How to Make Magnetic Spice Tins

Three Methods:Magnetic Spice TinsLarge Spice RackSmall Spice Rack

Magnetic spice tins are the perfect alternative for the cook with limited storage space. The tins are easy to use and require little more than food-grade metal containers and magnets. You can create a magnetic spice rack with these tins by attaching them to a sheet of metal, or you can save even more space by attaching the tins to a narrow metal ruler mounted on the inside of a cabinet.

Method 1
Magnetic Spice Tins[1]

  1. 1
    Figure out how much spice you need to store. Gather your spices together and look at what you need to store. A beginning cook may only have a few different types, while a more ardent cook can have dozens.
    • Take stock of how much you presently have, as well as what you would like to buy more of once you have the right amount of space.
    • Make a note of which spices you use more often. Spices that you use more often can be stored in larger quantities.
  2. 2
    Purchase small metal tins. Only buy food-grade tins, since other metals may affect the flavor or quality of the spices. You can buy tins with transparent plastic fronts, but spices can be damaged by prolonged exposure to light.
    • Most ground spices can fit inside round 2 oz. (60 ml) tins, while whole spices should usually be stored in round 4 oz. (125 ml) tins.
    • Ground spices that you use frequently can be stored in 4 oz. (125 ml) tins instead of 2 oz. (60 ml) tins.
    • Long spices, like cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans, should be stored in rectangular tins that hold 4 oz. (125 ml) or more.
  3. 3
    Choose the right magnets. Common craft store magnets lose strength as time passes, but they are relatively safe around electronics. Rare earth magnets are very strong magnets that will not lose their strength, but they will cause damage to electrical appliances. If you do not plan to keep your spices near any electronics, rare earth magnets are the way to go. If there is a chance that you may position your spice rack near a sensitive electrical device, however, a standard craft store magnet would serve your purpose better. Just be aware of the fact that you may eventually need to change the magnets out.
  4. 4
    Rough up the tin and the magnets. Rub steel wool in the center bottom of each tin and on one side of each magnet. By roughing the material in this manner, you make it easier for the glue to hold together.
  5. 5
    Glue the magnets onto the tins using strong glue. Most tins will need at least two small magnets to support the weight of each spice, but heavier spices may need three magnets or more. Light spices, like dried leaves, may only need one magnet, especially if you are using rare earth magnets. Super glue usually works as a bonding agent, but you could also consider mixing together epoxy and epoxy hardener for an even more secure bond.
    • If using super glue, simple apply a dot of glue to the roughed up back of the magnet and the rough patch on the back of the tin. Press the two dots together and allow the glue to dry.
    • If using epoxy, mix the epoxy and hardener together with a small stick. Place the magnet in the epoxy glue, coating it with enough of the bonding agent so that extra epoxy will be squeezed out as you press the magnet against the tin. Press the magnet against the roughed patch on the back of the tin and let dry.
  6. 6
    Label the tins. You can print out labels from a label maker or printer, or you can get plain white labels and write the name of each spice by hand. If you do not have self-adhesive paper, you can apply labels made from thick matte paper to the front or back of the tin with craft glue.
  7. 7
    Tighten the lid, if necessary. Check each lid to make sure that it is secured to the tin. If it feels a little loose, you can usually remedy this problem but placing a small piece of masking tape to the inside edge of the tin's lid. The added resistance is often enough to prevent the lid from slipping.

Method 2
Large Spice Rack[2]

  1. 1
    Purchase a large sheet of aluminum. The sheet should be large enough to hold all of your completed spice tins, and if you plan on expanding your collection of spices, you may want to get a sheet that can fit a few extra tins.
    • A sheet of stainless steel is, in theory, the best option, but stainless steel sheets can be expensive. An aluminum sheet will be more cost effective.
  2. 2
    Coat the aluminum to prevent it from rusting. The downside of aluminum is that it can rust inside of a moisture-filled room like the kitchen. Purchase a sealing spray or an anti-rust spray from a home improvement store to prevent the sheet from getting damaged. Follow the directions on the product's label to coat the entire metal sheet.
    • Note that if you opted for a stainless steel sheet, this step is not necessary.
  3. 3
    Attach two long strips of Velcro to the back of the sheet. The advantage of using Velcro is that it does not damage the wall and can be removed more easily if something goes wrong. The wider the strips, the better, since wider strips will have more holding power than narrow ones. Attach the Velcro strips along the entire length of the top and bottom, fixing them in place with super glue or a similarly strong adhesive.
  4. 4
    Attach the connecting sides of the Velcro to the wall. Use a ruler or tape measure to make sure that the Velcro strips are spaced the exact same distance apart from one another as they are on the back of the metal sheet, so that the connecting strips line up. Do not attach the Velcro to the wall using super glue, since using such a strong adhesive defeats the point of having a removable hanging device. Instead, use heavy-duty craft glue that is strong but can be removed with a solution or powerful force.

Method 3
Small Spice Rack[3]

  1. 1
    Find metal rulers. Rulers that are entirely composed of metal work well, as do wooden rulers with metal strips. Make sure that the metal used in the ruler is magnetic by practice sticking a magnet to it.
    • If you only have a few spices, one ruler might be enough. For slightly larger collections, use more rulers.
  2. 2
    Attach a strip of Velcro to the back of each ruler. Since this rack and the small number of spices it can hold will be fairly light, you can probably get away with using strong craft glue instead of more permanent bonding agent. Cut the strip so that it covers the length of the ruler.
  3. 3
    Attach the connecting side of Velcro to the desired surface. Use craft glue to adhere it. The surface you choose is a matter of convenience more than anything else. You can choose a small patch of wall, like the wall under a cupboard or behind the sink, or you can even use the inside of a cabinet door or the side of the cabinet itself. Avoid places that get too warm, however, since spices can be damaged by prolonged heat.


  • To make your tins a part of the kitchen décor, you can get decorative with your lids. For instance, you can use color lids to for an eye-catching burst of color. You could also decorate each lid with a picture of the botanical version of each spice, or by placing an unrelated picture or design on it.

Things You’ll Need

  • Metal tins
  • Magnets
  • Epoxy
  • Super glue
  • Craft glue
  • Steel wool
  • Small stick
  • Labels
  • Masking tape
  • Aluminum sheet
  • Anti-rust coating
  • Velcro
  • Strong craft glue
  • Metal rulers

Article Info

Categories: Metalwork and Wire Projects