Altoid Tins: Survival Kits List, Craft Projects, and More

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Tip: No matter what type of project you are doing with your empty Altoid tins, make sure that you wash and dry them thoroughly before using them. This is especially important for any endeavor that involves food, other consumable items (i.e. pills), or electronics.

Once you have finished with a tin or two of Altoid mints, you can use the empty tin for a wide variety of purposes. If you want to keep it simple, use it as a storage tin for any number of different small objects. For those of you who are crafty, consider turning it into a survival kit or a piece of art or re-purpose it into something new, such as a candle holder. Those who are feeling especially ambitious may want to attempt an electronics project with a tin.

Make an easy magnet by attaching a neodymium magnet to the back of an empty Altoid tin.
Make an easy magnet by attaching a neodymium magnet to the back of an empty Altoid tin. | Source
Hardware survival kit.
Hardware survival kit. | Source
  • Purse survival kit. There are always a few things that are handy to keep with you in your purse just in case. Instead of letting them sift to the bottom of your bag, why not store them all in a tin? This kid includes Band Aids, wet wipes, a hair tie, pain reliever, cough drops, a pencil, a sewing kit, and some spare change. Of course you can customize this any way that you like.
  • Electronics survival kit. For those who work with electronics on a regular basis, either professionally or as a hobby, it's handy to package many of your go to supplies in a little pocket tin. The post details all of the items that this particular kit includes. Switch or add items to fit the work that you do.
  • Toolbox/hardware survival kit. You can fit a surprising number of small hardware parts in an Altoid tin. For a true survival kit, it's ideal to have a variety of parts in your tin, but you can also use a handful of tins to sort different small parts.
  • Outdoor survival kit. Field and Stream writer John D. McCann has a terrific guide for creating an outdoor survival kit that fits right in your pocket. It includes detailed information about each item that he includes with instructions for creating some of the components and brand names and other specifics for purchasing additional components. He breaks down all of the components into different categories so that it is easy to understand how each item can be used.
  • Urban survival kit. Be fully prepared for any night on the town adventure with this kit. You never know when you'll get into a scrap (literally) and need a Band Aid or (figuratively) and need some extra cash.

Altoids Tin Survival Kit

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  • Card holder. An Altoid tin is a perfect size to hold credit cards and other similar sized cards. In this tutorial, the author also uses the holder for other small purse items. The décor is completely optional.
  • Pillbox. An Altoid tin may be a better sized container for a particular purse or tote than a pill bottle, particularly a larger bottle or a collection of bottles. Store an emergency stash of pills or create your own weekly pill box out of your tin. You may want to make sure that it's labeled properly so that no one assumes that you're carrying around some new type of mint.
  • Point and shoot camera case. This will not be applicable to all point and shoot cameras, but some people have found that their camera models fit perfectly in Altoid tins. Consider gluing some type of padding to the inside of the lid to ensure that your lens does not get damaged while you're moving the case.
  • Hearing aid batteries case. An Altoid tin is exactly the right size for small packages of hearing aid batteries as well as other small batteries.
  • Virtually any small object that will fit in there. Consider guitar picks, rubber bands, ear bud headphones, hair pins, tacks, and other office supplies. A coat of spray paint and a label will complete your storage case.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarabbit/2123374820/in/set-72157604709997440/ - no longer active
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarabbit/2123374820/in/set-72157604709997440/ - no longer active | Source
  • Mini toolbox. This is one of the most creative Altoid tin crafts that I have ever found. I'm clearly not the only one who thinks so because it is all over Pinterest. Brenda shows us how to transform two tins into a little toolbox with spray paint and some basic hardware. It will surely wow Dad or Grandpa for any occasion, but it's so darn cute that you may end up keeping it for yourself.
  • Message board. Transform a few tins into a message board with some paint and basic craft and hardware supplies. This is perfect for smaller notes and items that you would keep near a door, such as keys and spare change.
  • Magnet packaging. If you sell or are gifting magnets, Altoid tins are a great option for packaging. For those who are selling magnets, consider creating a logo or other branding for the lid. A business card will fit inside nicely.
  • Magnet. A tin can also make a great magnet in and of itself, decoration or not.
  • Art/décor/shrine. An Altoid tin is an ideal size for a small piece of art. Some people choose to turn this piece of art into a shrine, such as a shrine for a saint or a shrine dedicated to a particular passion. Check out Bird/Space Shrine, Circus Wagon Altered Tin, and Iconic Prayer Shrines.
  • Mini scrapbook. An Altoid tin will be provide a great outer scrapbook structure for those who don't want to make one out of chip board or who are simply looking for something different. This isn't a full tutorial, but the concept is pretty self explanatory if you follow the author's ribbon suggestion.
  • Advent calendar. If you are collecting tins on your own instead of purchasing them, it may take a while to save up enough to make an advent calendar, but it will be well worth it. This is an original piece for any Christmas collection that will be treasured for many years. Check out another great advent calendar example right here.
  • Planter. Small herbs and tiny succulent cuts will thrive in this type of tin. This post includes a number of additional suggestions for small, recycled planters.
  • Mini dollhouse or dollhouse bed. These tins are a good size for a number of dolls or small stuffed animals. Turn a tin into a little bed or create a tiny dollhouse for even smaller dolls or animals.
  • Candle holder. Fill your tin with the candle of your choice. The author uses microwaveable soy wax. The tin has plenty of charm on its own as a candle holder, but of course you can decorate it any way that you like, too.
  • Beauty product tin. Similar to the candle holder idea, you can fill up your empty tin with virtually any kind of beauty product such as lip balm or hand cream. This post includes a simple recipe for a lemon butter lip and skin balm.
  • Travel game holder. Are you looking for a new activity to amuse your kids during your next car or airplane trip? Put together chess, tic tac toe, checkers, and backgammon with these printable boards and simple instructions. The printable also includes a blank rectangle in case you want to design another travel board game for a tin.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leftclicker/5874546452/ - no longer active. Some Altoid projects aren't very functional but are just a lot of fun.
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leftclicker/5874546452/ - no longer active. Some Altoid projects aren't very functional but are just a lot of fun. | Source

