Memory tins are really fun to make and personalize. Using small containers such as altoids tins also makes great gifts to give to people who you have shared experiences with. This instructable will show you how to make memory tins such as the one seen in the picture above, as well as provide some tips and suggestions that will help you make your own personalized altoid memory tins.
The tin in the picture above was made as part of a set of tins that were made as graduation gifts. They are decorated to look like the lockers that their owners occupied throughout their highschool years.
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Step 1: Materials
The materials needed will vary greatly from person to person, depending on what is available, and the purpose/theme of the memory tin. Here is a general list.
-Altoid Tins (or any small tin) -found in grocerie s fotores, pharmacies, or corner stores in the US (If anyone knows where altoid tins can be found in Canada, it would be greatly appreciated if you write it in the comments section)
-Paint brushes of various sizes
-Light Modeling paste to cover the lettering on the lid -found in Art supplies stores (the brand used in this instructable is Liquitex Light modeling paste, which was bought at Deserres Art Store.)
-Popsicle sticks to spread/mix and apply modeling paste
-Sand paper -found in hardware stores
-Glue (Glue gun and/or modge podge etc.)
-Decorations (beads, clay, wire, fabric, wire or anything else that you can think of)
Step 2: Prepare Tins
Whether or not you use Altoid tins, chances are you will need to prepare them before you can work on them.
First, you will need to empty them of whatever contents they hold. For altoids tins, this means eating all the mints. (sharing with friends and family greatly speeds up this step)
Once the tins are empty, clean them out by putting them in a bucket of soapy water and swish them around abit. Then rinse them off, and dry them with a dish towel. Make sure to dry them off completely (especially around the hinges) so that they don't rust.
If there is still a minty smell, and you want to get rid of it, fill the tins with baking soda, and let them sit for a while. Once you are satisfied with the cleanliness of your tins, it is time to start transforming them from candy holders to memory holders.
Step 3: Tin Lid Cover Up
With most Altoid tins, there is raised lettering on the lid of the tin. If you want, go ahead and incorporate the lettering into your design, but if you do not want the lettering to show, you can cover it up with modeling paste.
You could apply the modeling paste as is, or with acrylic paint mixed in to avoid having to paint the tin afterwards. In the example, the tins were covered in the modeling paste first, then painted once the paste dried.
To apply the modeling paste, first make sure the lid is clean. Then take a popsicle stick and carefully spread the modeling paste over the lid of the tin; as shown in the picture above. Try to make it as level on the top, but otherwise do not worry too much because it will be sanded down after it dries.
Once the modeling paste is applied, leave the tin to dry.
Now would be a good time to plan, aquire, and prepare the decorations you will use to decotate the tin.
Once the modeling paste is dry, take the sand paper and smooth any ridges, or lumps left on the lid surface, as well as the "burs" left on the sides.
Step 4: Decorate and Personalize
Decorate the tin as you see fit; with whichever materials you want.
If there is a theme for the tin, decorating within that theme might make the tin provoke memories from the recipient even before they look at the contents within.
The tins in the pictures, were painted burgundy to match the school lockers. The tins then had locker numbers painted on them corresponding to the locker number of the intended recipient. Last, a small lock made of sculpy clay was glued on to the front of the tin lid.
Step 5: Fill Tin
Fill your memory tin with whatever you want. If your tin is themed, look for items that match your theme. For the tins in the pictures above, the theme was Highschool. Some items that were included were school pins, flowers from prom night, relay for life tattoos.
Some general items that you could include are
-tokens from specific events such as tickets or decorative pieces (just remember to only take things with permission. Do not steal!)
For those events that you don't have small items to represent, add pictures. Wallet sized pictures should fit inside the Altoid tins. Small notes or letters can also be folded up and put inside as well.
Handmade items are valuable as well. In the tins in the picture, the homemade items itclude resin magnets and keychains.
Don't be afraid to include items that might have slighlty more abstract meanings. Trying to find out the meaning of items is part of the fun of having or receiving memory tins.
Items do not have to be expensive to have value. For example, the school logo off a worn out uniform t shirt may not have any monetary value, but makes a nice addition to a memory tin.
If you are making multiple tins, lay each tin out on a table and then lay the items to be put in each tin beside it. This way, you can visually verify that each tin has the apropriate items.
Once your tins are full of memory provoking items, they are ready to be used or given as gifts.