My son and I made pill bottle first aid kits last year in his Cub Scout troop. While I really liked the fact that his pack leaders were teaching the kids how to be prepared for small emergencies, I decided to take the original design and upgrade it a bit. This is my take on how you can design a very inexpensive mini first aid kit that will be invaluable for most situations, while at the same time taking up very little space in a backpack, purse, pocket, or car's glove compartment. I keep one with me at all times, one in my desk at the office, and have insisted that my wife carry one as well. My son has a modified version in his backpack, without the matches or lighter.

Now, the kit that the Scouts built was primarily geared towards first aid, but I felt that, with the right modifications, you could diversify it's uses without adding a lot of weight.

The best thing about this kit is that you can put it together for less than $4.00! I'll explain how in the steps.

Step 1: Step 1: The Vessel

In order to properly contain your mini first aid kit, you will need something to store it in. I particularly like prescription bottles, because you can get them for free. I used to work at CVS/pharmacy years ago, but I still have a rapport with the pharmacists there. If you have a pharmacy that you frequent, simply ask the pharmacy staff for a couple of vials, and explain that you are building mini first aid kits out of them. Request the non safety cap lids. CVS carries two varieties of bottle lids; safety, which require some force to push down and twist, and non safety cap, with require only the flick of a thumb to open. Other pharmacies carry "all in one" lids, but I recommend the variety shown. If you only have one free hand (perhaps you are applying pressure to a wound or you have a cut on the other hand) this makes it easier to pop open.

If you can, request a "40 dram" vial. They are bigger than your typical 13 or 20 dram vials, but not as big as a 60 dram, which is massive. It is just the right size for your equipment.

I am also not adverse to other vessels, like Altoids tins, but I use those for other things.

COST: $0.00


Step 2: Step 2: Emergency Lighting

During my time as a recruiter for the company I work for now, I went to lots of job fairs at college campuses. Recruiters are always trying to lure hires to their booths, and will set out all sorts of "swag" to entice people to approach. I would often approach and befriend other recruiters, then swipe some of their stuff, or trade swag with them. Most of them are out of state recruiters and don't want to have to lug a bunch of stuff back to the home office, so they are happy to give you a few to lighten the load. Don't be greedy, but definitely grab a couple. Typically they will have a keychain on them, but just remove it for this.

These flashlights (this particular one measures about 2 1/2 inches long) fit perfectly in this kit. They are a must have for lighting the way in the event of a power outage or if your car runs out of gas in the middle of nowhere.

At one job fair, I found a combination compass/light/whistle that one recruiter was giving away. I did swipe several of those to give to my son's den. They all loved them when I handed them out on the next camping trip!

COST: $0.00, if you know where to look. Otherwise, you can buy very small keychain flashlights for a couple of dollars

Step 3: Step 3: Fire Starter

I carry two forms of fire starting materials in my kit. While not normal fare for a first aid kit, I keep these in there in the event I am stranded and need to build a fire. We camp often and this has come in very handy in the past.

The mini Bic fits in perfectly, and I actually disassembled the matches to make more space. Take a look at the next slide to see how.


Matches: $0.00 (picked them up at a restaurant on my way out)

Mini-BIC Lighter: ~$2.00 (based on average prices for packs of three that I've seen in store)

Step 4: Step 4: Space Saver

To save a bit of space, I used super glue to glue part of the strike strip of the matches into the lid. This way you know exactly where to strike the matches without having to fumble for the strip inside the bottle.

COST: $0.00, but you'll need Super Glue to attach it to the lid

Step 5: Step 5: A Little "Pick Me Up"

Candy is an important piece of your survival kit. If you are having to hike or are stranded somewhere and your blood sugar gets low (especially for diabetics), then this could possibly save your life! I actually got a handful of these from a coworker, and any high sugar hard candy will work just fine, including coffee Nips.

COST: ~$4.00 for a bag

Step 6: Step 6: Aluminum Foil: 101 Uses

One square foot of aluminum foil can be used for many different applications, including fashioning it into a drinking cup, using it to hold food as it cooks, or signaling someone if you are lost in the woods. I'm sure that if you think about it, you can come up with several other uses as well.

This should be a kitchen staple, but if it isn't, you can find sheets as most restaurants. Just ask for extra when you are taking your food to go. However, I will advise that I prefer the thicker "heavy duty" variety, because it is more durable.

COST: $0.00

Step 7: Step 7: Pin Up

Safety pins are another multitasker. You can use it to fasten gauze or a shirt around a wounded limb, pin your shirt up to make a makeshift sling, or sterilize the tip and dig out a splinter. In a pinch, you can even use it as a fishing hook!

Another household staple, if you must buy them, go somewhere where you can buy a bunch for cheap.

COST: $0.00

Step 8: Step 8: Cleanse the Wound

Little swab packets can be found at restaurants, like Chik-Fil-A. The next time you are in there, grab a handful and a few straws (I'll explain later). I actually got a few from a health fair my company held.

COST: $0.00

Step 9: Step 9: Prevent Infection

After you sterilize the wound, you'll want to apply an antibiotic. Unfortunately, the tube may not fit inside your vessel, and individual packets are ridiculously expensive. You can cut apart a drinking straw (one that you stole from Chik-Fil-A) and squeeze some of your own antibacterial ointment into it, seal the ends with either tape or by melting them with a lighter and needlenose pliers, and then add them to your kit.

