Introduction: Altoids Tin Wallet

Picture of Altoids Tin Wallet

This versatile candy tin can also be used as a wallet! In case you haven't already discovered, standard credit cards and ID's fit perfectly into the venerable Altoids tin. Check it out! This is super easy, and aside from taking time to eat all of the candy, this can take as little as 1 minute or up to several hours depending on how complex you want to get.

My idea contains no fancy construction, original ideas, MSG, or preservatives.

Customize it! Ladies, you can add a strap to carry on the town, or guys paint it matte black and add a custom hot rod emblem like I did.

Wallet challenge - looks like someone posted one while mine was in progress! Great minds think alike - oh well on with the instructable!

Step 1: Gather Your Items

Picture of Gather Your Items

You will need the following:

1. One Altoids tin, or several.
2. Rubber bands, paper binder, elastic hair ties, or a recycled inner tube to use as your binding mechanism ( or a million other combinations I can't think of. I can envision complex opening mechanisms and the like, led's or whatever.
3. Optional: Recycled plastic to create an ID holder for inside the lid.
3. Stuff to put in it!

Step 2: Bind You Items

Picture of Bind You Items

Decide how to bind your cards, cash, etc. It can be simple or complex. For mine I used recycled motorcycle tire inner tube, cut to shape as a card protector and also a few bands from the tube to bind the stuff together.

The paper binder works really well, but I advise using something to protect your credit cards from scratching. I used some inner tube as my binder, since it keeps things nice & quiet inside the tin.

Step 3: Place Items Into the Tin!

Picture of Place Items Into the Tin!

Everything will fit pretty snugly. If you decide to use some plastic for an ID holder in the lid, it is going to have to fit very tightly and is probably the hardest part of the whole project, as it is held in place with a friction fit in my example. I think an even better option is to use some type of tyvek or paper flap instead. When the lid is closed, it is very tight with the ID in the lid and the tin can pop open. I would suggest using some sort of securing method for the tin to keep it closed such as a hook & loop strap or simply a rubber band.

Step 4: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

If you decide to paint your tin, you can mask off the edges where the lid friction fits to the bottom. Or like I did, just close the tin, and paint very lightly top & bottom. Make sure to lightly sand the tin and clean with alcohol or water to remove dust before priming and or painting to get good adhesion. There are several other instructables that can show you how to etch the lid, or line the inside with fabric and the like!

I can fit quite a few items in the tin, including a USB flash drive. I could see modifying to fit an ipod with a hole in the side for your earbuds.

You might also want to add several other items shown in other instructables, such as the nice coin holder.

A rubber armored tin using inner tube, recycled tire , old mousepad, or that cool "rubber tool handle dip stuff" called Plastidip might be fun to try. It comes in a spray can now!


amelder (author)2011-08-04

what did you do with the ALTOIDS indention? did you just ignore it or somehow flatten it?

sjoobbani (author)amelder2011-11-26

The older tins didn't have the indentation...
FYI the older tins are the ones that have the strait color border around the lid, not the fancy shaped and pointed one.

taj1994 (author)sjoobbani2014-10-28

I know this is two years old, but I just wanted to say that in some places (like here in Canada), the new tins are still the old style without the raised logo

TheCommander (author)2013-12-24

well done

twitchy909 (author)2010-07-26

thats what i thought

okgo125 (author)2009-09-15

My friend though that R.F meant rat fart ;)

shadowcat17 (author)2009-08-24

would this shield cards from an RFID scanner?

crackjr (author)2009-07-09

sweet with the rat fink aka big daddy roth dude

paperman5 (author)2009-04-20

i used to have that same exact flash drive...

KnittingFreak (author)2007-05-23

Merlin: Is there any way to make the lid fit tighter, so you don't have to use bands to keep the tin from falling open?

merlin1974 (author)KnittingFreak2007-05-24

The tins have some small dents in the bottom half that fit into the lid to sort of "snap" the lid shut. I think you might be able to try pushing the dents out slightly to make a tighter fit and see how that works for you.

merlin1974 (author)2007-04-27

As a side note: I probably wouldn't use any magnets as your binding mechanism. They like to erase credit cards.

ieatsnowmen (author)merlin19742007-04-27

That is such a myth.

daltonjcw (author)ieatsnowmen2009-02-26

no, it killed my cards. sad

merlin1974 (author)ieatsnowmen2007-04-27

Can you explain further? I thought some of the small rare earth magnets were powerful enough, but I base this on no scientific fact :)

pr0xie (author)merlin19742007-05-02

It is not really a myth, but history. The old mag-stripes are easily erased with magnets. The newer types are not. "High coercivity stripes are resistant to damage from most magnets likely to be owned by consumers." From -

