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Getting Organized with DIY Chalkboard Paint 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?


Monday 22nd of January 2018

i did this, but i have paint brush marks on the lids. How do i even out the brush marks? Thanks.

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

Hi Dee! It's hard to see in the pictures, but mine have a bit of texture to them, as well. If you have excessive brush marks though, I'd try sanding them down with some fine grit sandpaper, and then apply one more very thin coat. Let it dry thoroughly before seasoning it with the chalk.


Saturday 1st of November 2014

These jars are beautiful! After weeks of searching Craiglist regularly, I finally found 50 baby food jars for like 18 cents a piece and got them all washed and ready to go. :)

I have never used chalkboard paint before, and I know matte paints are not always the best choice for stuff that you want to be able to wipe off easily... Have you tried washing the lids at all since you made these? I have a bad habit of touching stuff in my kitchen with dirty hands while I'm cooking, and am a little worried that the chalkboard marker and paint might come off if I try to wash them? But this way definitely looks better than a glossy paint...

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Sunday 2nd of November 2014

That's great, Kristie! 2+ years later, I haven't had any problems with the paint coming off. If you wash the chalk pen off, you may need to "recondition" the lids with some chalk before writing on them again, but the chalk pen is really very durable.

Rebecca Deroche

Monday 1st of September 2014

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 @ Unsophisticook

Wednesday 3rd of September 2014

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!


Tuesday 19th of August 2014

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 @ Unsophisticook

Tuesday 19th of August 2014

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.


Tuesday 8th of July 2014

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