Make a Photo Album Out of an Altoid Tin - Part 1

This Flickr user has a handful of really creative small scale electronics that fit right in tins.
This Flickr user has a handful of really creative small scale electronics that fit right in tins. | Source

One of the best ways to learn how to build a small electronic that fits right in an Altoid tin is to watch a video tutorial. Many of these links do include great video instructions. Search YouTube for additional tutorials. I've included a couple other technology related ideas here as well.

  • MP3 case. Many MP3 players will fit snugly in the rectangle tins. If there is spare room, build in some extra padding (i.e. foam, quilt batting). Consider padding the inside of the lid as well as this person did.
  • iPod dock. If you've upgraded to a new iPod but aren't ready to invest in a new dock, consider constructing one yourself using an Altoid tin. This process will vary a little bit depending on the current model(s) that you're using, but this link will give you a good idea where to start. Check out this user's photo stream for additional photos of the dock.
  • Portable amp. In the age of digital music, the portable amp has taken on a whole new life. You can build your own amp that fits right in a little tin.

"MintyBoom" Altoids Tin Project - Amplified Speakers

Most tutorials are for rectangle shaped tins, but there are lots of options for round tins, too.
Most tutorials are for rectangle shaped tins, but there are lots of options for round tins, too. | Source

If you don't eat Altoids or know anyone who eats them, you can purchase empty tins online.

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Comments 38 comments

sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Wow, my imagination would have never thought of some of these things. I like the purse survival kit. It seems when you need a hair tie or a band-aid, you can never find one. The pill box, candle, and iPod dock are great ideas, too.

A fun hub! Votes and shared!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Mine wouldn't have either. There are so many creative people out there. You're right about finding a Band Aid or hair tie when you need it. That little kit would come in handy. Thanks!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

These are so cool! I love your creative mind! I might have to force hubby to eat altoids so I can have the tins! :) Pinned and voted up and more! :)


Emma Harvey profile image

Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

Hi randomcreative, these are such cool ideas, I love what you can do with these tins! I am totally inspired by this hub and the amount of uses for them is amazing!

Fantastic hub - voting up and shared :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Terrye! You can always purchase some empty tins if your husband doesn't eat that many minutes. :)

Thanks, Emma! It really is amazing how many different ways you can use Altoid tins.

I appreciate the votes and shares!


Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

So cool! Pinning and sharing!


