Whether you're off to school or work, you need something to pack your lunch or snack. Just like the Flintstones, don't forget your lunch pail. There is a mini-Altoids lunch box but that will not do if you have a hero, grinder, po'boy or submarine sandwich. Make a custom giant Altoids "tin" lunchbox from cardboard to fit anything you want.
This is my homage to the working stiff, trying to make a buck and shouldn't be spending any more than they have to by eating out for lunch everyday. So Bumpus, treat yourself to a Subway every once in a while, but it is better to make it fresh yourself.
This instructable should not be construed as any endorsement or advertisement of any kind for franchised Subway sandwiches, personally, I prefer Blimpie's. Subway just slices the bread oddly with the v-channel groove.
Step 1: Cardboard and Something Sticky to Hold It Together.
This is essentially just a custom cardboard box with a hinged cover. It is covered in duct tape.
You will need:
A graphic of the Altoids tin cover found on the internet.
Click on the "i" button on the image below to work with the image file I used. Select the highest resolution picture for best printing quality.
Print off a color image that is the size of the lunch box you want to make. I just let the printer expand the graphic I had to be a full size sheet of regular paper.
Duct tape in red and white colors, or if you have a different color tin, the matching colors.
I choose not to paint the box but you can if you want. The duct tape adds a durable wear layer to the cardboard.
glue, hot glue gun if you have one.
scissors or utility knife to cut the cardboard.
Step 2: Simple Plan.
Make the bottom part of the tin first. We will then use it to measure for the top cover.
Trace the outline of the tin cover on a piece of cardboard. If you are lucky, use a piece of cardboard that was part of a box. The sides will have already been creased and may match up to the sides that you will need.
If not, mark out strips 4 inches wide that will become the sides.
The corners of the top and bottom parts are rounded so cut out the corners where the sides curve around.
Fold up the sides and glue the corners.
If you need to fill gaps or do not have enough cardboard, just use another piece to bridge the gap and glue in place by overlapping the next piece a bit.
Trim the top of the box straight.
Step 3: Minor Detail. to the Top.
On the inside, glue a 1/4 inch strip of cardboard all around. This helps to reinforce the edge and gives us that rolled tin edge look.
When the bottom part is dry, use that as the pattern to trace around to make the top.
Measure 1 and a 1/2 inch sides to go around the pattern just like we made the bottom part.
Round off the corners.
Glue up the sides. Use the bottom part of the tin as a guide to make a snug fit for the top cover.
Since this is the top cover, glue a 1/4 inch strip of cardboard all around the outside to give us the rolled tin edge.
Step 4: Cover It Up.
Glue the printed graphic on to the top cover.
Cover the edges with a matching color duct tape.
You could also cover the entire top cover afterwards with a clear contact paper or laminating film. This will give a durable wear surface to the paper printout.
Cut slits in the duct tape at the corners to help wrap it around the curves smoothly.
Cover the bottom part with duct tape.
Step 5: Hardware, Schmardware...
The handle, hinges, and lock clasp were all made from bits of cardboard and duct tape. You
can purchase or scavenge real lunch box hardware made out of plastic and metal, but this is
way more fun to do.
For the hinges, in the top cover where the bottom will be with the lunchbox standing on edge, cut two slits the width of your duct tape.
Note that we want the hinge on the bottom so it opens easily as a lunch box. Change the position if you are just making a giant Altoids tin where the hinge is in the top back when laid flat on the table.
Double over a piece of duct tape so it sticks to itself.
Thread that through the slot. Put the cover in place and secure the free ends.
Open it up and test to see there is enough play in the hinge so that the cover does not bind when it opens.
Secure the other free ends of the hinge with more duct tape.
Step 6: Can You Handle It?
The handle is just a short strip of cardboard doubled in thickness and wrapped with duct tape.
More duct tape is used to extend the ends. Close the cover and position the handle.
Duct tape the ends of the handle to the box.
For the clasp, create a cardboard bump for the clasp lock by folding over a small piece of cardboard several times.
Duct tape it in the center against the edge of the top cover closed.
Cover a strip of cardboard with duct tape. Wrap it around the clasp bump and secure the free ends to the top cover with duct tape.
To use, gently pull over the bump to secure. To open, just flip the catch up over the bump and open the top cover.
Step 7: Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Its Off to Whatever We Go...
So there you have it, a versatile portable container for stuff. And since size does matter, you are not limited to what you can put in here. If it doesn't fit, just make it bigger, curiously big.