My old spice drawer had many issues:

– out of space

– tins not airtight

– arbitrary alphabetical organization

– no labelling for spice-impaired

– selection had grown from base pantry ingredients to a “collection”


Research led to a better organizational principle: botanical taxonomy as in Order-Family-Genus-Species, per the International Code of Nomenclature of algae, fungi and plants, 2012 (the Melbourne code); and International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants, 2010.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.48.04 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.29.13 PMArrangement into a periodic table shape was possible but too “cute” and wasted a lot of space. (A guy did a magnetic spice rack similar to this on Instructables, but used the crappy tins I was getting rid of, and took up 24”x36” of wall space that I don’t have, for half as many spices as I have.)

I did have a doorless kitchen cabinet available, 11”d x 17”w x 30”h, after removing little-used wine shelves.


My compact “periodic” table formed the organizational backdrop for the spice rack. This graphic is actually a spreadsheet in Apple’s Numbers app. Here, have it (PDF download).


I printed it on 30-mil styrene and punched holes for shelf supports.


I designed U-shaped shelves to support ten 4oz jars each, with three shelf support contact points. Researched acrylic, glass, stainless steel, and aluminum. Prototyped steel and aluminum.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 8.59.11 PM

Produced the final shelves in 1/8″ aluminum at a local metal shop with a water jet cutter. Sanded the edges and faces for a scuffed stainless “commercial kitchen” look.


I drilled the empty cabinet with holes for shelf pegs, and added a battery-powered LED light fixture above.

Here’s the periodic table of spices, wrapping the back and sides of the cabinet in a U-shape.


Shelf pegs and shelves installed, face edges of aluminum shelves blacked with Sharpie to match borders on the periodic table.


Spice jars installed, each labeled with its two-letter symbol.


Night light mode



Wayne Hammond

Wayne Hammond

Maker, husband, father, printer, brewer, geographer.

  • Recently finished re-doing our kitchen – large spice drawer by the stove with the most common 30 spices in alphabetic order, labeled and lying sideway, less common stuff up in a cabinet in the same jars. But now? spice rack envy.

  • Duncan Boa

    This has brought on a minor nerdgasm. Love the spice jars!

  • Chris

    Any specifics on the jars used? Or did I miss that somewhere in the article?

  • Kat Bford

    I see you printed it on 30-mil styrene, I also see that your cupboard was 30″ high, can you tell me for your cupboard what was the width your styrene was when flat?

    • wayne

      I would have used slightly less-rigid 10-mil or 20-mil styrene but I could not find any at local sign shops. The width of the print is 32″ and the height is actually 29.5″.

      • Kat Bford


  • DjNiX901

    very well done!! super cool!!

    • wayne


  • Amanda Bevill

    I am in awe. SO COOL!!!

  • Somebody_Something

    Incredibly cool.

  • Michael

    Nerdgasm here! I love it – great job.

  • mcspeakeasy

    This is by far one of the sickest ideas I’ve ever seen. Major Applaud here!

  • Allen Brown

    Well Done!

  • RetroRazor

    Incredible! great use of existing space. Any chance you would share the Numbers file (or as xlsx) for us to blend up? Thx!

  • Kieran McNeff

    Simply brilliant!

  • Nona Maus

    Share that spreadsheet please!

  • Steve Baker

    Awesome work…now trying to persuade wife that I need to make this! (Also, MUST BUY MORE SPICES!)