Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Project House Update: Cap'n Hook

It’s Pinterest Challenge time again!

This time, I decided to tackle something I think just about everyone has probably pinned: the measuring cup/spoon organizer.

And my cabinet definitely needed it. Here’s what it looked like before:

There were three main reasons why it got to be so bad.

  1. I don’t like when cups and spoons are linked together. I like them loose so they don’t all get dirty and have to be washed every time I cook something. However, since they are loose, they roam and expand and take over everything.
  2. We have way too many. We have mine, my former roommate’s who left her’s behind when she moved out, Dan’s, and the fancy ones we received as a wedding present.
  3. I’m just lazy and throw them in the cabinet when they’re clean. No stacking for me.
Therefore, these hooks could potentially tame this beast of a shelf.

Here’s the tools I used:

  • 5 gallon paint stirrers (Ask about them at the paint desk at Home Depot, but they are free!). My cabinets are narrow, so I needed 3 to hang everything.
  • Cup hooks (Note: the reviews from these hooks claim that they aren't to the sizes specified. The coating makes the hook pretty thick while making the diameter smaller. I did have issue with a handful of my cups and spoons having too small of holes to hang on these hooks, but it definitely fit my nice ones that I wanted to hang, anyway.)
  • Measuring tape
  • Paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Wood glue (optional)
  • 3M Velcro strips
And here’s how it went together!

  • Measuring the opening of the cabinet, not the width of the door. Subtract roughly 1/2-3/4” from the measurement and mark on your stirrers.
  • Lay out the measuring cups and spoons on the stirrers. You want to make sure that the cups don’t knock into each other when they are hanging. Also, since I needed 3 layers of hooks, I put the spoons at the bottom so they are easiest to see and distinguish which size they are: 1 Tbsp, 1/2 Tbsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp, and 1/4 tsp. Then, on the middle layer, I put the cups I use the most: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1/4 cup. Since we have (and love) our obscure size cups, those went on the top layer: 3/4 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/8 cup. We also have a 2/3 cup, but that one’s just going to have to sit on the shelf. No more room!

  • Mark the position where you need your hooks to go based on their layout. Remember to leave some room above each hook for a label, if necessary. Also, it may turn out to be handy to make it know which side is the good side. You know, so if your husband helping and inadvertently does everything for the wrong side.
  • Cut the stirrers to length. If you want, drill pilot holes for the hooks. It will make for a cleaner final product, but it’s not mandatory.

  • Make sure to do a test run of your hooks. Because the wood is so soft and there was plenty of extra length, I wanted to test to see if there would potentially be a lot of burrs and splinters when I screwed in the hooks. If there were, I wanted to know before I paint so I could sand them off. It wasn’t too bad, but I found that the threading on the hooks was thicker than the stirrer. If you know the threaded length of the hooks you’re looking at, you could potentially avoid this problem (Note: the thickness of a 5 gallon stirrer from Home Depot is 1/4 in. The thickness of a regular stirrer from Home Depot is 1/8 inch.) Since I already bought my hooks and I really liked them, my husband came up with a different solution. He measured lengths from the scraps of stirrers the same length as the Velcro strips and used wood glue to attach them to the back of the stirrers. It means that the hooks can be fully threaded and the ends of the screws won’t damage the interior surface of my cabinet door. I will be the first to admit that it’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s just going inside a cabinet, so who cares?

  • Quick sand off the burrs.
  • Painting. We just used some that we had sitting around in the garage (Again, it’s in a cabinet, who cares?) Two coats to cover up any little bits of dried wood glue

  • Screw in your hooks.
  • Determine where the stirrers need to go on the door. Make sure to avoid the shelving on the interior of the cabinet. I like to mark of where the shelves are with painter’s tape so I don’t have to double check it a million times. 
  • Put the velcro strips on the stirrers. Other tutorials I’ve seen online just screw directly to the cabinet, but because I didn’t want to damage my “vintage” cabinets and these aren’t that heavy, 3M Velcro strips work just fine.
  • Peel the paper off the back of the velcro (while stuck to the velcro on the stirrer) and stick stirrers into place. 

  • Label your hooks. (I still need to do this, but I will at some point, promise!)
  • Hang your cups and spoons!

Isn't it gorgeous? Once I get around to labeling, I'll know exactly how to find what I need. My husband, being the engineer he is, is already trying to find ways to better the system. And good thing I used velcro strips because he's been moving them around.

Not that I mind because the shelf still looks like this:

I did manage to get rid of one set of cups, but somehow, there are still more than I remember. Oh well. At least I can find things now.


  1. How handy is this? I need to do this for my parents. There utensil storage drives me crazy! (short trip)

  2. This is great! I have never seen it before, but I love the idea. So handy, I might have to take a mental note of this too for a future when I have more of a home than the temporary rented one I am living in right now.