Introduction: Crotchet Travel Case

I travel a fair amount for my job. On the plane, car, train, bus...I crotchet to pass the time. I watch the passing parade, think about upcoming problems or just relax into a story while my hands whirl away. BUT - this is the one source of anxiety - I drop or loose needles, scissors or stitch counters. Scrambling around the cabin of a 747 plane chasing a precious pair of scissors does not endear one to fellow travelers. So, I've come up with a small case to store my tools in an ordinary Altoids tin: easy to reach in my hand luggage and spill resistant.

Step 1: Materials

From Top Right

4 metal shell charms (optional for embellishing lid)

4 jewelry bails

6 jump rings

4 brads (must be thin enough to pass through the hole in the bail)

Decorative paper

Longish chain with clasp (for attaching to outer bail and securing in carry case)

Empty Altoids tin

Masking Tape

2 larger brads (optional for embellishing lid)

Decorative washy tape (optional)

Large clasp (for attaching stitch counters to inner bail)

Smaller clasp and short chain (for attaching scissors to inner bail)

Tacky Glue

Modge Podge Dimensional Magic (optional)

Empty Bead container (for holding sewing needles)

Small magnet (to attach to bottom of bead container to prevent needles from easily falling out)

Spray paint (optional for painting lid)

Glossy Modge Podge

Step 2: Tools

From Top Right

Wire Cutters

Memory Keepers: "Crop-A-Dile"

Bent needle nose pliers


Measuring tape


Step 3: Prepare Tin Lid

1. Wash and dry Altoids tin

2. Close the tin and tape up the bottom half of the tin to protect it from spray paint

3. In a well ventilated area, paint the lid of the tin. (I used black paint). Allow to dry.

4. Optional: Using a fairly medium sandpaper (220 / 180 grit) lightly sand the top of the lid to expose the logo and surrounding trim

Step 4: Punch Through the Tin

  1. With the tin closed, using a Sharpie, mark the lid-reach on the tin base. Work on the bottom half of the tin.
  2. Working on the bottom half of the tin: mark three holes on one short-side of the tin and one on the other
  3. Using the smaller punch on the Crop-A-Dile, punch through the Sharpie marks on your tine. You should have 4 holes through your tin.

Step 5: Attach Outer Bail

This is where it starts to get tricky: the order in which the bails and decorative paper are attached is important to hide the ugly backs of the brads that attach the bails to the tin. The outer bail will be attached to a clasp to fasten the tin onto something in your work bag so it can easily be retrieved. This bail is attached to the middle hole on the 3-punched side.

1. Cut thin strips of decorative paper the thickness of the lower half of the outer tin (below the Sharpie line), long enough to wrap around the tin with some overlap.

2. Using the Modge Podge, attach the decorative strip to the outer side of the tin gluing down ONLY over the middle hole on the 3-punched side.

3. To assemble the bails (may as well do them all now)

  • Thread a jump ring through the bail
  • Push the brad through the hole at the top of the bail. The head of the brad is inside of the bail and the two arms are pointing out.
  • Open the brad arms a little to ease opening when setting the bail See Appendix for alternates to these bails

4. Attach the outer bail by pushing the brad through the paper and the middle punched hole of the tin and open the brad arms on the inside of the tin to fasten the bail to the tin.

Step 6: Prepare Inside of Tin

  1. Trace the shape of the tin onto the decorative paper and cut two pieces to fit the top and bottom of the tin. Glue down with Modge Podge
  2. Cut strips of decorative paper to line the sides of the bottom inside of the tin and attach with Modge Podge. Next use the washy tape to tidy up the inside of the tin.
  3. Notice that the outer paper is still only partly attached
  4. Apply an additional coat of Modge Podge on inside to cover paper and tape and allow to dry

Step 7: Attach Inner Bails

  1. There should be 4 remaining bails constructed with brads and jump rings. Following the same steps for attaching the outer bail - attach the inner bails to the inside of the tin.
  2. Attach the inner bails by pushing brads through the paper and the tin and open the brad arms on the outside of the tin to fasten the bail to the tin.
  3. This design has 4 bails inside the tin - I suggest going with 3 for a better fit

Step 8: Finish Outside

  1. Paste outer decorative paper to the tin hiding the brad arms ( from the inner bails).
  2. Add another layer of Modge Podge on outer layer and allow to dry.
  3. Prepare lid embellishments.
  4. Remove rings from charms with pliers
  5. Remove arms from decorative brads with pliers
  6. Arrange embellishments on tin lid and glue down. Allow to dry.
  7. Attach outer clasp
  8. Apply Diamond Glaze as desired and allow to dry

Step 9: Fit Inside

  1. Using an empty bead holder (that will fit into your tin), glue a tiny magnet to the bottom of the holder. This prevents your needles from falling out while travelling
  2. Attach lid of needle holder to a bail with chain and jump rings
  3. Attach stitch counters, scissors to bails in the same manner as the needle holder
  4. Finally done and ready to attach to your travelling bag.

Step 10: Appendix

I found these Tim Holtz brads that may be much easier to use than the assembled ones I put together.