Polymer Clay
Ambitions and
What CAN you do
with an
Altoid Tin ?
The words "vision, paradise and suitcase" were mentioned in my clay group.
Well, all ya gotta do is mention something even vaguely beachy (paradise)
and I start breathing heavy.

We were talking tins - as in Altoid - and what you can do with them. My reply
was turning into a novel  . . . you know, too many ideas, never enough time
so you think you gotta share every light bulb moment with anyone that will
listen ( you too, huh?) . . .  instead of force feeding my good friends a huge
email they may or may not be interested in I'm just gonna put all the stuff here
and give them the link. Choice is good.
Since the main discussion was about Altoid tins that's what we going to start with
but don't let that limit you from covering, decorating or using any other tin of any
size or shape. If it ain't moving, chances are you can cover it, decorate it, stamp
it ... put stuff on the outside, put stuff in the inside, love it, hug it, show it off. It's
your happy little tin and you can you with it as you will. Don't let anyone tell you
that you can't.

Here's some of my happy little adventures into Tinland
You can see where I'm going
with this. Bits and pieces of
paradise ...dream home stuff.
In the background is the start
of a beach scene inside an
Altoid tin.
Cushy bed, lazy lounge chair,
plants, token flamingo -  all
the dream  island comforts.
These are pieces that go with
the Altoid beach scene.
Major changes made to beach
scene. Future pans include some
sort of Tiki type roof to cover the
top of the tin and bamboo poles to
hold up the 'roof'. It's a room box
works in progress.
An oblong Altoid Tin covered
with tiger cane and used to
hold mini tools made with
polymer clay and found
objects. Perfect for a mini
View of tiny tools tucked inside.
The size is three and a quarter
inches long and one and one
half inches wide.
Mini Altoid tin covered with
leather-look clay. Empty inside
but add some mini spools of
thread, a needle or two, a couple
of buttons and tiny folding
scissors and it  would make a
cute little sewing kit to take on that
tropical vacation!
Eyeglass case covered with
'abalone' clay. (Apologies for
the poor picture quality.)
Inside of eyeglass case with
handmade clay tools.
Trippin' dragons absconding
with my suitcase
Altoid Tin made into
a mini purse
Seashell Tin
Old cigarette case
covered with clay and
used for business
Various shapes and
sizes of covered tins.
Just kickin' around some ideas . . .

This was where my simple little post started turning into a full blown word
explosion. One idea led to another and then another and if it had been a real
conversation even I would have been reaching for the duct tape to shut me up.
Okay . . .

Mini roombox or shadowbox inside a tin. A tiny bakery perhaps . . . decorate the
outside like a layer cake.

Mini sewing tin. Use a quilting design on the outside and put mini spools of
thread, a couple of needles, a needle threader, a pair of those small folding
scissors and a few buttons and you got yourself a nifty little kit to take along on
those tropical vacations in case you rip your sarong or something. Nice gift for a
traveling friend too!

First Aid Kit. Decorate outside with clay "bandaids, aspirin, ointment tube" and
maybe texture the background to look like gauze (even use real gauze to make
the design texture) - or - use alphabet stamps to make the words 'boo-boo box',
stamp a big 'ouch' or just use xoxoxo for hugs and kisses. Put real bandaids,
aspirin, ointment, wipes and gauze inside.

Mini Make up kit. Decorate the outside with a big puckered-up glossy kissy lip or
mini make up stuff like eyeshadow, brushes, lipstick. Fill inside with lip gloss,
shadows or whatever your heart desires.

Emergency Chocolate tin. Decorate outside with clay 'chocolate candies' ...
M&M's, mini candy bars or make the whole tin look like a big chunk of chocolate
and stamp "use in case of emergency". Fill it up with wonderful chocolate tidbits!
( I personally like this idea - a LOT!)

Business Card Tin. Decorate with a theme appropriate to the business. If you are
great at doing transfers with clay you could even transfer the image of your
business card on the outside. If you are making it for a friend you could go one
more step and make a stack of business cards to go inside by using your handy,
dandy printer and some of those special papers for making business cards.

Mini Game Tin. Make a Tic-Tac-Toe design ( # ) on the outside and make X and
O clay pieces to put inside. A small pencil and mini pad of paper tucked inside is
a nice touch for those serious players. Cool idea when you are traveling with
kids! ( I reckon you can do checkers or Chess or other games too if you are
more inclined to do the hard stuff, lol!)

Crayon Tin. Another good travel idea. Make some clay 'crayons' to decorate the
outside and put real crayons on the inside. Or, just cover the tin with stripes of
bright colors and make it easier on yourself.

Card Tin. Continuing on with the travel theme . . . Decorate the outside with
hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds or dice or whatever card type theme you
wish and put a nice new box of cards on the inside. Another kid pleaser. (Can
you tell that I have traveled with kids before, lol?)

Bead Kit Tin. My favorite. I always have lots of scrap clay and therefore end up
with tons of beads. Love making them, never seem to find time for stringing
them. To solve this dilemma I take the set of matching beads, add a clasp, some
glass or seed beads and maybe a pendant  that coordinates with the beads and
include beading cord/string/wire to put inside the tin. I use mini zip bags to hold
all the parts and pieces. The outside of the tin is decorated with colors that
match the beads inside. I think these would be a good item to sell. I've never sold
any but everyone that has received them loves them - especially kids.

Mini Tool Tin. As seen above in the photos. Decorate however you please and
then make little tools from stuff you have around the house. Just put clay
'handles' on those big honking sewing needles and little needles too and you've
got a tool for making holes in beads. Cut a knitting needle in half and you can
make really big holes or even use it for sculpting and smoothing. Look around -
you will be surprised how much adding a 'handle' to something can change
things! It's a perfect thing for mini makers!

Once you start thinking about all the possibilities that lowly little tin becomes a
magical thing. The ideas are endless. I have lots more but it's time for a break. If
you have any suggestions or ideas for tins and want to share just let me know
and we'll add them to the list and make sure you get credit for your light bulb

hugs, luny

contact luny

Desiree's Desired Creations
One of the best tutorials I've come across for covering tins. Great instructions and lots of step
by step photos. She has many other amazing tutorials including the Skinner blend and lentil
swirl beads so be sure to check out her tutorial pages

NoraJean.com  This is Nora Jean's (a.k.a. "NJ" ) index on covering tins. You MUST check
out this site. She is an amazing and unique artist that does things with tins that will drop your
jaw! No common, ordinary stuff for this creative lady. Fair warning - her site is extensive and
covers all facets of working with polymer clay so grab a big cup of your favorite brew and
settle back in a comfy chair for the day . . .  or week . . .  or month! You won't be sorry.

Lots and lots of information on anything you wanted to know about using tins. Several links
to video demos too!

Valeriana Solaris  Steampunk is the hot thing right now and this artist has wasted no time
using it to decorating an awesome tin. No tutorials but some cool eye candy.

Glass Attic    The Polymer Clay Encylopedia!! The very best place to go on the web for
ANYTHING to do with polymer clay.. Diane Black is the owner of this site and has done an
outstanding job on gathering information for years and then sharing it with clay lovers  
everywhere. This particular link will take you to her page for "covering" but be sure to
bookmark her site as it has a massive amount of information that you will go back for again
and again.

There are a great many more links and I will add them as I go. If you are interested in finding
more links yourself you can type "altoid tins + covering" in your search bar and you will find
hundreds of links to check out.  
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Michele Holley
2008, 2009, 2010