Chalk It Up, Part One: Ooh, Spicy

Today’s post is a lesson in Learning From My Mistakes. If you like drinking games, grab a beverage and drink every time I say, “In retrospect…” Maybe go ahead and get two beverages.

Cabinet space is very limited in our cozy kitchen; our spices were housed in a tiny above-the-stove cabinet that is completely impossible to navigate, even for tall folks like us. It’s a miracle we never got hit in the forehead with a rogue jar of cumin.

Apologies for the terrible photos. Big surprise, the lighting in the tiny kitchen is awful.

We improvised a magnetic spice rack out of the side of the fridge. We started by ordering 30 two-ounce clear-top tins from Specialty Bottle, along with two eight-ounce tins for bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. This is just enough for all the spices we have, plus a couple extra. I am a habitual buy-extras-just-in-case-r.

In retrospect, I might have gone with tins that had screw-tops, not pop-off lids. They seem perfectly secure when they’re on the fridge, but I know it’s only a matter of days before one of us grabs a tin by the lid and there’s a giant, sneezy pile of spice between the cabinet and fridge. Anyway, I like Specialty Bottle because the prices are great, and you can get just as many as you need of each thing.

We taped off the tops of each lid with painters tape. In retrospect, we probably could have done this differently. The paint sort of pooled and peeled in the corners, and didn’t look as nice and neat as I’d hoped.

It took about 6-7 coats of chalkboard paint on each lid, but it dried quickly. In retrospect, I wish I’d used a better quality paint brush or a foam brush. The bristles left in the paint do not make for a smooth writing surface.

While the paint was drying, we attached the magnets. This project has been on our To Do list ever since we moved in in November, and by the time the tins arrived, we were too impatient to wait for really good, strong, tiny rare earth magnets (something like this), so we bought two packages of thick, regular magnets from Michael’s. In retrospect, well, you know. Get the good ones.

We attached them using Liquid Nails, and ended up using three magnets per tin, because a) when full, some of the tins started sliiiiiiding down the fridge, and b) the magnets are so thick that if you put it on at an angle, it might just fall right off. Seriously, just get the good magnets. On the link above, I bet item # NSN0640 would have been perfect.

Then it was just a matter of peeling off the paint, writing on each lid, and filling the tins. I managed to only misspell one (oregano) but did need to wipe clean and re-label a few due to terrible handwriting. I love, love, love the chalk pen. It’s also called a “bistro marker” or “chalk marker” and not all craft stores will have them. A.C. Moore didn’t even know what I was talking about, and Michael’s only had a 4-pack of neon colors. I found this at Joann’s Fabrics for $3.

One problem I had was that, after the chalk has dried fully, it doesn’t erase fully. I don’t know if I was supposed to “prime” the paint with regular chalk first, or what. Not too worried about it; we have a massive amount of paint to go through, and I don’t foresee having to change out the spices.If you’re thirsty, you can treat this paragraph as a retrospective mistake, but I don’t really care.

I’m the only person in the world that can’t take a great picture on an iPhone.

I LOVE the way they look up on the fridge. If I was slightly more OCD, I would have organized alphabetically or by type, but for now I love the way they look all mixed together, greens and reds and yellows and browns.

Stay tuned for a post I’m tentatively calling See, Honey, I’m Not A Complete Crazy Person For Hoarding Glass Jars.


10 responses to “Chalk It Up, Part One: Ooh, Spicy

  1. Wonderful, practical, beautiful project!

  2. Love this, it’s going on my to-make list. I wonder if you could use regular paint with that chalk marker if they were ones you knew you wouldn’t need to change.

    • I’m sure you could! The chalk pen works fine on other surfaces–sort of like Wite-out. You could also probably use one of those metallic silver Sharpies for the same effect.

  3. Pingback: Chalk It Up, Part Two: Hoarders | Light&Spoon

  4. Pingback: Oranizing and storing of your herbs and spices | Make Create Do

  5. I just love this and can’t wait to try it. Now…what to do with the empty cabinet space the spices were in???

  6. Pingback: Ideas for Kitchen Organisation - A&D Blog

  7. Cost Plus World Market has these exact containers that are already magnetic!

  8. Pingback: Safestore Blog » Blog Archive Keep it Fresh: Storage Ideas for Your Fridge » Safestore Blog

  9. Pingback: Small Spaces: Getting The Most Out Of A Small Kitchen (Part 3) - The Luna Bird

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