Sunday, November 13, 2016

Homemade Wooden Pallet Spice Rack DIY

I grew up in a home that used a large variety of spices. I get surprised when I am in people's homes, and go to cook something and realize that they're missing what I consider to be basic spices. I have to remind myself, though, that everyone's cooking style is different, and I use so many more spices than the average person, so even my "basics" are not something most people have.

Since I've been running my own household, I've never been satisfied with where I've been keeping my spices. In our first apartment, they were on two small shelves in an upper cupboard, and it was hard to see what I needed and hard to access it. Since we moved to our current home, my spices have been stored in a deep drawer, and there isn't enough room for all my spices. its hard to tell what is where, and it's just one royal mess. Some spices came in plastic containers- when they finished, I refilled them, and sometimes filled them with different spices or homemade mixes, and it is all a jumble, with no way to really tell what spice is what, other than by taste and smell...
I decided that in our new apartment, I didn't want to use up a drawer for my spices, nor did I want them in a cabinet. And I definitely didn't want to be using recycled plastic spice bottles.
Growing up, all my mom's spices were kept easily accessible in glass screw top jars on a wooden spice rack on our counter, and I've wanted something like that for a long time, and figured our new house would be the perfect place to switch my spice storage to that system.

I've looked and looked for a spice rack like that, but have struck out. I looked locally, I looked online, and every spice rack I seemed to find held maybe 10-15 spices at most, many holding even less. For someone that has over 30 different spices and spice mixes she regularly uses, that wasn't nearly enough, and the price tag on something like that when it didn't even suit my needs, made me want to run the other way.

I found some pretty glass jars, perfect for spices, being sold at a local household goods store, and bought a few for photographing homemade spice mixes. Once I found those glass spice jars, I told my husband that I'd like him to build me a wooden spice rack. We discussed how he'd build it from one from wood from a wooden pallet that he dumpster dove, but I didn't think any further of it, since I assumed he'd only do it for me once we moved.

Today I went out, and when I came home, I saw my husband was in the process of building me a spice rack! He took apart a wooden pallet that he dumpster dove, and divided up the wood by thickness.
We measured the distance we wanted the rack to be, by seeing how many spices I generally use, and measuring how much space I'd need to hold that many spices in my glass jars, and from there, built a rack. I told him how tall I wanted each shelf to be, how many shelves high, and what I wanted it to look like, and then Mike did the actual building. Including the measuring, cutting, drilling, and putting it all together, it took probably an hour to make this spice rack.

For now, I'm putting the plastic spice bottles I have on the rack, until I go and buy the glass bottles. (I have more spices that currently are in bags, or they are too big for this spice rack, so I wasn't able to put them on yet.) If I didn't care aesthetically, and wanted to keep it as cheap as possible, I'd just use these plastic bottles. But since this rack is going to be displayed prominently on my counter, I want it to be as beautiful as possible.
It cost me nothing so far, since all the wood was free, but once I buy the jars, it will add to the cost, but I'm sure this is something that I'll end up using for years, so it is worth the investment of the jars. Each jar costs roughly a dollar locally, so I'm figuring the entire cost for this spice rack, including the jars, will be $30 or so dollars. (Mike said that he had the screws at home already, and they are so cheap that their cost is negligible.)

I am considering whether or not I want to add a wooden dowel to the front of the shelf to stop spices from falling down. This is also from an aesthetic perspective, and from a practical one, to stop jars from falling off. However, we put a board across the back, and because of that, it leans slightly backwards, so if this spice rack would topple at all, it would be backwards, towards the wall, and the jars wouldn't fall off, so I'm not sure about the dowel across the front, and if it would be beneficial from a visual standpoint or not.

For now, we're leaving this wood plain, but at some point in the future, we probably will either paint it or give it wood stain, but that will only be after we're in our new place, and settle 100% on a color scheme.

I'm really excited about my spice rack!

Where do you store your spices? How many spices do you have at home, and how many do you tend to use on a regular basis? Would you use a spice rack this big or is this way too big for you? Have you seen them sell spice rack sets like this (together with the jars) where you live? How much do such things cost in your location?
Does this look like a project that you would do?
Built anything from wooden pallets? What was it?


  1. Great idea! I may have to do this. I am also one of those people with many spices, and don't understand why some people don't have what I consider the basic spices to cook with, except that they just don't cook, or cook much. They eat out oropen boxes and cans. Anyway, I used to keep mine in my cupboard but that didn't work so now I have them in a drawer and that works much better. However, I definitely could use the drawer space, and I'm starting to double up(stack) spices to make them fit, so this just might be a good solution.

  2. Wow you really use a ton of spices! On a regular basis I only use salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.

    1. That I do! My bare basic spices that I use on a nearly day to day basis are:
      Garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, hot pepper flakes, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, paprika, oregano, and basil. And many more that I use often, but not as often as those.

    2. Less frequently, but still often used are: thyme, rosemary, parsley, cilantro, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, fennel seeds, bay leaves... And then there's the mixtures that I use....

    3. Well, I think you could pretty successfully cook at my house as I do have nearly all those spices plus several more. I don't currently have cardamom on hand and I don't actually keep onion powder as I use fresh onions instead. I like spices too. I need to figure out a better way to store mine as well.

  3. I am with you about spice racks. I have many spices, some in small jars, and some in much larger containers. I have looked and looked for spice racks over the years. I finally made myself two new spice racks last year that I painted to match the trim in my kitchen. The smaller one, for the smaller jars, I attached to the end of a cabinet. The other one, for larger jars, I attached on the wall behind the half bath door. I actually made a 3rd shelf that is similar that I put on the end of another cabinet, but it rests on the floor. I keep jars of dried food such as popcorn and beans on it. I never have enough space and keep trying to find more space.

  4. I actually keep my spices in the freezer, as does my mother for as long as I've known her. It's the best way for the spices to retain their flavor and it also insures that they are always bug free. Spices can last year's and years like this. (My mom has some spices she bought over 30 years ago that she rarely uses, and they are still nice and potent.) I have a full freezer and I store my spices on the in side of the freezer door. I have a lot of spices so they take up almost all the shelves. A lot of my spices are the bulk size. An added benefit of storing in the freezer is that it keeps it more out of the eyesight of young children who love to play with spices.

  5. I don't think I would use wooden dowels. Maybe a pretty ribbon (or wire hanger) across the front to be on the safe side, then after months of use, evaluate and see if it's even needed. Spice racks costs are insane in the USA. I went instead with magnets and metal spice cans on my door. I have ugly white wire racks on my wall next to the stove that I hate but are practical and they hold the plastic and glass bottles in place.

    I have yet to get a pallet but would love one to have for a project.

  6. I'm slowly collecting glass spice jars to put my cheap Walmart or homegrown spices in. We have a discount store that sells most of the glass-jar spices at $1.25 each. If you pick the more expensive spices (cloves, cardamom, etc.), you can get the jar AND high-value new spices to try. I grew up flavoring things with salt, butter and cheese so I'm relatively new to using spices. It is a lot of fun, though!

  7. You might want to be careful with this sort of wood. Pallets travel all over the world, and are in fact suspected to be a vector for insects and disease (mostly affecting plants, I don't recall anything affecting humans)

    You might want to check. At any rate, a good shellac or coat of paint would help.

  8. I also keep my spices in the freezer. Less bug issues, more freshness.


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