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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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Decorating an altoids tin
thinking, perplexed
I've got an altoids tin that I'm using as a case for my iPod Shuffle. It works pretty well -- I cut the original packaging up to make a little plastic bit that holds the shuffle itself against the lid, and then the little quick-reference card and the headphones fit in the bottom part. So far so good.

The problem: it still looks like a scratched-up Altoids case.

So I want to decorate it somehow, either just the lid or the whole thing, but I dunno what to do to it. Painting is probably the easiest, but I don't know where to start. I could do a shiny and tough automotive finish but it'd mean buying cans of primer, paint and clearcoat for one Altoids tin. Craft-style paints probably wouldn't hold up to sharing a pocket with keys, but there's probably something clear I can spray on to protect it; I just don't know what. Paper stickers would get dirty and worn; vinyl ones would work but I'd need to find 'em. There's probably other options but I dunno from crafty stuff at all.

What should I do to it?

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You can probably get some craft enamel at a craft store that would work, and stand up to being pocketed.

Or, you could decoupage it.


A the risk of being repetitive

Découpage, with several layers of varnish.

I friend turned a tin into a hum-hum box for me years ago. It handled pocketing easily. Then it was stolen.

Great idea! I have a ton of altoids tins I can't bear to part with, because they might be useful. I'll have to try it sometime!

Automotive Touch-up paint?

Won't be as good as the real thing but for small areas (and I think an Altoid tin qualifies) it seems ok.

For extra points my body shop friend recommended me drying it with a heat gun rather than air drying.

What, the fact that it's a scratched-up Altoids tin isn't cool enough for you?

You could always try removing the paint entirely and using fine steel wool to give it a brushed metal look. This is, after all, an Apple product. 8^)

The best part of this idea is that if you find you don't like, it's ready to be painted.

Now you've got me wondering how to make it translucent white.

Sprayed on plastic laminate. 8^)

You beat me to it. A layer or 2 of whatever color, then a layer or 3 of clearcoat will work wonders.

use some mod podge and collage it with stickers or pretty japanese paper or newspaper clippings. then if you're worried about the finish (though mod podge finishes pretty well and durably) you could always put clear laminate over it. dunno about up there but in the us you can get that in grocery stores for lining kitchen drawes and stuff. or seal it with resin or even wood sealer!

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