COST: $1.00 (for a tube of the generic antibiotic ointment)

Step 10: Step 10: Dress the Wound

After sterilization and antibiotic, you need to keep dirt out of the wound. These fabric bandages are my personal preference due to their flexibility, but you can use any type bandage you want. I got a large box of generic ones for $1.00 from a grocery store.

COST: $1.00 for a box of generic fabric bandages

Step 11: Step 11: Putting It All Together

I like to start from the wall and place the following in in order:

1. Aluminum Foil


3. Alcohol Pads

4. Firestarters

5. Antibiotic Ointment

6. Flashlight

7. Everything else just kind of squeeze in.

There is still quite a bit of space in this kit. You could also consider putting the following items into it, as long as you have room.

* Fishing hooks, fishing sinkers and 20 feet of 4 pound test line (make sure you know how to tie your knots!) in a small plastic bag

* 3 inch strips of duct tape

* A small roll of gauze

* Tweezers

* A small Swiss army pocket knife/multitool

Step 12: There You Have It!

I hope you've enjoyed this Instructable. In the future, I plan on creating an Instructable on how to create your own single-use ointment packets.

Thanks for reading.

I love this! My only concern is that Werthers is a sugar free candy and will be of no help. I understand that it is just an example and you don't have to follow the pictures to exactly. But just a heads up
<p>Original Werther's are not sugar free. They have high fructose corn syrup. </p>
Very helpful and useful I'm really glad you made this
<p>Ingenious! I love the antibiotic ointment in a straw trick, and ditto the suggestions for including Benedryl, aspirin (in case of heart attack mainly), and razor blade. Plus, the duct tape wrap on outside of bottle. Maybe a water purification tablet? I live in hurricane country, and my emergency kit includes a small grill, charcoal included, in case evacuation is needed. For a smaller option, it just occurred to me, a few fire starters (such as the crayons). Thanks!</p>
<p>I found it too hard to make the antibiotic packs. The ends melted too much and wouldn't seal after the ointment was put in.</p>
here's a simple idea for a paracord wrap for the bottle. leaving a loop to attach it to a backpack, kayak, etc.
<p>I did what I could, seeing as I only had a 20 dram bottle. I managed the foil, lighter, bandages and prep pads, as well as a small cartridge of smelling salts.</p>
<p>I would wrap the bottle with paracord. It's useful as a clothesline, for a snare, etc.</p>
<p>I would add 2 aspirin, 2 ibuprofen, and 2 Tylenol. and some benadryl capsules. They could be sealed in straws and labeled also. Cotton swabs are also useful.</p>
<p>Add a razor blade, needle and medical stitching thread and this would be VERY comprehensive!</p>
<p>I might make an instructible for this, but here is how I do my fishing kit.<br>Get a couple fish hooks that are pre-tied with the leader a couple sinkers, some fishing line and a large straw. Cut the straw to length and put the fish hook in, with the leader going down the straw and the hooks hanging on the edge. Wrap the hook end with a small amount of painters tape to hold them in place. Fold the leader back up the straw length and wrap fishing line around it, holding the leaders under the line to keep them out of the way. Hold the end of the line with another piece of painters tape. Drop a couple sinkers down the bottom end of the straw and put a final piece of tape on the end to keep them in. You don't need tape on the hook end, unless you want to, since the hooks will hold the sinkers in.</p>
<p>If you want to add duct tape, you could always just stick some around the outside of your vessel. It should not add more than a millimeter or two to the thickness and then you can choose the length you need.</p>
<p>I would wrap any length of duct tape around the bottle -it doesn't take any more space on the interior and will no doubt come in handy.</p>
<p>Another suggestion is to cut the striker for the matches a bit larger and behind it, include a single edge razor, I feel that would come in very handy for a number of things and it is protected from your fingers by the match striker.</p>
<p>good call, I actually thought it was a razor until he described what it was in the pic. See my earlier comment on the lighting step about a Joule Thief.</p>
<p>I was looking the cap and thinking that might be a good place for a Joule Thief using a CR2032 battery. If done right it could be activated quickly in the dark after the cap is taken off, and it could be used as a tiny lantern. Good addition to or backup for the flashlight.</p>
<p>With the tweezers, a small magnifier or loupe is very useful for getting out splinters and thorns.</p><p>A while back, I fell in the woods and scraped my leg badly on a sharp broken branch. I patched the long graze with my kit of three small plasters, but would have been better off with a length of dressing strip and scissors. Tiny folding scissors are available.</p>
<p>and now wrap duct tape around the vessel so you have some handy</p>
<p>another item that might be included is a maxithin...we have used them for larger cuts and being thin and flexible they are fairly small but absorb a lot</p>
<p>I would add a non-lubricated condom for a container/cover. Excellent kit and write-up.</p>
<p>condoms deteriorate in the heat and over time.</p>
<p>COOL now i'm prepared for ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! except where do you put the roll of duct tape? you cant do anything without duct tape!!</p>
<p>Great idea! But I think I would use &quot;Rubber Cement&quot; since the lid is flexible, and Super-Glue doesn't seem to like being &quot;flexed&quot;...</p>
<p>Not a bad idea, Tampaguy! Thanks for the tip!</p>
<p>great idea, and nice kit!</p>
Muy bueno! very nice!
<p>Nice kit!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm just your regular technogeek Dad.
More by TannerH:Baseball Card Earbud Holder Super Easy First Aid/Survival Kit 
Add instructable to: