Friday, December 26, 2008

How to make everything out of an Altoid's Tin

How to Reuse an Empty Altoids Tin

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Altoids candy comes in a variety of small, sturdy metal tins that invite creative reuse. If you have one (or a giant stack) left over, try one of these projects to put it to good use.


  1. Remove the candy smell from inside by washing the tin with dish soap and rinsing well. Make sure to dry the tin thoroughly so that it does not rust.

  1. Make a guitar out of it.[1] Yes, you can actually play it!
  2. Make a pintoid camera--a pinhole camera with the Altoids tin as the casing.[2]
  3. Build an external battery pack for your iPod.[3]
  4. Make an iPod shuffle case from a chewing gum tin. A hole can be made for the headphone cord.[4]
  5. Use Altoids tins as cases for electronics. House any small electronic projects that fit.
  6. Build a computer power supply tester according to our instructions here.
  7. Make a crystal radio inside the tin.[5]
  8. Convert it into a USB drive.[6][7]
  9. Make a vibrobot. With a recycled motor, a hanger, some wire and a bit of hot glue, you can make a little vibrating robot that wiggles and moves on the floor.[8]
  10. Make your own mp3 player[9]. It's an ambitious project, but if you're handy with electronics, give it a try.

  1. Decorate the tin. Depending on your purpose and project, you may wish to paint over the graphics, or remove the existing paint with paint remover or sandpaper.
  2. You can use polymer clay to embellish the tin, such as giving it legs so it looks like a little table, or a handle so it looks like a little luggage.[10]
  3. Create miniature works of art. You can attach magnets to the tin and display them on any metal surface.
  4. Make a pocket craft kit with just enough of your preferred supplies to keep you busy if you find yourself waiting.
  5. Try copper plating and etching the tin. You can use magazine pages as cheap toner transfer media, etch the tins with salt water solution, and/or copper plate the tin with an electric current.[11]
  6. Make a travel sewing kit. Collect a miniature pair of scissors, a couple of spare buttons, safety pins, needles, and thread in the colors you wear regularly (black, white, tan, dark blue, and red are common colors. Carry it with you in your purse, car, or travel kit, or leave it in a desk drawer or locker at work.
  7. Make a pocket sized drawing kit. Never be without a pencil and notebook.
  8. Make a pocket sized paint box. Put clay in the tin and make several indentations and bake to harden the clay. Put paint (watercolor, tempera) in each indentation. Pack a mini paintbrush and you're all set to go.[12]

Survival & Emergencies
  1. Make a survival kit.[13]
  2. Store your bicycle tire patch kit in an Altoids tin. The tire levers may have to live outside the tin, but it's about the right size for a few patches, a tube of adhesive, a rasp or bit of sandpaper, and a bit of chalk (good for marking a puncture once you find it).
  3. Make a fire starting kit.
  4. Make a mini first aid kid. Add band-aids, alcohol pads, anti-bacterial ointment, and tweezers (in case of splinters).
  5. Turn it into a portable eye care kit if you wear contact lenses. Put a little bottle of eye drops in there, along with a contact lens case filled with solution in case your eyes become irritated and you need to take your contacts out. Pack a hand wipe in there, too, so you can clean your hands before touching your eyes.
  6. Create a stomach ache kit. Add some stomach soothing medication in the form of chewable tablets, antacid tablets, anti-diarrhea tablets, motion sickness medication, ginger candy, and a little bit of loose tea.

  1. Use Altoids tins to organize screws, beads, or any other small items.
  2. Glue flat pieces of foam to the tin and lid and use it to keep your fly fishing flies organized. Using thicker closed-cell foam helps it to float, in case of accident on the river! You can also use magnetic strips (from your favorite craft store)hot glued inside the tin for hassle free fly storage.
  3. Use it to keep gum from getting smashed in your backpack.
  4. Carry and collect business cards or mini cards.
  5. Use it as a carrying case for your Nintendo DS cartridges, the gum tins fit 8 perfectly!
  6. Place a scented wax tart in the tin and place on a candle warmer, keeping the lid open. The tart will melt and fit perfectly into the tin, which can be closed when cool and neatly stored.
  7. Glue a bit of wick to the inside bottom of a tin and fill with plain or scented melted wax. The wax will cool, leaving a candle inside the convenient tin candle holder.
  8. Create a geocache or mini time capsule using the tin as a container.
  9. Turn it into a personal postage assistant. With two tins, you can make a kit that includes a scale, lets you know how much postage you'll need, and dispenses stamps.[14]
  10. Use the tin as your wallet.
  11. Use the tin as a crush resistant cigarette case. -This really depends on what kind of cigarettes you smoke though, as most don't fit well.
  12. Make an eyeshadow and/or lipstick kit, using the same instructions as with making a watercolor paint kit.[12]
  13. Make a pocket sized religious or spiritual shrine. Fill it with little tokens that represent your beliefs, like pictures or miniature statues of a religious leader or deity[15] If you're Buddhist, you can make a prayer wheel:
  14. Use it as a place to store your bluetooth headset.
  15. Make it a sturdy camera holder! Glue thin pieces of felt to prevent scratches on the camera. Make sure your camera is small enough, a pentax optia is the perfect size!
  16. Put photos of loved ones inside and pack in your suitcase. Decorate the outside of the box and you have a travel photo frame.
  17. Use it to store your guitar or banjo picks.
  18. Temporarily store earrings or other small jewelery while traveling or in the locker room.
  19. Use it as an ashtray in your Jeep. It doesn't spill when it's closed, and creates a tight enough seal to snuff out the butts. This way you don't litter OR create a fire.
  20. Use it as a place to put your clips and Rolling Papers.
  21. Put photos of loved ones inside and pack in your suitcase. Decorate the outside of the box and you have a travel photo frame.
  22. Decorate (or not) and use as a pill box.
  23. Put tissues in and use to store bassoon or oboe reeds. Works really well!




  • If you cut or sand the tin during the course of your project, be careful of sharp edges and slivers of metal.
  • Make sure to have competent parental supervision when you attempt some of these projects!
  • Caution! Batteries should NEVER be stored in a metal container!!
  • If you use an Altoids tin to house electronics, don't try to carry it on a plane unless you are prepared to have it confiscated by security. I lost my homebrew iPod charger worth $25 in parts plus half an hour of additional searching!

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Altoids tin guitar how-to

  2. How to make a pintoid

  3. Altoids tin as external battery pack

  4. iPod shuffle case

  5. Altoids tin crystal radio

  6. Example of Altoids USB drive

  7. Instructions on how to make a combo USB drive

  8. Completed Altoids vibrobot


  10. Decorating tins with polymer clay

  11. Copper plating and etching

  12. 12.0 12.1 How to make a watercolor kit

  13. 3-day Altoids tin survival kit

  14. Altoids tin personal postage assistant tutorial

  15. Examples of Altoid tin spiritual shrines

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