"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fun with Altoid Tins!

I've always had a fondness for little trinket boxes, where you can stash tiny treasures.

Altoid tins are just cool. Every time I recycled one, I cringed. Recycling is good, but repurposing is better!

Surely, there must be something I can do with an Altoid Tin? Time to research the internet and invoke the Muse!

Let's see.....seasonal scrap paper, vintage millinery and lace, and a vintage spool painted and glittered a sparkly red....

a miniature vintage snowman cup cake topper and flowers, an old Christmas card for the background scenery, pretty pearls, faux snow, old tinsel, and a vintage cardboard Santa Claus......

and vintage candy-cane colored pipe cleaners to frame it. What do you think of my little piece? Oh! That was too much fun! How about another?!

This time, I'll keep the lid attached.

I picked up a pack of old cardboard Santas at an antique shop this past winter for a song. I knew they'd come in handy! He holds a mini bottle brush tree that I bleached, dyed a very chic pink, and decorated with teeny-weeny little beads. An old Christmas card is used for background scenery and is lined with a silver chenille stem. A miniature snowman and sled make the perfect accents!

After lining the lid with green plaid scrap paper, I highlighted it with vintage garland. Next, I cut out "Jingle Bells" from antique sheet music and I topped it off with vintage wedding bells.

keeping with the integrity of the Altoid tin, I decided not to decorate the outside of it.

My nosy little girl had to see what all the fun was about and asked if she could make a tin with me, but wanted it to be a Halloween theme.

Mary and I put this one together using Halloween scrap paper for the background, Halloween graphics were cut out from one of my miniature magazines, a paper clay face of the moon (I molded from an antique sun pin), rusty nails for a fence, and silver garland.

The background on this side is taken from a photo of the Headless Horseman in a graveyard! We cut out more graphics from vintage Halloween cards for the cat and Halloween greeting. Mary found the black glittered bat and pumpkin in my stash of paper clay miniatures. I like to make things ahead of time, thinking I'll use them at one point.

I think Mary's getting addicted. She did this one all by herself afterwards and then another one last night, complete with a hand-drawn bird popping out of the tin.

As a mom and an artist, it's thrilling to see the little wheels spinning in her head as she creates her own pieces. I enjoy watching her try to figure out how things need to be applied correctly in order to work (eg: She learned yesterday that tape isn't strong enough to hold a spool to a tin!) and also how she likes to create things that "look pretty" or "cute". Pretty and cute are very important to a seven-year-old little girl!


  1. Love that! What a great idea! I especially like the jingle bells one- it's fun, yet elegant.

  2. OMG! Jill How cool are those? You take great pictures!! Thanks for stopping by! Do you sleep? I see it it was a bit early! LOL Mary is just a doll! and an artist on the way like Mom! My daughter Kaitlin always created with me and she is really good. But she's 19 and in college now and does her own thing!! LOL Glad you're geting the car back. You can show us the goodies you get!! Have a good one! XO Fran.

  3. Thanks Susie and Fran!

    Actually Fran, it was a bad night. Didn't get to bed until after midnight and woke up at 4:30 am. Finally, by 5:30, I gave up and just decided to work on the computer. Good choice. By 7:30 I fell asleep and got to sleep til 9:30! Lots to do today so I'm very grateful for that!

  4. those are SO adorable!!! i really love the one with santa holding the bottle brush tree...very cute with the sled and the pile of snow!!!

  5. Mary's tins are really beautiful...sorry i had my readers off and was skipping the text the first time around...your daughter will have her own etsy shop before you know it:)

  6. those turned out so cute! Don't know which I like best the Jingle Bells or the Halloween one. Great job.

  7. They turned out soooo cute! They are so tiny so I know it was tons of work!!! Love what you did! ~Shelley

  8. Jill These are ingenious! The Santa with the little tree is beyond precious! Such a great idea :)

  9. Okay...we have Santa and we have cute Halloween and so on and so forth...now we need to make nursery rhyme ones...Jack and Jill...you get the idea!
    I had seen some of these at a craft fair last Christmas and they are so fun! Tell me...
    Do you bleach the tree in regular bleach and how do you dye it? I know, crazy dumb question but I want to try this. Also, on the ones where you leave the lid on...does the lid still move open and close or do you glue the hinges?
    Email is Matthew1039amen@yahoo.com if you have time to answer Jill.
    Hope you sleep sound tonight.

  10. oh I love these little tins, just love them. thanks for sharing. beautiful as always. hugs JoAnn S

  11. Cute little repurposed tins..perfect to make a little holiday scene inside.

  12. I'm glad I could help-- you are right these are put to much better use than them going in recycle!


  13. Jill your tins are wonderful!!!! I wish I could find old cardboard Santa's they worked out perfect. I love the rusty nails as a fence, great idea!!!!


  14. Hi Jill. I found them. They are adorable. I hope when I get into these I'll have enough ingenuity to think of something...it always looks so easy when you see others' work, but then when I try, it doesn't always turn out. You are truly creative.

    I have a friend on Amelia Island who works with metal and I'm going to try to find her website and link you to it. If not here, then I will send an email. I remember seeing her stuff in her gallery, and hope she has them online. And, I remember her saying she was on Etsy, but I don't know if she still is. I'll look and let you know.

    How lucky you are to have children to craft with. I would give anything...

  15. It's WWW.galleryCamelia.com, and her name is Carol. She is wonderful and very talented. I love visiting her in her gallery because she is prolific and always has new art to look at. She does jewelry, assemblage, painting, and her studio is in a room attached to her gallery which is in a very quaint and historic town on Amelia Island. Yes, I just checked, and yes, her tins are up. I'd forgotten how beautiful her work is, like yours. You can link to her Etsy store and those tins just came up on the first page. I aspire to get as good as both of you. Happy New Year. Patsye