Introduction: Ideas for Altoids (and Other) Tins

Picture of Ideas for Altoids (and Other) Tins

This whole thing came about because I wanted to carry some gum around with me. However, I didn't want a whole pack, nor did I want it rattling loose in my pocket. Over time, I found myself in a few situations where I thought "Man, I wish I had ___." These things would be useful, but I didn't want to carry around a man-bag to hold them all. Enter the Altoids tin...

This is another picture of the first idea, (sub)urban survival kit.

Step 1: (sub)urban Survival Kit

Picture of (sub)urban Survival Kit

3 bandages, taped to the top of the tin
3 business cards, wedged into the top and slightly bent
1 Chapstick
1 mini bottle hot sauce
1 pair ear plugs
5 sticks Trident
1 small flashlight (available at Borders/Waldenbooks)
10 ibuprofen
2 quarters
1 tissue

The original. All things I wanted to carry with me, but to have them loose in my already overcrowded pockets would be a mess. As with all of these, they're just ideas, so put what small things you need to carry in yours.

I have ChapStick, for those freezing winter mornings, waiting for the train, hot sauce for boring food, ibuprofen for a good old fashioned work-induced headache, ear plugs for the train or races, my gum, bandages, business cards and a small flashlight. The tissue (in addition to being used to blow my nose) is there to keep everything wedged in place, so it doesn't rattle. The quarters are in case I wanted something from the capsule machine at the grocery store or mall.

Step 2: Alternate Altoids (sub)urban Survival Kit

Picture of Alternate Altoids (sub)urban Survival Kit

+1 mirror assembly from mint tin
+1 hacked Chapstick
+PSK sheet (
+1 small plastic bag, folded
+1 small plastic tasting spoon (from an ice cream shop)
-1 Chapstick
-1 mini bottle hot sauce
-1 tissue

Another configuration on the original. Remove the full-size Chapstick, hot sauce and tissue and add the mirror from a mint tin (see step 4 for more info), a hacked Chapstick (also see step 4) and a copy of the PSK sheet. The flashlight goes under the mirror assembly.

Step 3: Smaller (sub)urban Survival Kit

Picture of Smaller (sub)urban Survival Kit

This one is more pocket sized.
1 New York & Company gumdrop tin (just throw the candies away; they taste like axle grease)
1 Chapstick
2 quarters
1 pair ear plugs
5 ibuprofen
5 sticks Trident
1 tissue

The full-size Altoids tin was getting a bit big, so it was time to evolve. While shopping with my wife, my eye was caught by a basket of tins in New York & Company. So I bought one. The "gumdrops" were "gross." As you can see from the picture, it's just the right size for a full-size Chapstick. So I prioritized and packed it full of only the most necessary items.

Step 4: Even Smaller (sub)urban Survival Kit

Picture of Even Smaller (sub)urban Survival Kit

Super small!
1 mint tin with the mirror removed
1 hacked Chapstick
2 quarters
1 pair ear plugs
4 ibprofin
4 sticks Trident

Even the New York & Company tin was too big, so when I stumbled upon these tins, I bought two immediately. I found these mint tins (by Little I) in Urban Outfitters on clearance (so who knows if there are any more). They can also (obviously) be purchased from I also found similarly sized tins in JoAnn Fabrics (they're silver with "Love" on them).

This one has almost the same amount of stuff as the NY&C; tin, but it's 1/2 the size of a full Altoids tin! It's almost too small! The quarters are taped to the top of the tin to keep them from rattling.

The Altoids Smalls tin will actually fit all of these, too, except for the quarters.

Hacked Chapstick:
The full-size Chapstick doesn't fit in this mini tin, so I decided to cut it up. Take a chunk out of the middle, because the ends are important. The bottom has a ribbed edge to hold the twist screw in place and the top holds the cap. Measure one cap length in the middle and mark it, then CAREFULLY cut that section out. It's hard plastic. You will also need to trim the twist screw in the center. Mine is just a hack job that's uneven and held together with tape, but with a better saw or Dremel, you can probably do it cleanly.
Note that there are grooves which the lip balm center travels on to keep it straight. When affixing the two pieces together, make sure they line up.
Also note that if it's new, you will have to trim some of the lip balm off so it fits. You can set that aside and reload the hacked Chapstick container when it runs out.

