I wouldn’t call making an altered tin a quick project, but it is one that can be easily done in an afternoon. It is tremendously rewarding both for how creatively versatile it is, as well as that the end result makes a great gift.
Tins and boxes of all shapes, sizes and materials can be covered or “altered” this way. For my project, I chose a breath mint tin so that the finished project would be small and portable. I started by coloring the top of the tin around the edge with a black permanent marker to hide the branded design printed on the tin itself.
For the stamped image, I chose Little Red Riding Hood by Nature’s Blessings Fine Art Stamps, which I masked and then over stamped with Pond 2 to surround the character with a bit of scenery. I then colored the entire image with Prismacolor Pencils, and trimmed the corners. Next, I pressed the edges of the stamped image onto a pad of embossing ink, dipped them in gold embossing powder, and heated them to give the image a gold-trimmed edge.
Then using a decoupage adhesive / sealer like Mod Podge, I trimmed and glued a patterned background paper on the top of the tin. In a few minutes when it was dry to the touch, I added the white trimmed paper to frame the stamped image. Lastly I glued on my stamped image. When all layers were dry, I covered them all with a thin layer of the sealer. I let the sealer dry, then applied about three additional layers, allowing each to dry in-between coats. The sealer dries transparent, giving the surface a matte sheen, and protecting the layers from being easily peeled or chipped off.
Finally, I embellished the top with a bit of black gold-edged ribbon, and added a jewelry finding on top. both were glued with E6000 craft adhesive. I also trimmed the edge of the tin with a narrower band of black ribbon, that also had a gold metallic edge.
The rest of the tin can be finished or not as you choose. You could also decoupage the inside of the tin as well as the bottom, using the same technique as you used for the top. For a finishing touch, I decided to line the inside of the tin with parchment, and to add a black matte paper on the bottom of the tin.
Next comes the fun of deciding what should go inside the tin. I noticed that my Windsor & Newton watercolor pans all fit neatly inside, and that by adding a plastic tray, pencil, brush (cut down to size), and small pieces of watercolor paper trimmed to fit, I had a small super-portable watercolor set!
It is much lighter and compact than the watercolor pans are in their original field box, which makes this version much more portable, great for “stealth” painting – just open up your tin outdoors or in a cafe, and you are set to paint. Then when you are done, pack up your supplies in the tin, pop it into your pocket or purse, and off you go!
If you make this project as a gift, there are all kinds of things you could pack inside. Here are some ideas: a few fancy tea bags, a small sewing kit, a pocket-sized first-aid kit, a small puzzle, a handmade necklace or earrings, a deck of cards, an assortment of hair accessories, or even breath mints! Have fun, and let your creativity go free!