Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Altered Tin Tutorial and Friday Challenge

Mixed Media Friday Challenge at ECS this week was to alter a tin using a Spring theme and this is what I came up with using only half a tin. I glued a BIG black button to the bottom to help it stand on it's own.

I wrote a tutorial on altering tins last September and it was posted on another blog, which has since that time been deleted. So this is for a friend who asked how I make my tins, and I hope that those of you who have never tried this fun project yourself will take advantage of this tutorial, they are so quick and easy :)
I will go through the steps I take, but you may like to do things a little different of course, that is up to you. Remember that if you need to see any of the photos close up just click on them and you will get the full size image.

First of all you will need an empty, clean tin. I use an Altoids tin, I just love the mints, but any tin will do.
What I do is scruff up the tin a bit with some sandpaper, any kind , not too rough. Then I take it outside and spray paint the outer parts of the tin to give it a clean finished look. You could also use a metal paint from the craft store and brush it on, but I have not tried that yet.
Ta da..... blank painted tin.
Sand lightly the parts of your tin that you will be gluing anything to. Usually the front, and two insides . If you don't take this step the glue may not adhere properly.

Take your tin and draw around it on a plain piece of paper, and keep it as your template, or if you prefer just draw right on to any paper you have chosen. I chose a vintage clip art for my fairy child then decided on this paper for the front of my tin. Place it on top of the tin to see how it fits.

NOOOOOOO.. no glue yet please!
If it fits perfect you are lucky, if not then you need to trim it a bit all around until you can see it is going to fit properly on top of your tin.

What I prefer to do is work on my front paper before gluing it to the tin, just incase I either make a mess or don't like it. So let's start adding our clip art.

Here is the vintage image I chose of this cute little girl. I chose some butterfly wings to make her look fairy like, and gave her a little crown too.
Once all my pieces are together I will then glue her on to the paper. I use a regular type glue stick for this part, it works great, just a UHU or Elmers glue stick.
Now you are ready to glue this piece on to the front of your tin.
The inside of the tin is fun. For this one I chose a green paper because I am going to put a baby fairy in the forest. I then used my glue gun and used this burgundy trim around the deepest part of the tin. Make sure you don't go too near the top edge or you won't be able to close the tin after. You can see the other side of my tin is sanded and ready for something.

Here is my baby fairy all glued together. You will see her in a minute but I wanted to show you what I do to the back of her. First I will fold a piece on the bottom edge for sitting her down, and to make her more 3D I used 3 pieces of sticky foam which comes in strips. It depends how deep your foam is, you will have to judge how much to use.

Before you see the baby fairy I want you to go out into the forest and collect some natural dried pieces of nature.
Just kidding! Although I do like to hunt for little bits and pieces at the park here to use in mixed media, only at the time I am posting this, it's still way to cold for that.

I use spanish moss, just a tiny bit and I got the other drieds from some potpourri I made last year. The little orange things that look like pumpkins are Pudka Pods if that is how you spell it, I am unsure. I will be showing you what I used them for later, but really, whatever you can find, even a tiny craft bird would be nice in there too.

Ahhhhh there she is, my baby fairy :) Just waiting to sit in the forest.

I glued the dried berry thingies and even some very vintage cotton flowers I have in my stash to the top side and up over the top a bit, with the glue gun. Then I put a few spots of the same glue and laid down a very light amount of moss. Baby is going right inside, and on top of that piece of moss. Either glue your foam and press it against the back of the tin, or just use the sticky part of the foam. This gives you more dimension rather than just a flat look.

I used the foam again today on my new Spring themed tin to add the little butterfly.

Shown below, she is glued in, I glittered her crown , added some more moss in front of her and glued down some more dried pieces.
For the narrow inside of the tin I have printed out a fairy poem and aged the paper them simply glued it in. You could add another fairy there, whatever you feel like.

ta da, you have a cute little altered tin :)

Here is the front of another one I made for a swap, it's pretty much the same inside.
Below is a Halloween tin I made last year , see how the little Pudka Pods look like little pumpkins, they are so cute. Mine smell good too because they were in a potpourri mix. Here is the front of that tin. As you can see, I used a black spray paint for this one.

I hope this tutorial was fun for you, if you have any questions just ask and I will try and answer them.

Credits: Some clip art from my own collection, and others can be found at the sites below

From The Craft Room
This tutorial is not to be used on any other site, it is copyrighted. A link to this tutorial is fine, please do share on your blogs, and feel free to print it.
Copyright Sept' 12th 2008 revised Feb' 2009


  1. I just love these tins...so pretty! I've got to try one! tfs

  2. Thanks so much now I know just what I'm gonna do with the rest of my tins...well not all of them, but some...gonna do something for EASTER. You sure do know how to teach!!! (((hugs)))

  3. Hey!! Is that a wine cork from a bottle of Italian wine I see in this tin??? Now that's the way to celebrate Spring!! ♥

  4. Wonderful instructions, can't wait to make my own. Yours are too cute!
    Thanks for sharing your know-how, Candy

  5. Your altered tins are stunning, Lynn!
    I just love visiting your Blog and enjoy looking at your gorgeous creations! Thanks for the great instructions.
    Gaby xo

  6. Lynn,
    Your tin creations are just devine. Thank you ever so much for posting a tutorial. Now I know for sure I want to try to make altered tins. I'll have you to thank for showing me how to do it! Lovely

  7. Thanks for this great tutorial! The worj is gorgeous!

  8. those are just GORGEOUS!!!!!! i actually have a few tins and been searching for some inspiration on what to do with them..and well..i found it!!! i am just in love with the way you altered those tins....they are just the sweetest and most beautiful little tins ever!! i especially adore the inside of them...all the little bits and baubles of some cute elements just add to the cuteness and sweetness....beautiful work!!!

  9. Stunning tins, Lynn! You did a great job! As always! ;o)))

  10. Great tute! Thanks for sharing it! xoxo

  11. Wow - thanks for posting this! Great instructions with photos - I'll be able to try this project.

  12. Hi Lynn! I was googling "altered tins" because I have never made one was looking for instructions--and your tutorial popped up on the list!--so I linked to it and read your directions. I realize that you posted this many months ago, but it really helped me figure out how to do this, and your fairy tins are so cute! The only thing I am wondering about is that my empty Altoids tins that I've been saving have "Altoids" written on the fronts in raised, bumpy letters--don't know quite how to make that part smooth, but I will work on it with sandpaper.

  13. Very cute those tin boxes!
    So creative!

  14. Oh, I love this! I have an Altoid tin box I can use to try this out. Thanks for the fabulous tutorial! :)

  15. I love these sweet fairies! Take care, Martha

  16. Great tutorial, and what a lovely blog! So glad I stumbled across it today - but now I fear I'll be spending hours looking at it :)


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