Arx Fortis (author)pr0xie2008-03-26

There are several variables in play here such as the type of card, the strength (magnitude) of the magnet, period of exposure, and nature of the exposure. The common hotel key-cards still use the old-type mag stripes. Those cards are intended to be re-used. These cards can be made unreadable by magnets as small as the one in your cell phone speaker if held close enough...especially if it rings. :) Even the newer credit strips can be erased/damaged by a powerful enough magnet (such as a neodymium magnet) or a powerful electric drive motor. Lastly, the way in which the card is exposed to the magnet can also come into play. If a card is gradually brought into a relatively weak-to-moderate magnetic field, and gradually removed from the field, the stripe may retain enough of its originally encoded magnetism to be read. However, if a card is near an electromagnet at the instant it is turned on and/or off, the field can cause a sort of "scrambling" of the mag stripe making it pretty much unreadable. This last concept can be noted using standard cassette tapes and an electro-magnet. Put a cassette tape right next to an electro-magnet and turn it on and off a few times. Then put the tape in a player. You will hear all kinds of crackling and popping on the tape. If you had turned on the magnet, then gradually moved the tape to and away from the magnet several times, the tape would sound much "cleaner" - although in either case whatever was on the tape would be erased. :

Maxxron (author)Arx Fortis2008-12-16

I had a magnet in my pocket that erased a hotel key card not too long ago. So if you are going to stay in a hotel with keycards, leave them out of a wallet with magnets built into it.

Very Keri (author)merlin19742007-06-08

I saw an episode of Myth Busters where they tested out wallets and bill folds with magnets in them. The magnets were not a problem even after they carried them around in their pockets all day. You don't need anything stronger than refridgerator magnet for something like this anyway. I know I'm posting kinda late on this topic...

Tommi Potx (author)2008-02-07

Absolutely Brilliant!!

daltonjcw (author)Tommi Potx2009-02-26

i must have heard you wrong, What?

mastercreator (author)2008-09-01

how did you get that decal on it. ps please look at my instructables im new here

merlin1974 (author)mastercreator2009-02-06

It's a Rat Fink decal a got from a friend.

cdizzle (author)2008-07-08

cool design what type of paint did u use

JJrulz (author)2008-05-17

lol, keeps things nice and quiet in the tin, that way they dont hear you coming untill its too late

ninjabob7 (author)2008-05-13

Just don't put your cards in without giving them something to grab. They go in, but they don't come out no matter how much you whack the bottom of the tin.

keureban (author)2008-03-05

How did you get the Rat Fink picture? Rat Fink is cool

Gjdj3 (author)2008-03-01

Very cool. I think this looks way cooler than a duct tape wallet.

Kevvixx (author)2007-08-08

I really like the paint and the decal. I'm gonna have to do that. Also I like the Plastidip idea.

adamthiede (author)2007-07-22

how to make an altoids tin wallet: 1) Take altoids tin 2) Stuff your booty inside 3) carry it around

climber_geek (author)2007-04-27

I've seen a lot of really ugly wallets made from recycled stuff but this one looks good. The matte black paint and decal made all the difference. And the rubberized paint is a good idea. I will go paint all my altoids boxes now. I use them to store stuff but for me it is too hard and fat to use as an actual wallet.

climber geek, as you can see i climb to, were are you located. I would be glad to climb and geek w/ you. as always 31337

hello climberslacker, right now I'm in boulder, CO. What about you? Yes I do want to climb, hopefully I'll be able to accomplish more climbing than geeking this summer. Eldo, Boulder Canyon, RMNP!

uhh im in san diego, not far from j-tree.!!!!!! same about the summer bit

merlin1974 (author)climber_geek2007-04-27

Painting was pretty easy, I think if you don't mask off the area around the sides where the lid hits, its best to go lightly with the paint. But getting a good bond would be critical, otherwise it tends to come off with a little abuse. I think a primer would be important. And possibly a clearcoat spray afterwards. I've also used wrinkle finish paint ( available from the automotive dept ) which looks really cool and is very durable. If anyone tries the rubberized spray or dip please post it here. I'd love to see how it works. If I get a chance to try it I will if I can find the spray.

Calltaker (author)2007-04-27

GEnerally, as far as I know, only electromagnets are really an issue wtih mag strips, but then again, why take chances :) Nice instrucable. I think I may have to take this one and run a little. Need to get some more altoids :) ~C

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