Green Art profile image

Green Art 4 years ago

How exciting to know that the Altoids tins of my favorite mints are so useful. Wow, so many fun ideas in this hub to try. The survival kits are great and I like the mini scrapbook idea shown in the video, very clever. Voted Up and interesting!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

They are very useful indeed. Thanks for all these amazing ideas. Rated wayyyyyy up!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Julie

That's great, Green Art. I'm glad that you found some ideas here that you like.

Thanks, Om!


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

Great creativity ! We can give a lot of added values to make a tin very useful.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, agusfanani! Yes, for sure.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

I use an Altoid case to hold pins and needles. One time, a former housemate saw it sitting out and thought he'd sneak a quick Altoid from the tin. Needless to say, that plan backfired on him! Ah, well, he shouldn't have been trying to steal my 'mints.'


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Nice! That's great. :)


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia

So many ideas, wow! I like the fridge magnet and will do one myself. Voted awesome.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much! Best of luck with your fridge magnet.


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Good ideas! I am all for recycling and reusing! I had to beg to my friends and neighbours for kitchen paper rolls recently because I have to do 200 projects this coming weekend in a museum!

Voted up and interesting!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, kidscrafts! Good luck with your paper rolls project this weekend.


T. R. Brown profile image

T. R. Brown 4 years ago from Nashville, TN

Love the electronic ideas! This one was a fun Hub, voted up.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, T.R.!


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

@randoncreative : Thank you! It was a beautiful day in Ottawa so I had only 80 visitors for the project today...but tomorrow we might have some rain so I expect more kids at the museum. Kids are making lighthouses....so you can see were those tubes are going :-)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Nice! Thanks for the update. I'm sure that the lighthouses are turning out great.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

Wow - what great uses for Altoid tins! I love the idea of storing paperclips and other office supplies in them - this would definitely help me sort out my junk drawer!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Leah! That's great. :)


krsharp05 profile image

krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

Very cool and original ideas. I think re-purposing is the way to go! Kids will love this. -K


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, kr!


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 4 years ago from Oklahoma

Too cool! I love the magnet idea. It would be fun to combine the two ideas, and have a magnetic survival kit! Thanks for the ideas!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That would be awesome, Sharkye!


TycoonSam profile image

TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

Great Ideas! Very useful hub! Thank you!

Voted up and Useful


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, TycoonSam!


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Great ideas, random creative....cheers


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 4 years ago from East Coast , United States

Yes some really great ideals. Thanks. Voted up.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Ruchia and crazyhorseghost!


ForLoveofCupcakes profile image

ForLoveofCupcakes 4 years ago from Chicago

Oh my gosh Rose! I LOVE this hub!!! I especially love the idea of making a little saint shrine or piece of art! The purse kit is also a great idea. I'm going to be clicking on a few of these links for sure. :) Thanks for writing this! Voting up.

Oh PS I also think Cupcakes would love a little dollhouse made from a tin! I'm going to have to purchase a few of these on our next shopping trip.

Oh PPS I once bought Cupcakes a small Hello Kitty tin from Target's dollar bin. It's a little bit bigger than an altoids tin and doesn't have a hinge lid, but could still work for some of these projects. :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Jamie, that's great! I'm so glad that you found some ideas here that you love. I know that your little one would really enjoy an Altoid tin dollhouse. That's neat about the Hello Kitty tin, too. :) I'm a huge fan of Hello Kitty and have to refrain from purchasing numerous Hello Kitty items every time I'm in Target.


susanm23b 4 years ago

What a fun hub! Great job gathering so much useful information. Putting together customized kits for friends and family members would make great little gifts / stocking stuffers :) Voted up!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

So many awesome uses for altoid tins! Awesomesauce! I might have to make a survival kit for writers: when I'm on the go, I always need a place to store little notes that I jot down as they pop into my head. I'm always digging for my pen and paper - thanks to your ideas, I'm going to consolidate and make a fun "writer's tin." This is great!


Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl 4 years ago from United States of America

That's great! My boyfriend took my empty tin one day and made a fishing kit out of it. I never imagined doing so much more with it though.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Susan! Yes, for sure about the customized kits for gifts.

Cyndi, a survival kit for writers would be great!

Dreamhowl, that's awesome. You have lots of ideas now. :)

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