It might seem a little strange that even though I don’t have a working kitchen (or even really the hope of having a working kitchen anytime soon) I just had to do something about my spice rack situation. And technically it’s less of a “rack” and more of a “bunch of stuff in a box or maybe on a pantry shelf” which looked kind of like this.
I actually really liked the glass bottles with corks when I got them years ago, but the corks make horrible lids, and the labels I hand wrote for most of them were either crappy or gone. The rest of the spices were in mismatched jars or containers, and the whole thing was basically one big mess. I’m the kind of person who likes to have things I use often out in the open, and this just wasn’t going to do.
Luckily I stumbled on some inexpensive clamp-top glass jars at Crate & Barrel (12 for $15) and instead of putting it off any longer I bought some jars, made some labels, and ended up with this…
A slight improvement, right?
For the labels, I started with a little inspiration from this pin on Pinterest. I wanted the labels to be useful and a little funny. The garlic label, if you can’t read it, says:
Use with wild abandon in sauces,
meats, marinades, or mixed with
butter for bread or pasta.
A LOT OF FLAVOR
Treats infection, keeps vampires
and kissers at bay.
You can see I included culinary uses as well as “traditional medicine” uses. You know, just in case the zombie apocalypse happens and I can’t get my hands on any Tums.
I did my research and laid the labels out in InDesign…
I wanted to print them on brown Kraft paper, and I found a roll (in the style of wrapping paper) that had some interesting texture, however it was a little too curly to run through the printer. I cut it down to 8.5×11 size, and about five minutes after I stuck it under a heavy book to flatten I ran out of patience, then remembered this long forgotten “tool” I owned. In the laundry room.
Yeah. That’s right. I haven’t ironed a shirt in over a year, but I’ll be dammed if I didn’t bust the clothes iron out to flatten my kraft paper for spice jar labels. Probably I need to reexamine my priorities… uh, later.
The iron-on-low trick did work to get the paper flat enough to run through my printer, and after some trimming I had these:
The real question I had when planning this out was how on earth to stick the paper to the jars. I actually looked for “sticker paper” which is what they use for beer labels and such, but I couldn’t find it at my local craft store. What I did find was this thing…
A sticker maker! (And somewhere deep deep inside, my five year old sticker-collecting self gives a squeal of joy.)
This one was $12 at Michael’s and I used a coupon which brought it down to something like $8. They have different sizes but this one will make stickers up to 1.5″ wide which was perfect. Just put the paper in the top and pull the “sticker” on the bring it through.
A little rubbing…
And a DIY spice jar label is born!
The printing did bleed a little bit in some places, but overall I’m really happy with the way they turned out. (Also you can see my “cropping” skills suck, which is probably why people shouldn’t use paper cutters after midnight, but I think it adds to their rustic charm. Or something.)
Now I just have to fill all the jars up. And then find myself a kitchen to cook something in.
UPDATE (May 2013):
These labels, bless their spicy little hearts, have become quite the internet sensation. I’m thinking about getting them their own agent (one of the nuggets might be up for the job) in the meantime, I’ve provided two downloadable files below, if you’d like to make your own version of these spice jars.
- Printable PDF – Almost any person with a computer should be able to view and print this, but it is not editable.
- Adobe InDesign File – If you have Adobe InDesign and want to edit or make your own labels, you can download this file. (InDesign is not a cheap program and it doesn’t come automatically installed on a computer– it is not Adobe Acrobat or another PDF reader– so if you are not familiar with it, you probably won’t be able to edit this file.)
So, here’s the deal. I’m totally happy to put these out there so that you can use them, but I just can’t provide any type of technology, software, or design support for the files. Because, you know, I’m incredibly selfish with my time… a girl can’t spend all her time on the computer you know, there’s a farm that needs tending, donkeys that need hugging, and quite a lot of sawdust that needs to be made.
Even though I can’t personally email the files to everyone who asks, or help you figure out why they don’t work for you, I hope at least the pictures in this post provide some inspiration for you to create your own!