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The next time you open an Altoids tin only to find that it’s empty, rest assured that even if there are no mints inside, there’s a lot of something else—DIY potential! With plenty of imagination and a minimum of tools, you can repurpose these versatile little boxes in dozens of creative and often quite practical ways. Either pursue your own fresh breath of an idea or re-create one of our favorite Altoids tin projects from around the Web. Scroll down to see them all!
1. PROTECT AN MP3 PLAYER
Here’s an Altoids tin project that lets you keep your Mp3 player in “mint” condition. It couldn’t be easier: First, drill a hole in the tin wide enough for the headphones jack. Then glue in some thick cloth to cushion the device. Any compact player will fit inside the tin—an iPod Nano, for example, or an iPod Shuffle.
2. MAKE A MINI TOOLBOX
These days, everyone seems to have a loose collection of micro-size tools, if not for electronic devices, then for repairing eyeglasses or assembling flat-pack furniture. Make your own small-scale toolbox out of an Altoids tin, with nothing more sophisticated than red paint and a piece of readily available hardware.
3. BURN A CANDLE
Cheaper than it smells, this project reinvents the Altoids tin as a compact lidded candle. To make one, melt paraffin wax in a double boiler, dripping in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Use nonflammable glue to attach the wick to the tin, then fill up the tin with the melted wax. Once it dries, let there be light.
4. PLAY A GAME
It’s as easy as tick-tack-toe to turn an Altoids tin into a pocket-size travel game. After designing the board on a piece of paper, glue it onto the inside of the tin. For the game pieces, use small magnets (which you can buy at your local crafts store). Even on a bumpy train or car ride, you can expect the magnets to stay in place.
5. FASHION A FLY BOX
Attention, fly fishermen! If you’re looking for a fun way to pack flies on your trip down to the river, why not modify an Altoids tin for the task? There are only two steps in the process: First, glue a formfitting piece of foam to the bottom of the tin. Second, poke a hole into the foam for each fly you wish to store.