I’ve been continuing my exploration into Altoids Tins, and this is actually the project that first caught my eye many months ago, an adorable magnetic message board featured on Design*Sponge. I made a few small changes from the tutorial, which I’ll outline below.
The premise of the project is pretty simple. Remove the lids from a bunch of tins, spray paint them a pretty color and glue them together. The lids pull off pretty easily, the hinge is just a thin piece of folded metal that pulls open with a little bit of force. I then found that instead of trying to fold the little flap flat on the inside of the tin like the tutorial suggests, you can easily break it off if you bend it back and forth a few times.
I tried spray painting a few of the tins, but I guess I forgot to use a good primer because the paint chipped off really easily. I also only had one color of paint to use, which was a bit boring. So, I decided to repaint them by hand using some craft paint I had purchased on sale at Michaels. I found that while the paint doesn’t stick too well at first, once you have that first layer done, even if you can barely see the paint, the next layer is much easier. To minimize the brush strokes I decided to do multiple really thin layers of paint as opposed to trying to goop it on in one or two thicker layers. Once it was dry I painted a coat of varnish over the whole tin, to give it a glossy finish. You can still see some of the paint brush texture but I don’t really mind that.
I liked the look of having one tin turned the the opposite direction, but instead of using a hook like the original project, I thought it would be fun to make a little cork board. I cut three layers of foam core in the rough size and shape of the tin, and then cut a top layer of thin cork veneer. I found that because there is a little lip on the inside edge of the tin, that pushing the foam core down in past the lip chipped off a lot of my paint, so I just went in and added a new layer of red paint and varnish, before laying down the cork. I had hoped it would be a bit more flush with the top, but in the end I don’t really mind the reveal, it gives the project a bit of dimensionality.
When it came to gluing the tins together, I used Gorilla glue which worked pretty well. I would smear a little bit on one tin, line the second tin up where it needed to be, and then secure them together with a few clothespins while the glue dried overnight. I did have a few problems with the glue expanding and seeping out of the front side a tiny bit. Next time I’d probably use stronger clips and make sure that the tins were clipped most tightly closest to the bottom part (which would be the front of the message board) so that if the glue did seep, it came out the top of the tins on what would be the back of the final design. I also had a bit of a problem with gluing the cork board tin in place, since I couldn’t clip it together due to the inverted tin, but it ended up being ok.
The final little change I made from the original tutorial was when she mentions drilling some little holes in your tin to hang them on a nail. I wasn’t really sure where she was suggesting you drill your holes, but I figured that since the two tins on the end had open space inside the back, you could just hang them onto the two nails without worrying about drilling any holes. There’s always a chance they’ll slide off, but then I guess I might glue a piece of string across the back and use that for hanging the board, instead of trying to figure out how to drill a small hole.
I love this project because not only is it functional and multicolored, but you could do this with almost any magnetic tin you have. We used to get a fruit cake every year from my Grandmother at Christmas time, and while we all hated fruit cake, they did come in cute round tins. Wouldn’t it be cool to create a much larger whole wall message board using the tops of those tins?! The sky’s the limit with this idea.
If I were to try and start mass producing these little boards I’d have a few changes, the most important being a location to spray paint, high quality primer, and a bunch of different spray paint colors. Then I’d probably skip the cork board tin, since it was a lot of extra work, but maybe I’d make one of the tins a tiny chalkboard instead! Who knows… these are the sorts of questions I love thinking about, how to take a fun project and make different personalized variations.
So enjoy, and come on back tomorrow morning for my next 30x30x3 project, I promise some snazzy black and white damask fabric will be featured!!
I love this! You are a genius.
Such a great idea! I really like the cork board one. Adding this to pinterest…. I’m trying to figure out what I can do with all my extra tins.
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