Installing a Knife Rack and Spice Racks

Hi friends! I am so psyched the kitchen cabinets are done and look soooooooo good! Before diving in on the last big portion of the kitchen (the backsplash), I worked on a few smaller items that make a huge difference in my every day life. Today I’m going to talk about installing our knife rack and spice racks.

As I’m sure you can tell from my previous posts, our kitchen is pretty small, especially for two people who like to cook. So to maximize our storage space, I turned to vertical storage to help us get organized. The previous owner had installed 2 spice racks on the side of the refrigerator cabinet, and my husband added his magnetic knife rack when we moved in. Since everything else in the kitchen was getting a makeover, I decided to give them a little love before reinstalling them.

Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click the link and purchase the item.

Installing the Knife Rack

Our magnetic knife rack is a great tool to help organize your kitchen. My husband has a lot of different types of knives, so a standard knife block wouldn’t do the trick. (And again, the whole trying-to-maximize-vertical-storage thing). The magnetic rack allows us to have the knives safely stored off the counter top and out of the drawers. And, the best part–it’s only $15 at Ikea (if you don’t have one near you, don’t worry–they sell this online).

Since I was reusing my knife rack, I made sure to clean off all the kitchen grease before reinstalling it with my favorite Clorox Wipes (I know, I know, impossible to find now with COVID. Just use any degreasing kitchen cleaner). Don’t skip this step! Two minutes of cleaning made the dingy knife rack look almost brand new. Now, it’s time to dive in!

For supplies and tools, all you need is your knife rack, 2 screws appropriate for where you’re mounting the knife rack, a tape measure, a hammer if you’re using dry wall anchors, an impact driver, and a drill.

Tip: How do you pick the right screws for your project?

I base my screws I use on 2 things: the material I’m installing into and the weight of the thing I’m installing.

  • If you’re installing into studs or wood cabinets (like I did for my knife rack), I used regular screws. For this particular project, I used shorter ones (3/4″) because the cabinet frame was only 1 inch thick. When I’m installing into drywall, I use drywall anchors like these. They provide support for the screw so they don’t just rip out of your drywall as soon as any weight is applied to them.
  • Depending on how heavy the object you’re installing is, you may need different drywall anchors (they are made for certain weights), longer screws (think more length to distribute the weight on), or more screws holding the object into the wall.

Step 1: Decide Where to Install your Knife Rack and Mark the Spot for Your Screws

Once you find the perfect spot for your knife rack, you need to mark the spots where you screws are going to go. I hold up the item I’m hanging to gauge where it will sit, and typically estimate about where the first mark should be. Once I’ve made that mark, I use my tape measure and measure the difference between where the two screws are supposed to go on the rack and make the second mark that distance apart from the first mark, at the same height (see why you’re tape measure comes in handy?).

Step 2: Make the Holes for your Screws

Using your drill with a bit about the size of your screw, make your two screw holes on your two marks.

How do you pick the right drill bit?

Some screw packaging will tell you what drill bit size to use (super helpful). If not, I do the old school method of holding my screw up next to several drill bits until I find one that seems to be about the same size, but DEFINITELY NOT larger than it. I always err on the side of smaller, because you can always make your hole bigger, but can’t make it smaller (I feel like there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere. . .)

Step 3: Screw the Knife Rack into the Wall

Hold the back of the knife rack up against the wall. Line the holes in the rack up with your holes in your wall. Using your impact driver, screw your screws into the wall, attaching your knife rack to the wall.

Step 4: Attach the Magnetic Piece of the Knife Rack

This is the easiest part—line your magnetic rack up, end to end, with the rack and press forward. The magnets will do all the work!

Step 5: Place your Knives on the Knife Rack

Arrange them however you’d like. You can see we do biggest to smallest, with our shears at the end.

This took me a grand total of 5 minutes, since I was reusing the same holes as before and didn’t have to do any measuring, but I would say start-to-finish, you should be done in 15 minutes.

Installing the Spice Racks

Now, on two part 2 of this project: installing the spice racks. The spice racks I used are also from Ikea and you can buy them online here. The previous owner had 2 installed, but that wasn’t enough for us. Steve loves hot sauce and has enough bottles that one rack was overflowing (we used the other for olive oils). I bought a third one when I bought the pot racks to give us a little more storage space for just $5.

These arrive unassembled and unfinished, and they are super easy to put together, all I needed was a screwdriver and a rubber mallet (or hammer covered with a dishcloth, if you don’t have a mallet).

After that, the only supplies you need are the same as the knife block: the screws you’re going to attach them to the wall with, paint or stain if you don’t want the natural wood look, an impact driver, and a drill.

Step 1: Assemble the Spice Racks

This was a super easy step and I can’t explain it better than Ikea does, so check out the assembly instructions here.

Step 2 (If Desired): Paint the Spice Racks

If you like the natural wood look, go ahead and skip to the next step! I wanted the racks to blend into my cabinets, so I painted them the same white as my cabinets. It took 3 coats to fully cover them, but since the dry time was only 2 hours, I was able to get them done in 2 afternoons after work.

Here they are unfinished
Remember those plastic cups we used for the cabinets? They work perfectly for these too!

Step 3: Decide Where to Install your Spice Racks and Mark your Holes for your Screws

Use a pencil to mark where the screws should go on the wall. Make sure they are level. If you have a laser level, this is a great place to use it. The battery on ours had died when I did this project, unfortunately. Otherwise, measure the distance between the ceiling and your marks and make sure they’re the same.

Step 4: Drill your Holes for your Screws

Using your drill bit and your drill, drill your guide holes for your screws (or drywall anchors) on each mark. Some drywall anchors only want a small guide hole (like 1/4″). Check your packaging before you drill all the way through your wall.

Lauren-How do you just drill 1/4″ through a wall?

My husband taught me a great trick during this project. Take some painter’s tape and wrap it around your drill bit at 1/4″. That way, when you’re drilling, you have a visual marker to know how far into the wall you should go!

Step 5: Install your Screws

Using your impact driver (or your screwdriver if you don’t have one), screw your screws in. You’ll have to leave a few millimeters out so the racks can hang on them.

Step 6: Hang your Racks

My paint dripped a little, but I didn’t care all that much as it’s in a corner of my kitchen that people aren’t going to regularly see.

Hang your racks on the screws. If it’s not going on, you may need to loosen your screws a smidge so they can rest on them.

Before putting anything on it, I used my rubber mallet here and struck the top of the racks above each screw a few times to make sure they were all the way installed. If you don’t have a rubber mallet, you can use a hammer–just cover the spot you’re going to hit with a dishcloth to protect the wood.

And lastly, I checked to make sure they were level with my mini level, aka my laser level with dead batteries. You don’t need to do this if you don’t care, but I had my level out already for another project, so it was easy to grab and check. If they weren’t level, the racks usually just need a few hits with the mallet on one side, and they would be perfect.

The finished product!

Step 7: Fill with your Favorite Spices or Oils

We use ours for hot sauce and cooking oils, as it frees up our pantry space for larger staples and makes the individual sauce or oil easier to find.

Assembling the spice rack took less than 5 minutes, painting took a few hours for 2 coats and dry time, and hanging each spice rack took approximately 10 minutes. So, all in all, a super quick project to give us some extra storage (and organization) in our small kitchen.

So pretty!

Next post, I’ll dive back into the big kitchen projects with the backsplash! This was definitely the project I was most afraid of trying (I’ve done ZERO tile work in the past), but it was much more doable than I thought and made a tremendous difference in our kitchen. I can’t wait to share pictures and tips with you then!


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