Apr 30

Getting Organized with DIY Chalkboard Paint Spice Jars

DIY Chalk Painted Spice Jars

My spices were in dire need of some organization. Really, I'm not joking! Because I like to keep things real around here, I'll let you take a look for yourself.

This is the sorry state of my spices as of last week -- still tossed haphazardly in the same box I placed them in when we moved five months ago...

It's been a constant thorn in my side while trying to cook lately. It was time to get them organized, but how? I settled on creating a spice drawer using baby food jars with chalkboard painted lids, keeping things frugal yet still attractive.

I found a ginormous Pampers box full of baby food jars in the basement during the move. Given that the expiration dates stamped on many of them were in '05 and '06, I clearly put them away some time ago, and I've not a clue as to what my intentions were. But I was glad to have stumbled upon them when I started thinking about how I might solve my spice organization issue.

I decided that repurposing them was the perfect way to organize my spices in a drawer, so I headed to Walmart to pick up some Plaid chalkboard paint, paint brushes, and chalk. I also ordered a chalk ink marker off of Amazon -- it did cost more than the previous three items combined, but I wanted to be able to label the jars neatly, and it definitely did the trick.

I didn't bother with masking anything off on the baby food jar lids and just started painting. According to the instructions, only two coats are necessary on most surfaces, but I found that the metal lids didn't hold on to the paint well and therefore needed three to four coats.

Then I left the paint to cure overnight. Finally the paint needed conditioned, which was as simple as rubbing some chalk into it well before writing on it with the chalk marker.

I transferred my spices into the jars (have to say I'm ashamed to admit just how many duplicates and expired containers I tossed), labeled them, and organized them in a drawer. I love this simple, easy, and inexpensive solution. Now I can find my spices easily and keep tabs on when I need to buy more easily!

Do you have another creative and inexpensive solution for organizing spices?

Walmart Moms Disclosure

by Tara | 31 comments

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa May 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

Such a great way to upcycle/recycle those baby jars!!! I hate my spice organization. They’re all still in their original containers. And my husband put them on a tall shelf so I can’t see the labels without a stool.


Tara May 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I love that I can easily see and grab what I need from the drawer now, and an added bonus is the wider mouths make it much easier to get my measuring spoons in there.


Shaina May 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Makes me wish I had a box of baby food jars. They look so cute!


Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen May 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I love this idea, it is perfect to see what’s in the jars from the top! I need serious organization help!


Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch May 2, 2012 at 8:04 am

This is absolutely the best spice jar organization method I believe I have ever seen! Absolute perfection! Now, I just need to track down someone to save a ton of baby food jars for me. :)


Amy May 2, 2012 at 8:09 am

I have so many duplicates too! I’d be embarrassed for anyone to see how bad my spice cabinet and drawer is. I can clean it out, and in no time it gets messy again.


Melissa May 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm

So cute! I love it.
The only thing I would add is that I would paint the very bottom of the jar (just a bit) so that I could write the date I put the spice in the jar. That is one thing I have been doing lately is writing the date I open my spices so I know how old they are.


Tara May 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm

What a fantastic idea! I’ve always written mine on the bottom with a Sharpie, but this will work much better for these.


Barb August 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Use a black Sharpie marker to mark on the bottoms of the jars. It stays real well until you purposely wipe it off.


Melanie May 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm

What a neat idea! Question though: How do you keep the chalk from rubbing off? Doesn’t it rub off pretty easy? And what is a chalk marker? Is it permanent, but looks like chalk?


Tara May 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

A chalk marker is like liquid chalk. It’s more durable than just a regular piece of chalk. It won’t rub off easily and need just a touch of water to remove it. Of course it costs more than a package of chalk, but I have no doubt it will last a long, long time!


amy May 5, 2012 at 12:13 am

What a great idea! I’ve been looking for a new way to organize and store my spices and I think you just solved my problem. I’m over from Deal Seeking Mom. Great site!


