This last week of organization probably got me in a bit over my head. I decided to tackle the spice cabinet. Tired of digging through my variously sized plastic containers, knocking them out of the cabinet and onto the counter top – I started surfing Pinterest for storage ideas.
A few years back, I came this close to buying these spice jars from IKEA.
image courtesy of doorsixteen.com
Too bad they’re no longer available. I might have saved myself a few hours.
Then I found this inspiring image featuring Crate and Barrel jars.
image courtesy of designsponge.com
I found the jars pictured here, but couldn’t pull the trigger. I hate paying shipping when I don’t have to, and the fact that they’re on sale made me worry that they wouldn’t be around should I need more. After doing some googling, I found similar jars at Hobby Lobby. It was just my luck that they were having their 50% off glassware sale that week. As soon as I could, I made my way over to Hob-Lob and bought 25 of those suckers. Since the jars didn’t have a hanging mechanism attached, I also bought a 3 yard roll of 16 gauge jewelry wire. And to finish off the project, I bought Avery White Sticker Paper for the labels. Total spent? Just under $35.
I then got to washing.
And before I knew it, I had a bucket full.
The next step was snipping and bending the hanging mechanism.
Using needle-nose pliers, I cut each piece of wire to approximately 2.25″. I then used those same needle-nose pliers to bend the ends of the wire at a 90 degree angle the width of the pliers. Next, I attempted to find the midpoint of the wire and bend that at a 90 degree-ish angle. I was left with what looked like a miniature musical triangle.
I took my mini triangle and placed each leg under the spice jar hinge, then wrapped the legs around the hinge x25.
Unfortunately, the physics of my design wasn’t as simple as I expected it to be. But I’ll get to that later. Next was figuring out the grid on the inside of my cabinet. Oh, while we’re at it, let’s take a look at my spice cabinet before.
Ouch. What a mess. This post is only addressing the bottom shelf, but I’m working on future ideas for the rest of the cabinet. Ok, back to the cabinet door.
Putting together the grid was difficult and would be just as hard to explain, but I’ll do my best. First, I drew everything out on grid paper. My cabinet door is 13 inches wide and 28 inches tall, so I drew a rectangle 13 squares wide and 28 squares tall. Based on my measurements, I noted where the horizontal shelves were so I would be sure to avoid knocking the glass jars into them. I was then able to determine that I could fit 2 rows of 4 spice jars between each shelf with 1 inch between each jar.
Next, I translated those locations on to the door. First I found the middle of the door, marked 1/2 inch on either side of that middle point to find the interior edge location of both middle jars. Moving outward from those points, I marked 3/8 inch (half the width of the jar) over to find the center-line of the two middle columns of my spice jars, which would help determine where my nails would go. With my first row height in mind, I marked these locations with an X on top of painter’s tape.
From those two points, I moved outward again 1 3/4 inch to find the center-line of my two exterior columns, marking locations as I went. From that row, I measured up 1 inch plus 3 1/2 inches (the height of my spice jars) to find the second row. I repeated those steps for rows 3-6.
And yes, it was as complicated as it sounds. My cabinet door was full of X’s by the time I was finished. Some pieces of tape even had two X’s on them because I realized halfway through that I had mismeasured by 1/4 inch.
Fairly confident with my markings (and after several sessions of actually taping spice jars to my cabinet door to make sure it would close properly), I pulled out the hammer. 24 nails later, with painter’s tape removed and Rob having not heard a thing as he was engulfed in his Batman video game, my cabinet door was ready for some spice jar hanging. Only my jars weren’t.
As soon as I would go to close my cabinet door, the jars would roll all over the place, throwing disorganization into my beautifully laid out grid. By this time, it was 9pm, but with determination and the knowledge that Home Depot was open until 10pm, I hopped in the car to purchase some vinyl sticky dots. I was convinced these would solve all of my jumbled problems.
Well, the friction they provided certainly helped. Unfortunately, with enough force (that I’m known to use when cooking furiously), these sticky dots couldn’t hold up to physics. Darn physics. Where are Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci when you need ’em?
So I got to tweaking the jars a bit more, this time at the hanging mechanism. By simultaneously swinging and watching the rolling jars, I noticed that the triangle would rock back and forth at the nail point, so I tightened the top of the triangle to be a tighter angle. This helped a little bit more, but what finally got the jars to their most stable state was tightening the legs around the hinges to the point where they could no longer slide around the hinge. The jars still aren’t 100% fixed and I may need to do some tweaking in the future, but it’s at the point where it’s “fine for now”.
Especially considering I was anxious to get to the fun part, label making!
I referred back to my spice jar inspiration pictures for inspiration on designing the labels.
image courtesy of doorsixteen.com
image courtesy of abeautifulmess.typepad.com
It seemed I preferred simple borders with handwritten names. Although I had to learn to write in a certain style for my profession and enjoy doing it, I’m far too much of a perfectionist to do it once and be happy with the outcome. Instead, I downloaded a free font file and put together the labels in Photoshop. I chose mustard for the accent color since it seemed appropriate for spice jars, plus I already have various mustard colored items sprinkled throughout my house.
I printed the labels onto the Avery sticker paper and cut them out using a ruler and a utility knife. I could then peel off the backing and stick the labels to the jars. A word of caution: I learned through this craft session that ink jet printer ink can run when exposed to water. Since I know I don’t always dry my hands thoroughly while cooking, I plan on finishing the labels with clear sealant for that exact purpose.
I got to filling the jars with their respective spices and finally…
In alphabetical order, of course…
I’ll be making more changes to this cabinet and hopefully it won’t take as many hours as this project did!