Worth a Mint

     If you've been following me for a few posts, you already know some things about me. I'm a part-time neat freak, I love to write and in the words of  Doug Heffernan, I likes me cookies. <--I actually need to do something about that last one. I'm also a serious crafter. Take a peek at my craft room here.
     I have collected more crafting supplies and materials than I know what to do with. It's a little embarrassing, really. So, when there's an opportunity to use up some of my stash for a good cause, I'm all about it. In this case the cause is honoring our school secretaries and the stash is a slew of empty Altoids tins. My in-laws and my niece go through Altoids like no people I've ever seen and they save the tins for me. I bet if you put a box in the office to collect them, you'd have a bounty in no time as well.
     Here's another little tid-bit you can add to the list of things you know about me: I have a bad habit of raising my hand when someone asks "Would anyone be willing to...fill-in-the-blank?" That explains why out of a staff of 75, I'm the one organizing the gifts for Secretary's Week. It's all good though, I love those ladies (and one guy) and they deserve something nice. Here's what I came up with:
They're pretty AND they smell nice!

I collected $5 from each staff member and then divided the booty equally among the 9 clerical staff. I'm not quite sure what to do with the other stuff that also ended up in the collection basket. I must remember to ask who is missing a gold Lincoln $1 coin, a taped together bill that's about a quarter of an inch shorter than most and a Santa Dollar. Too bad it wasn't a Bunny Buck, that would have been good timing, dang it!

If you Google "altered Altoid tins" you will find some amazing stuff. There are crafters who turn those little minty metal boxes into serious works of art. I haven't taken to baking on clay toppers or hand painting them, but I think they look pretty nifty when I'm done with them. 

So, whaddya say? Feeling crafty? If you want to give it a try, here's the way I do it:

First, cut coordinating scrapbook paper to 2 1/8 inch by 3 1/2 inches. I round the edges with a corner rounder punch available for a few dollars at any craft store. Then, I run them through my Xryon machine which basically turns the paper into a sticker. If you do not have one of these magnificent machines, you are going to want to put one on your wish list. They are freakin awesome! I use it for so many things. You can alternate the cartridge inside from permanent to temporary adhesive, laminating film, magnet or laminated magnets. I could do an entire post on my Xy. I will eventually. Lots of bang for your buck with this baby.

Once you have one, you'll wonder  how you lived without it! In the interest of full disclosure, I do not work for the company (but if you are reading this and happen to be the CEO of Xryon, I'm available!)
If you don't have one, you can use spray adhesive or double stick tape. You can use mod-podge too, as recommended by many online, but I have no patience for that. 

Sometimes I use a fine sandpaper block to rough up the edges of the colored part of the tin. It lightens up the color of the band and makes it easier to match a scrapbook paper. You can even completely remove the color all together by sanding it away, which you can see in the masculine one that looks like metal above. Below you can see the difference between the sanded and non-sanded versions. Sanding brings out the shabby chic look:

Stick the scrapbook paper on top and really press down around the edges. Thinner paper sticks better because there is a bit of a ridge on the top of the tin and thicker paper, like card stock, sometimes won't bend enough. It's a little trial and error, but to me that's part of the fun. I also add a little piece of paper to the inside cover just to hide the indented Altoid's title:

You can add little embellishments to the top to brighten them up.  For many of these, I used some rhinestone stickers I picked up from the clearance bin. Bling on the cheap! One package can be cut apart to cover 2-3 tins. I've also made them with initials and ribbon. This is the Creme de Menthe Altoids tin. It's my favorite color to work with, but unfortunately my family's least favorite flavor:
Fun Fact: Reusing something like this in a whole new way is called up-cycling.

     If you're the least bit craft-inclined, you can do this. If you have any questions, I'm happy to help. If you are a crafty teacher like me and would like to see more tutorials like this in the future, leave me a comment and let me know. I've got lots more ideas I'd be happy to share if you'll get some use from them. Stay crafty, my friends! 


  1. Wonderful. Yes, I am interested. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I would love, love, love to see more of your posts like this...a Xyron machine? Where have I been all my life?!?!
    Thanks a bunch for a great post!

  3. Opppps..excuse me a Xryon machine...no matter how it is spelled ~ I ~ HAVE ~ TO ~ GET ~ ONE! ☺

  4. Awesome!! I love it! :) I've never heard of the Xyron, but I sure just googled it!! I'm so excited!

  5. Your blog is so awesome. I've been looking for other "crafty" teachers. I look forward to seeing more of your creativeness.

  6. Do you have an Etsy store? I love your craft room and these awesome boxes.

    Little Treasures

  7. Thanks everyone! More craft ideas coming your way then :)
    Lorena, I did have an etsy store I haven't listed anything in a long time.
    Here's a link to the things I sold if you're interested

  8. Thanks for sharing this idea. I have a fellow teacher friend that goes through these tins like crazy and now I can ask for the empties to make cute little gifts!

  9. I just found your blog--where have you been all my life!!!!! You have the best ideas! Please keep sharing and keep me posted!

  10. Love this post! Your sense of humor got me...I adore it! I have three Xryon machines, yes three! The large one you show in your photo, a medium size one and then the small one that works fantasic for letters and all sorts of small objects. Can't live without them!

  11. I'm more than a year late on this one but how about putting marble magnets inside? Check out this tutorial http://thefrugalgirls.com/2010/10/marble-magnets-tutorial.html. I love this idea, I will be making these for hostess gifts and then at Christmas for teachers gifts. Thanks for sharing. P.S. I have the Xyron and LOVE it!

  12. Love your tins! I have a question about the one with the "d" on it. How did you handle the ribbon at the cut ends? I'm assuming if you tucked it under the tin, that it wouldn't close.

  13. Can you tell me what model of the Xryon that you have? I'm very intrigued!

  14. You said you added paper to the inside to cover up the indented Altoids. How did you cover up the raised Altoids on the outside? Didn't it show when you put the paper on the top? Did you do something special to the top before adding the sticky paper?

  15. Hi Vicki,
    If you use regular scrapbook paper (not card stock) it actually covers the raised part pretty well. Just don't smoosh it so hard around the raised part so you're not pushing the paper onto the raised parts (does that make sense?).I found that it's actually worse when I use a thicker paper. If you add some little paper flowers or buttons or a ribbon, it becomes even less noticeable.
    Hope that helps!

  16. I was looking at your tins and was wondering where you got the metal looking paper? My boss is a macho man and I was going to make him a tin to put his biz cards in and loved the diamond metal style shown in your 3rd picture.


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