Love Altoid mints? If you’ve been hooked on them for years you’ve likely thought of all kinds of things you can do with those empty tins that used to contain the mints. The shallow, box-shaped tin with hinged lid makes a perfect storage container for many small things. Looking for a new project that will use up some of those Altoids boxes? You’ve come to the right place! It’s easy to turn an old Altoids box into a unique photo box that can sit on the coffee table or just live in the glove box of your car.
The first order of business is to paint the tin. It’s necessary to primer the tin first, then paint it, then maybe paint it again – depending upon the color and coverage you want. If you have to go out and purchase primer and paint you might want to consider making more than one of the photo tins at a time. They make great gifts for grandparents, friends and others. Choose a primer that states that it works well on metal. After priming it once you can then spray paint it when the primer is dry. Primer and paint the tin, inside and out.
Either before you primer the tin, or after you’ve painted it and it’s dry, place the tin on a piece of paper and draw around the bottom of it. As you cut it out cut a fraction of an inch inside the line. That way, the paper pattern is slightly smaller than the actual tin. You’ll use that pattern to create an accordion-style photo wallet that shows off anything from your family photos to pictures of your pets. Just to make sure, place the paper pattern inside the tin, to make sure it fits loosely. If it’s a little snug just cut it down a tad bit more.
Choose the paper that you want to use as the background for your photo wallet. Scrapbook paper works great for creating themes or for providing special colors or patterns you like. It will only take one piece of the paper to make the photo wallet. You can also use cardstock or other thick types of paper. You will be folding the paper like a fan, or an accordion, to create the holder for the pictures. To do this, start folding the paper, and use the pattern as a guide to how wide the panels of the fanfold should be.
After folding the paper as needed cut the width to the size of the paper pattern, cutting the corners so that they’re rounded. Now that your paper is ready you can begin to add the photos. The pictures should be trimmed so that they’re slightly smaller than each folded section of the paper. Use double-sided tape pieces to secure one picture to one section of the folded paper. It’s easiest to position the pictures so that they’re all perfectly aligned if you lay the folded paper out flat. After attaching the pictures you can then fold the paper back to the accordion shape again.
After the pictures are all attached to the paper, and it’s folded once again, glue or tape the bottom picture to the bottom of the tin, on the inside. If you have room for more pictures, you can create another accordion set and tape them to the first set. The tin can hold quite a few pictures. After all the accordions are connected, and the bottom panel of the fanfold is secured to the bottom of the tin, you are basically finished with the project.
If you want to go a step or two further you can do other things to embellish the pictures or the tin. Use stickers, stick-on jewels and similar items to enhance the photos or the paper where the photos are attached. For the outside of the box you can decoupage a paper picture onto the front or even cut an image out of cloth and glue it onto the front. Cut a strip of decorative paper and glue it on all the way round the sides of the box.
The photo tins can hold school pictures of your kids from kindergarten to graduation or can hold a collection of photos of your grand kids. You can make an accordion fold containing pictures from a favorite vacation or even pictures of sunsets cut from magazines. It’s a fun craft for kids to make a collection of cartoon characters from children’s magazines or for teachers to save pictures of their students. The next time you pop an Altoids start thinking of the picture wallet you’re going to make – you’ll be eating lots of the popular mints because you’ll be addicted to them as well as this project!