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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.

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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!!!
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