For the Love of Altoids

Ok, I confess it……I have an unusual love of Altoids tins. Actually, any kind of little mint or gum tins but there is a special place in my heart for the Altoids tins. Maybe it was the years in retail and consuming countless numbers of the ferocious little tabs. Maybe it was the history class in seminary where we had a special challenge on a test—eat one of every flavor of Altoids AT THE SAME TIME! Maybe it is just because I like little tin boxes.

Regardless, love them I do!

I’ve got a few projects here that I made using these tins. My favorite is the Swallow Box. And someday I long to do the electroplating and etching done by the guy at The Steampunk Workshop.

However, as I was perusing Instructables…a most awesome site in which one could get lost for days….I came across a genius idea: Altoids Advent Calendar Combining the marvelous Altoids tin with one of my favorite Advent traditions could only be a WIN in my book.

Sassycrafter, the author and creator of this marvelous thing, suggest spray painting the tins. Having struggled mightily with removing the paint via several different methods, I would have to say for easy and speed, spray painting would be the way to go. (I’ve never tried the grilling method, which I might attempt the next time.)  Might be an environmental price to pay, though, and there are tons of ways to re-cover, re-finish, re-do, re-image these tins. Just let you imagination go and you can come up with many options.

Super cool!  It is too late for me to make one this year but I will seriously consider doing this next year!!

Angel Box

Altered Altoid tin. This was one of the long narrow tins with Altoid gum. Photo of the cover isn’t so good, so I hope I’ll be able to get a better one later.

Cover is chocolate brown and red polymer clay with a decorative imprint made from a stamp. Pearlescent stuff in the clay before baking. Polymer was baked onto tin. Then tin painted and accented with black stamping ink. If I’d known about the ‘smoking’ technique, I would have used it then. Inside is an icon image of an angel and then a line from a hymn in the LBW about angels.

Box outsideAngel BoxAngel Box inside

First Random Act of Grace

Well, technically, it’s the first RAG that I’ve given away, though not the first I’ve made.  So, on this first post, it seems reasonable to put the first one I’ve actually let go of!

It is an altered Altoid tin–actually a faux Altoid tin because they all have the embossing on the lids now and I wanted a flat top. My original plan was to do the copper plating and saltwater etching that I found here: http://steampunkworkshop.com/altoid-etch.shtml  However, things have not gone as planned and, so, I opted for a different technique. I used copper leaf in liquid form, which is standard copper leaf (just like gold leaf) ground and disolved in xylene. Actually, it’s a suspension and not disolved, but whose really keeping track? 😉  After the copper leafing was dry and set, I added the dark shading by ‘smoking’ it in a candle flame.

The bird on the outside cover is a swallow and has tons of symbolic meaning, particularly for sailors. Google it if you’re curious. It’s held on by Gurilla Glue which proved to be a bit messy at first but ended up being super strong and not difficult to tidy up. Inside lid is pen on archival scrapbooking paper which was first enhanced with colored pencil. Little guardian angel, appropriate to the name meaning, is affixed with hot glue. The inside bottom is polymer clay in various shades of blue and white and is intended, though perhaps not so successfully, to look like water. The charms engraved with words and the cross were imbedded in the polymer before baking and were also highlighted with the copper leaf.  The bottom of the box was very beautifully smoked and I sealed it with plain old fingernail polish. The ‘smoking’ can sometimes rub off and I wanted it to be both safe to sit anywhere and protected from further smudging.

This is a prayer box–meant to hold prayers for the recipient of the box and to also house the hopes and prayers of the new owner. Mailed it off today to its new home!

Inside Swallow BoxSwallow BoxBack of Swallow Box