Transforming an Altoid Tin into a mini First Aid Kit

There is a classic scene in the TV show Friends where they discover that hyper-organized Monica has a secret closet where she keeps all the random stuff she doesn’t quite know how to organize but can’t throw away. It is the opposite of the rest of her life. It is messy, overflowing with junk and unorganized. While I don’t have a Monica closet, I do have a Monica bin where I keep things that I come across for which I have sentimental attachment or think “this might be useful for a project someday”.

Someday is now.

The Project

I pulled out my little plastic bin that is normally kept tucked away in the back of a drawer so as to not remind me of the chaos inside. I started going through the contents and pulling out things that might work for a repurposed project.

What caught my eye immediately was that I had an attachment to metal tins having collected a variety in different shapes and sizes. I think there is a genetic component. When emptying out a bureau in my Dad’s old house, I opened up a drawer to find hundreds of empty Altoid tins. His were neat and organized. No Monica’s closet for him.

I decided to go with a metal tin project. There are thousands of ideas for this type of project. Google “altoid tin projects” and after you’re done going down that rabbit hole please continue reading this blog to see how I turned my Altoid tin into a mini first aid kit for my downstairs bathroom.

The Supplies

After rummaging through the bin, I found some potential supplies. I say potential because each craft project I do evolves organically and not always how I expect it to go. Here’s the path that this one took.

I had a cloth scrap that I had run through my sticker maker already. When using my Xyron sticker maker I often run random items through so as to not waste any of the cartridge. In this case, I probably had something long and thin that I needed to turn into a sticker so I ran a piece of scrap material through at the same time to use the full width of the cartridge. At least that is likely what happened as I don’t remember given that this has been in my Monica box for years.

I put the tin on the back of the material and used a pencil to roughly outline the shape. After cutting it out and applying it to the tin, I went around the edge of the tin again with my scissors cutting it closer to the edge.

I discovered a Charlie Card which is a payment card used to pay for riding on the subway, or T, in Boston, Massachusetts. While it reminded me of my days spent living in Boston in my twenties during which I rode the subway regularly, sadly I am too old to have actually used a Charlie Card. You still needed tokens to ride the T when I lived in Boston.

This card was probably one of my daughters or one I saved from a more recent weekend visit to the city. Either way, it fit into the tin perfectly so I covered one side of it in the same material as the larger tin and then glued a gold ribbon scrap I found in the bin around the middle finishing it off by gluing a piece of felt onto the back.

I discovered a chipboard scrap. I had already used the floral chipboard pieces but I really liked the negative space that remained. I glued it onto the top of my tin so you could see the material beneath the floral design and then trimmed it to fit the top. My tin was starting to come together.

I had a small ribbon scrap with a stitch design that fit perfectly along the top lip of the tin. I also glued and then sanded all of the edges to prevent fraying of the fabric.

Finishing Touches

I ventured outside the stash in my box and found a few more scrap items to use to embellish the project even more. First, I had an empty tin of Vegan Lip Butter from Fabula Nebulae which is a wonderful Maine based company. It was a perfect mini-size to hold Ibuprofen or other medication in my first aid kit.  I removed the label on the bottom, cleaned the residue with Goo Gone and washed the tin to remove any remaining lip butter. I covered the top of the tin with the same fabric as the larger tin but it needed something else.

I also had a empty tube of hand cream that had a packaging design that matched the colors of this project. I cut the top of the tube and then cut a seam down the back so I had a flat piece of material. After washing it to remove any hand cream residue, I used my punches to make a couple of floral accents for my Ibuprofen holder. I adhered them to the top of the mini tin.

I added some supplies to my tin and my mini-first aid kit is ready to go and tucked away in the vanity of my downstairs bathroom although I might want to leave something this pretty out in a more visible space.

I might add a few more supplies. I love that I can just grab the kit and take it on the go if needed. I especially love that it is made from things that would have been mostly thrown away.

Another win for this project is that I organized my Monica bin at the same time. It’s no longer quite as overflowing. It’s a temporary reprieve but I’ll enjoy the moment.

Why this project?

I’m posting a series of creative reuse, or upcycling, projects that I’ve completed in honor of Earth Day (April 22nd). I love crafting and finding ways to reuse rather than dispose of items is a fun, creative challenge. I have one more project coming up this month. Can you guess what day it will post?

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