Step 5: Personal Mini First Aid Kit

Picture of Personal Mini First Aid Kit

3 bandages
3 packets of 2 ibuprofen
3 packets of topical antibiotic
2 packets of 2 generic cold/cough pills
1 disposable vinyl glove
PSK sheet (

Just some basic first-aid supplies, available in large quantities from an office supply store. You can throw this one in your backpack or glove compartment. You never know when you'll need a bandage.

Step 6: (kind Of) Survival Kit

3 bandages
5 ibuprofen
1 book matches
1 smaller tin of drier lint (tinder)
1 packet salt
1 packet pepper
1 packet sugar
1 razor blade
PSK sheet (

Everyone else has a survival kit. I tried to copy the "Survival kit in a sardine can." Mine is by no means the best or complete. But the PSK sheet is important! It has basic survival information that should be in every survival kit!

Step 7: Screwdriver Accessories

Picture of Screwdriver Accessories

foam padding to keep them from rattling
all your standard hex screwdriver bits

If your Swiss Army knife doesn't have enough options for you, stick your hex screwdriver bits into an Altoids tin. The foam is important, because the sound of them rattling around will drive you nuts!

Step 8: Mini Screwdriver Accessories

Picture of Mini Screwdriver Accessories

I found an Altoids Smalls tin and lo, all the hex bits that I carried around fit in there, too! Actually, they're in a little bag inside the tin, mainly to keep them from rattling. This is so small, regular foam may not work well.

Step 9: Hot Sauce Carrier

Picture of Hot Sauce Carrier

hard foam padding to protect the hot sauce
2 mini Tabasco sauce bottles

This one is my favorite. I am a big fan of hot sauce and spicy food. Most of the time, "hot" food doesn't cut it and I've found myself wishing I had some hot sauce with me.

Mini Tabasco bottles can be found in some fine grocery stores, directly from Tabasco and are in MREs. One of these is factory sealed, while the other has been refilled with my wife's uncle's secret recipe...

Find some firm packing foam.
Measure and cut enough to fit into the bottom of the Altoids Tin.
Trace the hot sauce onto the foam and cut the shape out, but be sure to leave some foam benieth it.
Cut a thin layer and tape it to the inside of the top of the tin.

I don't have exact measurements. I just went by trial and error.

Step 10: Headphone Case

Picture of Headphone Case

headphone accessories

I didn't want my ear buds to get roughed up in my backpack, so I just stuck them in an Altoids tin. I folded the cord up and twisty-tied it.

Also worth noting, the Zune 4/8/16 barely, just barely, fits in an Altoids tin.


DiyGal123 (author)2016-02-17

I use 6 ibuprofen in mine idk how many u need to use for one time though 1 or 2

CreativeKaila (author)2015-11-04

I have all that except the altoid tin.

Bobby T (author)2015-10-08

I'm somewhat of a freak on fitting things in containers and keeping them organized. I can tell you this is wasting huge amoutns of my time. I put like 15 minutes to order a box with stuff all fitting perfectly. And then I need something out of it... Much more prefer to be slightly messy than lose my time..

rdinosaurs rock (author)2011-07-09

go to and go to the candy section there are a lot of tins like this it is really cool

rdinosaurs rock ... oh thank you very much for my newest time sucking addiction!!


thehbird (author)2014-02-10

Why hot sauce

Delete_ (author)2013-08-11

This is going to be my first year having lockers, so I'm going to make this and put it in my locker for "emergencies" :)

BriannaRenee (author)2013-06-16

So cool and perfect!

kmarie17 (author)2012-07-14

I really do hate altoids, but some of these ideas are really good, thanks! I might just endure for the first aid kids.

alex4646 (author)2010-06-02

i did the same thing exept with some different supplies for different situations. mine was for a day in middle school. it had a bunch of rubber bands, electrical tape, 2 springs, a penny, some paper, and one stick of gum. saved my life 5 times no joke.

builderv (author)alex46462012-03-05

what would you do with all those things ? cause if you tell me what to do with that stuff i would make it to for all those boring school days

jamesb1 (author)2012-01-30

I crammed a small slim jim in mine but it was bent. do you know any place where i can get a travel size hot saucebesides online??

TheToastedProductions (author)2009-09-16

You should figure out how to put like mini nachos or an ipod and drill a hole in the bottom and then itll be a ipod carrier

mini nachos?

