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Crafts | Make a Decorative Tin

Crafts | Make a Decorative Tin
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Slipping a small note or gift in a decorative re-purposed mint tin is a creative way to show your appreciation for someone special. The tins are visually appealing, and they’re also functional and reusable containers. They’re also easy to make and customizable to the tastes of the person you are presenting it to.

Altered Tins
Altered Tins

Materials Needed to Make a Decorative Tin

  • Mint tin, tea tin or other small tin that has a smooth surface
  • Sandpaper
  • Mod Podge
  • Decorative Paper
  • Scissors
  • Embellishments or decorations (such as buttons)
  • Strong adhesive glue such as E6000 or Super Glue
  • Small Magnets (can be purchased at hardware or craft stores)

Directions to Make a Decorative Tin

  • Wash and dry the tins thoroughly
Wash and dry your recycled tins thoroughly Wash and dry your recycled tins thoroughly
  • Trace your tins onto patterned decorative paper and then cut out the shapes (you will want to cut them to size, depending on how much you need for coverage or design)
Cut patterned paper to fit your tins Cut patterned paper to fit your tins
  • Lightly sand the areas where you will be applying paper – be careful to only sand where the area will be covered.  The sandpaper will scratch the finish of the tin, so only sand where paper will be applied.
  • Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the paper and then place the paper on the tin where desired.
  • Smooth the paper and remove excess glue.
  • You can apply paper to the sides of the tin if wanted.
  • When the Mod Podge has dried, apply a new layer of it over the papered areas.
  • When the outside of the tin is dry, apply paper to the inside of the tin using the same methods  as above.


A stack of altered tins A stack of decorated tins

Make Your Own Magnets for a Decorative Tin

You can make your own magnets to be used as embellishments for the tin.    Almost any small object can be transformed into a magnet but for the purposes of this project, choose small objects that will fit in your tins. Antique buttons work well, as do laser cut wood images/ wood cuts, and bottle caps.

  • Apply a small drop of your strong adhesive glue to the object and then place a small magnet on top.
  • Press firmly in place and allow to dry.

Assemble your magnets, notes, cards, or gift certificates in the tins.

Altered Tin Interior with Magnets Made from Wood Cuts Altered Tin Interior with Magnets Made from Wood Cuts
An altered tin with button magnets and a mini thank you note A decorative tin with button magnets and a mini thank you note




Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature
Updated Monday, May 21st, 2012

2 Responses to Crafts | Make a Decorative Tin

  1. Krysia Burnham May 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Fabulous idea, and beautifully made. Thank you for this mini brainstorm! I wonder if it works with larger tins, too? Thanks for this!

  2. Bonnie Thomas May 22, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    Thank you so much Krysia :) I bet this would work well with larger tins but I have not tried it. Sounds like a fun creative experiment for later :)

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