I love Altoids tins but had no idea what to do with my quickly increasing collection of them.
So I decided to try making one into a wee purse.
This is how it came out.
The design on the front is from the cover of a 1950's romance novel I got for a quarter at a yard sale and the beads on the handle are from a broken costume necklace that was my Grandmothers.
The purse is small, but has just enough space to hold a few essentials for a night out - cash, ID, credit card and a housekey or two.
I've included a tutorial in case anyone wants to try making one.
Enjoy! Supplies you'll need:
An Altoids tin or comparable metal candy container
A an old wee paintbrush you don't mind ruining
An illustration or image that you really like
A pack of microbeads from the craft store (smallest size available)
Thin gauge bendable wire
A handful of large beads for the handle
Small Pliers (optional but recommended)
Means of drilling two small holes
The first step is to place the tin vertically, hinge side up. You'll want to determine placement of the holes you're going to make for the handles on the top of the container. So grab your ruler and measure about 1.5" in from the edge and make a pencil mark. Repeat on the other edge.
Now that that's done it's time to poke the holes. If you've got a drill and a narrow bit that's safe for use with metal go ahead and use that. Or just take a small nail and a hammer and carefully tap the nail through the metal. Whichever method you opt to use, be certain that the tin is securely held in place. In other words, use a vice grip or other means of holding it steady. Wear safety goggles and use caution.
The next step is cutting your image to fit the lid of the Altoids tin. This is easily accomplished by tracing the image against the base with a pencil then cutting it out.
Glue the image to the lid using a thin layer of tacky glue. Be sure to smooth it down so that the image doesn't bubble or become uneven.
Set it aside to dry for a couple of hours.
When that's done, snap up some tacky glue and evenly apply a light layer all over the top of the image with a small paintbrush. Next you'll evenly sprinkle the microbeads all over the fresh layer of glue. You might want to use a paper grocery bag underneath it to catch any microbeads that fall since they can be scooped up and reused. Once you've gotten a pretty good layer of microbeads applied to the tin shake it lightly to remove any excess.
I added some clear rhinestones around the edge to frame the design and make it stand out and also to prevent the edges from looking unfinished. But that's a matter of personal taste, finish decorating it in whatever manner appeals to you.
Then let it dry overnight.
The next step is going to be making the handle, which is really the only tricky part of the project.
You'll need to choose a group of beads for this purpose, and I'd suggest using large round or oval beads, in varying sizes if possible to create the elements of dimension and interest.
Cut a long piece of thin gauge wire, about arms length.
Bend one end of the wire temporarily so that the beads don't accidentally slip off while you're stringing them on to the other side.
When you've added all of your beads, simply slide the wire through one of the holes in the tin container and twist or tie it into a knotted loop on the inside using pliers.
Half of the handle is now attached, so you just have slide the other half into the hole and repeat the process of tying or twisting a knot. Trim away any excess wire when you're done.
If you want to line the inside with fabric or felt now would be a good time to do that. I didn't bother, because I like the metal interior.
Hooray - The purse is done! No need to add a clasp, since it has one built in. Just put your stuff in it and snap it shut.
Just remember that when you open up your purse to hold it design side up so that the contents don't fall all over the place. Also, please note that the bag will lean towards you very slightly when you hold it. Just a point of gravity issue, no way around that and nothing to worry about.
What makes this project kind of fun and quirky is that there's no paint involved so that if you flip over the purse, you'll still see the nutrition content and info, hence revealing that it's actually a candy tin.
Go forth and enjoy your swell new recycled fashion accessory!