 14, 2014
    skip the door, I just looked back at the pics and see you have one lol : )
  • Stefanie Cochran Stefanie Cochran on Jan 14, 2014
    Wow, thanks, that's a really well thought out answer. I'm determined not to fail this time, so I'll keep you posted.
  • Love Digging in the Dirt Love Digging in the Dirt on Jan 14, 2014
    I would make a whole unit to fit in the space. Do you know what I mean? Hard to explain but you can get sturdier wood and make a a little cabinet to fit in there and then you will know that it will be sturdy. Does that make sense?!
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Jan 14, 2014
    All yo have to do is cit small 1 x 2" wood strips, or 3/4" quarter round the depth of your cabinet, measure and stall with finishing nails, cut shelves that sit on the wood strips, paint and you done. Easy Peasy.. Tip... Do the side strips first and then make a strip for the back (after you check the placement of the shelf) so the shelf doesn't sag in the middle.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 15, 2014
    You have to find your studs so you can securely anchor anything you make onto the sides of this space. You can do this by using a thin nail and hammering to locate the studs. You are going to have to paint and clean up this area anyway, so patching nail holes won't be a problem. I would patch and paint the inside in maybe a pretty green color to "spice up" the area. Here is a photo of 1/4" holes drilled into a fancy dish cabinet...then using plastic plugs you can find at the big box stores, all you would need would be shelves the right depth...which will probably be about the standard width of a 1x4. You will need 2 holes on each side for every shelf...one near the front and one near the back...then repeat on the other side. Just make sure you get these level. Paint these too and you are done! This should be an easy job with little cost! Good luck!
    • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Dec 27, 2014
      @Jeanette S You can use a magnet to discover the studs..studs are nailed in so the magnet detects the stud. This is if you do not have a stud finder...and you do not need to take the time or leave holes to find a stud with a nail.
  • Lori J Lori J on Jan 15, 2014
    If the sides are sturdier that the back, you could use quarter round pieces to create side supports for the shelves. If this is going to hold spices, I imagine that would provide support to 1x materials for shelving.
  • Terri Austill Terri Austill on Jan 16, 2014
    We have the same cabinet which had already been converted with shelves for spices. Just cut pieces of quarter-round to fit as your brackets and screw them into the sides of the cabinet, not the back. Then just cut your shelves to fit and set them on the brackets. My shelves aren't even attached to the brackets and we've used it that way for almost 40 years! Just allow for different distances between shelves for whatever you want to store!
    • Sheryl Johnson Sheryl Johnson on Dec 27, 2014
      @Terri Austill I agree with the quarter round idea. It's nearly impossible to get a hammer or drill deep enough into the back of a small space like that.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Jan 16, 2014
    There are several spice rack ideas on HomeTalk. You ay want to search to get ideas. Good luck
  • Stefanie Cochran Stefanie Cochran on Jan 16, 2014
    Thanks! I think this is going to be the easiest solution. I won't get a chance to work on it until next week, but I'll post pics when the project is finished. Curious what year your house was built? Mine was built in 1927.
  • Felicity Woodruffe Felicity Woodruffe on Jan 16, 2014
    use hooks in the roof of the cupboard then get a long length of rope, some shelves to suit .drill a whole in each corner of the shelves thread the rope through the hooks in the top of the cupboad.Now get a wood bit the size you require or a hole cutter or a dremmel trio would work and cut holes in the shelves for each spice jar to sit in without falling through pass the rope through the holes in the shelf and knot under each corner then hang another shelf underneath at required distance from previous shelf and repeat the process until you have enough shelving now tie off the rope and cut any excess off.If you prefer you can put hooks in the base and fix the rope through the bottom hooks pulling the rope very taut to stabilize.
  • Felicity Woodruffe Felicity Woodruffe on Jan 16, 2014
    if the cupboard has no top make one
  • Sheryl Duden Sheryl Duden on Jan 16, 2014
    Get some of those small L corner brackets screw them into the studs on the sides one towards the back and one towards the front so that the L brackets are mounted to the side and the "bottom" is up(wish I could draw a picture and insert it here), then lay the shelf on top of the bracket and secure them with screws to the brackets. Do some fun painting or paper it on the inside before you mount the shelves.
  • Becky Penn Harris Becky Penn Harris on Jan 16, 2014
    No shelves. Stainless steal sheat or a different thin metal sheet. (This is for magents to stick)Paint with chalk board paint so you cant write the spice name. Now you can use small jars with the magnet attacted to the lid of jar or you can buy at container store the magnet spice containers. Have them at Ikea also.
  • Carolyn Vermillion Carolyn Vermillion on Jan 22, 2014
    just curious could you make an free standing shelf --measured to fit the cabinet ( spices should not require heavy wood ) insert and fasten where it is possible inside the cabinet to anchor it
  • Your Organized Friend Your Organized Friend on Jan 22, 2014
    I think you got some great answers. Use the studs and make strips to place your shelves on, I just want to commend you on the great use of your space to organize your spices. Can't wait to see your results.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Dec 27, 2014
    I have not read all of the replies so I hope I am not repeating .. Get those L brackets and place on each side of the selves..afixing them to not the back but the sides of the shelves and the cabinet.The bottles will not weigh alot , those brackets hold a considerate amount of weight.. Narrow shelves ..paint the inside a beautiful color and with some cool spice bottles you will have a great spice cabinet.
  • Stefanie Cochran Stefanie Cochran on Dec 27, 2014
    I completely forgot to post an update. I did use quarter rounds screwed into the sides for shelf support. Thanks for all the feedback and sorry this took so long!
  • San9359010 San9359010 on Aug 07, 2016
    You can easily build a frame with shelves out of 4's (the width of opening.) place it inside the opening and screw the sides in. Check YouTube for a visual