MElissa May 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

WOW…such a great idea….OMG…i hope i have enough baby jars in the garage to do my spice cupboard…i love this idea.

thanks SO much for sharing.



Michelle @ delishiono May 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I think you have saved my sad pantry of spices. (And my sanity!) Need to hit up Walmart for some supplies :D


marguarita July 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Wow!!!! What a fantastic way to organize not just spices, but anything that can fit into those cute jars. I plan on just painting my tops with black paint, and using my paint markers I had purchased to write on my spice containers I have now. Just love the whole concept. Thanks for sharing! Awesome, awesome, awesome!


candy August 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I do have another question how do you buy spices? in a little jar and transfer or do you get the bigger size and stock somewhere else?


Tara August 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Unless it’s something that we use a ton of, I buy the smaller sizes. Spices lose their flavor profile pretty quickly, so I’ve found that buying the larger sizes doesn’t pay off in the long run,


Leona November 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

guess what I am going to do with the box of baby jars I just found THX so much


Cheryl January 2, 2013 at 9:59 am

Very cute! I can’t imagine how many of those little jars I’d be able to get into my spice drawer. I really like the idea of having wide mouth opening to get the measuring spoons in too.
I’ve had a ‘spice drawer’ for quite a few years, but have always kept my spices in their original containers (unless I buy bulk). I then use a Sharpie to write the name of the spice on the container…or, if the lid is black, I use a small freezer label and write on that. Masking tape also works.
I will definitely be keeping an eye out for some cute little jars though! Thanks for this!!


Jen April 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

Great idea! I’m going to buy the applesauce baby food ones for my kids lunch boxes and then turn them into spice jars!


LP May 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I found a sale on baby food (33 cents per jar) and bought a ton. I’m excited to turn the jars into something useful! Thanks!


LP May 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Okay, the did this and the drawer looks amazing :) BUT how do you keep them from shifting in the drawer?


Tara May 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Great question! I had the same problem at first too, but I bought a roll of Duck shelf liner and cut it to size, and it stops them from shifting. Here’s an example of what I used: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002AS9NAI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002AS9NAI&linkCode=as2&tag=unsophisticook-20

I know you can pick it up at Walmart and probably elsewhere though!


Brittany December 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

I made these jars about a year ago now, and many of the seals on the babyjars just aren’t air tight enough to preserve the spices. Do you have problems with this, or did I just get a bad batch of jars?


Thaler March 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

I just did my spices with half pint canning jars and wrote the names with a sharpie. The names come off with Bar Keepers Friend. The lids are replaceable for when the seals weaken.


Tara March 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thanks, that’s a great option for readers that may not be able to get their hands on empty baby food jars!


Tina July 8, 2014 at 8:54 am

This is a GREAT idea! I use pint and 1/2 pint mason jars because I buy spices in bulk at a spice house.


Abby August 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

This is a great idea!! I just painted all my lids and waiting for them to dry. I have one questions, though, how don’t the spices all taste like spray paint? Did you have that problem at all? Or your house smelling like spray paint after you brought them inside? I haven’t brought them in yet-just curious!


Tara August 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Hi Abby! I actually used paint that came in a squeeze bottle and only went down to the ring around the bottom edge, but I don’t think spray paint should pose a problem. I’d just let it dry thoroughly and sit for a few days until any lingering odor has dissipated.


Rebecca Deroche September 1, 2014 at 10:40 pm

I wanted to do this project, finally bought jars, but the lids are stained inside from the food that was in the jars. Guess the person I bought them from didn’t clean them well enough. Are there any suggestions on how to remove these stains. I already tried soaking in water with bleach, no luck. Any ideas or should I just forget it?


Tara September 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Hi Rebecca! I just washed both the jars and the lids in the dishwasher before painting them. There were some lingering stains, but I didn’t worry about it because they spices may discolor them, as well. As long as they’re clean, it should pose a problem!


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