Custom Built Spice Rack

Thanks so much for having me here at Remodelaholic, Cassity!



If you’ve never heard of us, The Better Half is a new sister site to One Project Closer (OPC). OPC has been around almost 5 years now and is for the hard-core home improvement lovers. Kim and I (Jocie) are the wives of Fred and Ethan (respectively) and we run The Better Half, dedicated to the finer things, like DIY home decor, crafts, and sometimes kid-friendly stuff too. I write a lot of the crafty, decor posts, while Kim focuses more on gardening and updating our coupon info like this Lowe’s discount page. Here is me and my better half, Ethan this summer when my grandmother took us to Jamaica!


This project is a union of OPC and The Better Half, combining Ethan’s woodworking with my decor and style. Ethan and I every once and awhile decide to put our marriage on the line for the sake of a project, and the good news is that we are STILL married and love each other, in addition to this spice rack.


Awhile ago, I posted about my ongoing kitchen renovations. One of our faithful readers, JustMe, commented: Have you thought about building a shallow “hutch” of sorts for over the base cabinets? Because of the length of the area you could incorporate a bulletin/chalk board as a family message center with shelves on either side to store your spices. They are better off not stored so close to the heat of the stove/oven.


Our Before Kitchen




Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that a long time ago? [Insert head slap] So I searched around on Pinterest for spice rack concepts that I liked. I saw some wall built-ins that were super pretty and also one made of pallets that had different size and shaped compartments. I liked a combination of those two concepts – more formal like built-ins, but varies size and shaped compartments.


Ethan has been delving more into wood working lately and was willing to try his hand at creating my vision. Sometimes I know what I want in my mind but I don’t communicate it very well. He works really hard, thinking he has done what I asked. Then I am bummed because it doesn’t match my vague feeling (shock). How Ethan puts up with me is a mystery. I think God gave him an extra dose of patience and grace just for me! This last happened to my wanna-be casserole dish turned herb garden/planter. It did turn out pretty wonderful though.



Despite my communication problems, Ethan was willing to undertake the custom built spice rack project. I gave him a sketch and rough dimensions (32″ x 20″), and he got to work.

Custom Built Spice Rack

He had some spare 3/4″ plywood in the shop and cut several pieces for the frame.



He also had some 1/4″ plywood that he used for the shelves. In hindsight, he said he would have made everything from 3/4″ ply to make it sturdier and eliminate the need for shelf supports. He routed rabbet joints at the corners of the frame.



He then glued and finish nailed the frame together, working to keep everything square and tight. Next, he cut small support blocks and glued and nailed them in place. If he had used 3/4″ ply, these blocks wouldn’t have been necessary, giving the shelves a cleaner look in the end. Maybe for the next spice rack…LOL!



He glued the 1/4″ ply to the support blocks and used his extensive collection of batteries to weigh the shelves down while the glue dried.



According to Ethan, the face frame was the most challenging part and purchasing a pocket hole jig would have been a smart move. Instead, he glued, stapled and sometimes pin-nailed the joints. He made the face frame from 1 x 2 poplar and some scrap oak. Since the shelf was going to be painted, he was able to mix and match wood types, and didn’t have to worry about orienting the grain of the wood. Lastly, he used some wood filler to clean up a few gaps.



Here is where I took over! I placed the rack onto the wood backing, and traced the interior compartments with a pencil. I bought bunches of different, pretty scrapbook papers at Michael’s in shades of yellow, cream, and gray. I laid them out on the plywood to see what different combinations would look like and played around for a good 45 minutes. I ended up only using the cream and gray paper because the yellow distracted from the spice rack.



Once I knew where I wanted the paper, I measured each opening and cut the paper to that EXACT size. If you have extra room around the compartment edge, you can cut your paper a little larger. Some of my paper was not wide or tall enough to fill the space so I just cut more paper of the same design to fill the remaining space.


Quick tip: Even if you don’t make your own rack, you can remove the backing from any bookshelf, rack, or shelf and complete this same process. It would also be easy to add ply wood to a rack or shelf that does not come with a backing. Using my home-made ModPodge, I applied a thick coat using a foam brush to one compartment, then placed the paper on top. Once the paper was lined up I applied another coat of ModPodge on top.




I repeated this process for all the compartments. Once it dried, I applied a second, thin coat of ModPodge.


Once I ModPodged the backing, the rack itself obviously needed a coat or two of paint. I applied two coats of primer (although one probably would have been enough). Then I painted the face and sides of the rack cream, the same color as the walls. After a lot of deliberation and hesitation, I painted the inside of the spice rack compartments yellow. I call it my “peek-a-boo yellow” because when you look at the rack from the front, you only see the cream color, but as you move to the side “Peek-a-boo,” or “Peek-a-doo” if you’re Izzie (I obviously spend too much time with my girls, sorry!).



Once the ModPodge and paint are all dry, we fastened the backing of the rack to the rack using screws in the corners and A LOT finishing nails around the edges and center.



We wanted to make sure that the rack wasn’t going anywhere since it will be holding all my spices and a lot of glass. So, Ethan measured and inserted dry wall anchors into the wall. He then screwed through the backing, in the four corners of the rack, into the dry wall anchors. It would have been a little easier if the studs had lined up with where we wanted to hang it, but oh well. The screws into the backing are barely noticeable, so no biggie! The other day, Kim and I took a Better Half field trip to Ikea where I bought a bunch of glass jars and containers. I filled them up and placed them on the rack. I love you, Ikea (and your free child care). I am in love with the piece – it sorts steals the show now. My cousin and a friend came over the other night and one asked where I bought it! Yes, its homemade but it looks professional!!!






Is my peek-a-boo yellow too over the top? Does it look too white-washed?


Thanks again, Cassity for letting me share my new custom built spice rack (wink wink) on your awesome site. For more fun projects and crafts, visit me at The Better Half! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Hope to see you soon!



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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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