DIY Vintage Apothecary Spice Bottles

I have to say I am more excited about this post than probably any other post I’ve done. For quite awhile I’ve been frustrated with my spice situation. I have a LOT of spices, and my collection was growing. You know how when you move there’s always that one thing that never gets organized? Well my spices were the poor victims of lack of storage space, time, and creativity. Which by the way is completely unlike me.

Well when I got an amazing shipment of spices from Pollen Ranch (oh the spoils of food blogging:p) I decided it was time to sort this mess out. I had a vision for a rustic, apothecary style spice rack. I wanted it to look like a collection of old potions. Now that I think of it, maybe subconsciously I wanted the spice collection that Luc has in the movie French Kiss. I love that scene! You know, where he asks Kate to smell all the bottles then taste the wine. I didn’t realize it until just now as I was typing. Funny how those little things get in there… I digress.

I spent many nights searching the web for the perfect spice jar. I knew the whole project hinged on the perfect jar. I found my match at SKS Bottle. I got a great price on a bulk order and soon 48 perfect little 2oz bottles with cork tops appeared on my door step.

The labels were more tricky. It took me some time, visits to stores all over town, searches on the internet, and about 3 days of brainstorming before I came across the perfect solution… from Martha Stewart! 🙂 Oh how I love Martha products. She has these amazing brown kraft labels available at Staples.

The next step was designing the perfect label. I found a really cool old french apothecary design and with a little photoshopping I was able to adjust it perfectly for my purposes. You are welcomed to use it! Lucky for me Avery has an online program with the template for the Martha Stewart labels already prepared and all you have to do is upload your images. Just a bit of tweaking and I had 36 labels ready to go.

The printing was a bit tricky and I found that you have to use a top loading printer for the 4×6 size of the label sheet. I tried taping the sheet to a piece of paper, and also tried using the 4×6 photo slot and nothing worked. I figured out the problem was from my bottom feeding printer. Kinko’s told me to not even bother trying to have them print them because the machines are too big for that small of a label sheet.

Luckily it worked perfectly with a regular top (or back?) loading printer- not the kind that feeds from a stack of papers through a roller thingy. Does that make sense? Lucky for me my mom had exactly this kind of printer so I finally sorted it out.

To fill the bottles I made a simple little cone out of paper. If I had thought of it I would have picked up a plastic funnel as I think it would have been a bit easier to handle. It also would have been nice to rinse it out between stronger spices so as to not contaminate the different flavours. I also recommend using a breathing mask when you fill the bottles, especially for the peppers! I learned this the hard way and I was hacking and coughing after inhaling some lovely Cayenne. I ended up covering my nose and mouth with a light scarf that worked fine.

Once I filled and labeled my amazing bottles I just needed to find the perfect home.

Apparently no one sells regular spice racks anymore. The only thing I could find was the ugly carousel kind. This simply would not do. I couldn’t find a decent one online for less than $50. I needed to fit at least 30 spices, and most only fit 12-24, so I would need two. I didn’t like the idea of taking up that much counter space. At any rate, the ones I did find were too clean and modern looking anyway. I wanted something old and antique.

My dad is somewhat of a craftsman and he has built some amazing things for my mom. I figured a simple spice rack wouldn’t cost too much to make. After a trip to Home Depot we decided that the cost to build, stain, and distress a rack wouldn’t be cheap enough to make it worth it. I looked around at some thrift stores but I just couldn’t find the right rack.

Finally I stumbled upon an amazing little etsy shop with a glorious old antique wooden rack that this lady discovered in a wood workers shop, on an old local farmstead, handmade from scraps. It seriously looks like it might have once lived on an old ship. It was perfect!

It finally arrived today and my little spice babies were all dolled up and ready for their new home. I couldn’t WAIT to set it all up and show you! Here is the final product! YAY!!!


48 thoughts on “DIY Vintage Apothecary Spice Bottles

      1. Irma

        I know this was years ago but do you know if those labels are still available? I have had a difficult time locating them. Your project inspired me!

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  3. glutenfreezen

    I love this idea! I was just looking at my two spice drawers yesterday thinking that there had to be a better way. I ran across Martha Stewart’s organizational things the other day at Office Depot. She has something cool for every area of life, doesn’t she? LOL

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and for signing up to follow. Have a wonderful day ~ April

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  6. ISELA


    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      It depends on the spice. Some I use more than others, like pepper and cinnamon. I started buying the large Costco jars of spices and keeping them in the pantry. I just keep a paper funnel nearby and refill as needed.

  7. Erin

    Hi! I am in love with the shelf you have to put your spice jars on. What was the Etsy shop you found it on? It would be perfect for my kitchen.

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      Thank you! Unfortunately it was a one of a kind item that the seller had found while thrifting. I would just recommend looking around at yard sales or on Craigslist. It took me a couple months to find that magical piece! Keep searching, you’ll find it and when you do you will know you were meant to be together. 🙂

  8. Sharon

    somebody who gets me! Your posts was absolutely delightful to read, and your idea of organizing those spices is amazing! I must have about 60 spice containers, but I got big plans for them now! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  9. RWHemme

    These look fabulous! Just curious though … what font did you end up using for your labels? Thanks in advance, keep up the great work & Happy New Year!

  10. Derek

    As pretty as these bottles are, I suggest going with amber or green colored bottles if you plan to mount these spices on the wall. UV light will degrade spices. The chemical compounds that give spices their characteristics (aroma, color, pungency) get altered mainly by oxidation. Oxidation occurs with light and heat. So using clear glass bottles for your spices and then displaying them in a kitchen with windows is a good way to degrade good spices quickly. Ground up spices will degrade quicker than whole spices, but all spices will go downhill much quicker with UV exposure.

  11. Jason

    Came upon this post looking for Christmas ideas for my girlfriend. I found this seller on Etsy who makes a spice rack that I used and it fit my purposed perfectly. It has 4 shelves instead of 3 and when using the 2oz. SKS bottles my girlfriend fit 44 bottles of spices in it! Now she just needs to figure out all the new dishes to make with them all! Thanks for the great idea that made for a very happy girlfriend!

  12. keymann18

    I really like the cork look and the look of the bottles but I am a little worried about the size of the opening into the bottles. Do you wish you had used bottles with bigger openings? or are these working just fine? Great write up!

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      These really work fine. The paper cone makes it easy to fill and refill them as needed. The only things that have been annoying to get out were whole cloves and pills (I use these in my bathroom too). Everything else sprinkles out just fine.

      1. Melissa

        These are so cute! Just wondering– are you able to fit a teaspoon in the mouths of the jars or do you just sprinkle the spices out?

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  14. Miriah

    Thank you! I love this blog and how thorough you are with directions. You mentioned we could use your template for the labels. Where would I be able to find your template? Could you also provide a link for the Avery template for the Martha Stewart size paper?
    Thanks again for the beautiful work and the lovely ideas ❤

  15. Shana

    Have you had any trouble with the labels sticking to the bottles? My labels keep wanting to come off. Like the middle part will stick, but the sides won’t. Thanks!

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      No I didnt have that issue. You could try a smaller label. Also make sure the bottles are very clean and free of finger prints or oils before applying thr labels.

  16. Terri Sommer

    Would you consider making these for me? I found bottles but not labels or spices. I don’t need box.
    Thank you.

  17. DMarie

    Wow! Ty!!! Came across your beautiful and creative apothecary herb/spice bottles..EXACTLY what I’m trying to accomplish for a built in shelving unit on kitchen wall! I’ll need to add 3 shelves to house all that i need…
    I think my greatest challenge will be printing the lables! Lol! Ty so much for posting links for those! Love love love this!!!


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