Yes mini nachos, their the newest sensation sweeping the nations :D

i'm listening, where do you get them?
*repeats* mini nachos! mini nachos!

they have ipod carrier ones

John-4 (author)2011-10-22

but don't bring to school
you will get caught for the ibuprofen

drabinowitz (author)2011-08-23

hate to be hateful here but HALF OF THESE IDEAS ARE URBAN SURVIVAL KITS.

Wasagi (author)2009-10-25

 Tobasco Sauce Container= Genius

mrownsalot (author)Wasagi2010-07-06

Tobacco Sauce container = Awful

eneergcam (author)mrownsalot2010-07-13

Baccy Sauce container = Slightly better

That One Eegit (author)eneergcam2011-08-21

teh cheat rules!

eobox (author)2011-07-10

Altoids tins... what the hell can't they do?

Cool tip, thanks for sharing. c: Kudos for the Tobasco and ibuprofen, too. XD

sirbunch (author)2010-12-21

I buy tins like this almost compulsively and fill them with all sorts of things. It's actually counter-productive I have stacks of tins, but the idea is too cool.

Anyway, several times I've not cared for the contents, which is fine, but I found that if I stick them in a baggy and store them in my car they act as an air freshener. I have a habit of stealing extra napkins to keep in my car instead of buying tissue. I keep them in the console right next to the mints and they take on a fancy smell.

Just a way to get a bonus out of nasty tasting mints.

Saturn V (author)2010-04-06

How do you know what axle grease tastes like?

account3r2 (author)Saturn V2010-09-16

He probably ate his car

garooob (author)account3r22010-11-13

I accidentally my car once, but not the whole thing.

______ (author)2010-09-04


greymatter21 (author)2010-04-30

r those pills extacy? jk lol:P

eneergcam (author)greymatter212010-06-26

No, you were right the first time,

greymatter21 (author)eneergcam2010-06-27


eneergcam (author)greymatter212010-07-13

Just kidding, they were ruphies

TheCocktopus (author)2009-06-04

Haha, love all this stuff, I never have enough altoid tins to make enough "survival" kits though. Also, I love that you love hot sauce.

Saturn V (author)TheCocktopus2010-04-06

Just get a altoids tin from some store, and dump all of them in your mouth.  That way, you have a tin and didn't waste any of the "curiously strong" mints.
P.S. Videotape yourself pouring them into your mouth if they're peppermint or cinnamon.  That oughta be hysterical.

Tehaznman (author)TheCocktopus2009-07-08

Hahah i just bought four bottles of those mini hot sauces

garooob (author)Tehaznman2009-07-09

Do it! You'll never be without hot sauce again~

Saturn V (author)2010-04-06

You want hot? just eat a jalopino as a banana.

dildo224 (author)2010-03-08

uuuhhhh i loooovveeeeee Hot sauces!

KittyF (author)2010-02-21

one thing I think you might want to add is a couple buttons, and two needles threaded with light and dark thread in a piece of fabric or cardboard.  Emergency button and split disasters are a scary emergency in an urban environment, particularly work or church.  LOL 

jumpertoad (author)2009-10-11

i want a mini dog

agis68 (author)jumpertoad2010-02-21

 i want Mini...mouse :D

jumpertoad (author)jumpertoad2009-10-11

Colonel88 (author)2009-10-06

I like hot food too but the hot sauce makes it too runny... It should be more of a paste... know what i mean?

littlebastard (author)2009-09-18

i think your wifes uncle needs to make an instructable and divulge this secret recipe

weaponscollector94 (author)2009-09-18

i made an Altoids kissing kit and gave it to my girlfriend one time! it was a neat romantic gift!

Zroy1 (author)2009-08-20

if you have an altoids tin fold up a dollar and put rubberbands around it instead of the quarters. what i did was i looked at this instructable and folded it half of what they did.

garooob (author)Zroy12009-08-24

A dollar is a good idea and we could spend all day discussing the virtues of paper money versus coins, but I'll tell you why I chose quarters: Gumball machines. If I want some gum or candy or a bouncy ball, I can get it with a quarter. Parking meters will accept my quarters as well. If bouncy balls aren't your thing and you don't drive, a dollar will save both weight and space in your kit. It's personal preference and need.

By the way, this is the flashlight:

Zroy1 (author)garooob2009-08-28

yeah i dont drive so the quarters dont help much

KnexFreek (author)Zroy12009-09-08

well sometimes u just need a quarter, and a tomato.

About This Instructable




Bio: @garooob
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