DIY Altoids Flashlight




Introduction: DIY Altoids Flashlight

About: Maker from USA. Follow me to stay up to date on my projects and possible kickstarters! Business email:

For this project, I made a Tiny Powerful flashlight inside of a altoids mini tin. I decided to make this project, because Where I live, it gets pretty dark at night. With almost no light it can be very easy to injure yourself or others. This caused me to make a super bright, portable, tiny pocket flashlight.

Why an Altoids tin?

Because its something almost everyone has with them on a day to day basis. Not to mention, Its tiny, its cheap and it makes your breath smell good. I used a Altoids mini tin instead of a normal one just to challenge my self to see if I could make it fit.

How bright is it?

Very. Just 3 LED's were enough to shine all the way down my street. Not bad for a device slightly smaller than 2 inches.

Why should I make this Project?

This project is great for beginners in electronics. Its not complex, Its very cheap, and its fun to use!

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Step 1: You Will Need

To make this, You will need

  1. Altoids Tin, I used a small tin just to make it a challenge, But if you are new to electronics, you may need to use a regular sized tin.
  2. 9v Battery, The Power source
  3. Super bright LED's, not much you only need 3
  4. 330 Ohm Resistors, This causes our LED to light up without burning out
  5. Switch, Any kind will do


  1. Drill, Used to cut the tin
  2. Breadboard, Optional, very handy in testing the circuit
  3. Soldering Gun/Solder, Used to make circuit permanent
  4. Duct Tape. The tin conducts electricity. Thats bad. That can ruin the circuit so by using Duct Tape you can create a wall between the tin and electricity
  5. Hot glue gun
  6. Time. Probably an afternoon

Step 2: First LED

I will walk you through the steps in order to breadboard this circuit
  1. Connect Your Jumper wires to your battery grids. One to + and one to -
  2. Insert a LED. If your not sure how to use this, Insert the Negative pin into 18 and Positive into 19
  3. Apply your resistor from 18 to the Negative power strip. Resistors have no polarity so it does not matter which way they are inserted
  4. Insert a Jumper wire from 19 to your Positive power strip

Step 3: Remaining Two LED's

To do the other LED's its Simple, just do the same exact thing you did to the first LED but to different numbers! Remember to keep the polarity on the LED the same or you will have problems... Also Keep the power to the same strip, dont cross over or your LED wont light.

Step 4: Testing

Now comes the fun part! Its the moment of truth, will your LED's Light up or not?! From the power strips jumper wires, Touch them to there corresponding sign on the 9v battery (+ to +, and - to -)

If they light up, COOL keep moving on!

If not, Oh well, Repeat the steps until they do. If you cant get after a while, you may have problems with you components and need to get new ones

Step 5: Adding a Button!

Remember that circuit you just worked so hard on? Your going to hate me for this, but you need to adjust it to add a button, Trust me the flashlight is 100x better with a button.

Follow these steps

  1. Add the button to the numbers around 27 and 29. Make sure to put the half the pins on the other side of the breadboard as seen in the picture.
  2. Take your Positive Jumper wire and connect it to the top right pin of the button, number 27
  3. Now insert another jumper wire to the bottom left pin, number 29 on the OTHER side of the breadboard.
  4. The loose end of the jumper wire is now for the Positive on the battery.

Step 6: Test Again!

Test your circuit again!

Do the same as before, but this time to test the circuit you will need to push the button

If they light up, COOL keep moving on!
If not, Oh well, Repeat the steps until they do. If you cant get after a while, you may have problems with you components and need to get new ones

I was very Pleased at how bright these LED's are, so I was very excited to turn them into a flashlight.

Step 7: Drilling

The hardest Part. If You succeed in this step, nothing will stop your flashlight from being created.

Take a drill bit and see how it compares to the LED, You want the tip of the LED to fit and the just smaller then the base. Try to run on just smaller, because as you know, you can make the hole bigger but you can never make it smaller.

Drill Three holes for your LED's

*TIP* Use a scrap block of wood to prevent the tin from caving in and denting.

Step 8: Optional

Since im using an Altoids mini tin, The 9v Battery is slightly too big for the container. What I had to do was peel open the casing to make it just a tad smaller. I am not reponsible for any damage, because as you know, its not very good to take apart batteries....

If your using a normal altoids can, Ignore this step

Step 9: Add the LED's and Button

Insert the LED's Into the holes you just drilled and glue them in place.


You do not want to mix up polarities now...

Also (not pictured) Now is the time to duct tape the inside of the tin up

Step 10: Solder the Circuit

Im not going to cover soldering or how to solder for times sake. If you want to learn, use noahw's guide (not mine)

Using the breadboard circuit, Solder in place.

Sorry for no pictures on this step, but Its pretty hard to document while soldering...

But ill try to do it in words

  1. Solder the circuit You previously made on the breadboard.
  2. Since I used a Altoids mini, I soldered my positive and negative Wires directly to the power terminals

*TIPS* When I first learned to solder, I always applied too much. Apparently beginners do this alot so if your new, I know its hard, But try to use a small amount of solder.

Once Completed, Drill a hole for the button so you can close the tin

Step 11: Your Done!

Your just made your very own LED Flashlight! Go Light up the night!

If this is your first Electronic Project, Congratulations, Welcome to the world of electronics!

If You enjoyed this instructable Pleas vote for it in the contests. Follow me for more projects!

Sorry for any bad spelling or grammer. I know I capitalize random words alot.

If you made this project Be Sure to post a picture in the I Made It comments. Id love to see your Work!

First to do so gets free 3 moth membership from me :)

Go Holland! ( For anyone following the world cup)

Step 12: Future Plans

Future Plans for this flashlight

  1. See what makes it brighter
  2. Water Powered. ASCAS's tutorial on this is amazing and id love to try it (Not Mine)

3. Solar Powered. Duh. Solar Powered anything is really cool

4. Rechargeable

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5 Discussions


5 years ago on Introduction

Altoids rule! I will try to finish my entry in time for the contest ;) !

Great job!

Thanks I just recently opened this account and I already am pro thanks to you. I also made a project for the battery powered contest. It is called portable solar ac power. Check it out. It is not as portable as your project, but it is portable. :P Thanks again. I voted for you. It would be cool if you did the same. Thanks