DIY: Turn Altoid Tins Into Dioramas



A few months ago, I found an empty mint tin in my purse. Instead of discarding the tin, I sat it aside, thinking I might find a use for it. And I did.


I’ve always loved dollhouses. Whenever I visit the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., I head straight for the miniature house of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll.


I fell in love with this 23-room dollhouse as a young girl. I’d stand and stare at it forever, soaking in every detail of every room. The furniture, toys, appliances and household items were just so dang cute, and I could only imagine what it would’ve been like owning it.


While a mint tin is no dollhouse, the idea of turning the empty shell into something else intrigued me. That’s when I decided to create a diorama and embellish it with miniature dollhouse items. It might not be a 23-room dollhouse, but my little tin diorama makes my heart happy whenever I look at it.

Of course, your supplies will depend on what type of diorama you want to create.


The basic supplies include:

  • Empty mint tin (I’ve bought mints just to get the tins!)

  • Spray paint (I use Rust-oleum Satin Metallics Classic Bronze)

  • Decorative paper (Select paper appropriate for the diorama you want to create. For example, I used muted floral paper because I wanted my tins to have a vintage feel.)

  • Glue

  • Lace or other trimming

  • Hot glue gun


Directions

First, set the tin on top of your paper and trace around it. Cut out the paper using the line as a guide. You'll need two pieces of paper for the inside back panels. I recommend choosing different papers that complement each other.


Tuck the papers inside the panels to make sure they fit. You might have to trim. Once you’ve determined they fit, set the two pieces aside.


Spray paint the outside of the tin. It might take a few coats and you should let the tin dry between coats.


When dry, turn the tin over and spray the inside rims. (You can skip this step if you’d like.)


Glue the two pieces of paper to the back panels on the inside of the tin.


I like to add trim around the inner rim on both sides, but you don’t have to. If you choose not to paint the rim, then I'd definitely add trim.


I use a hot glue gun to attach the trim as well as the miniatures.


Here’s where the fun begins. Use your creativity. Here are some ideas I’ve done.



Creates shelves: Use cardboard to create shelves. You can cover the shelves with paper or spray paint them. There’s no right or wrong; it’s whatever you want to do.


I’ve created shelves and turned mint tins into mini libraries, sewing rooms, dressing rooms and kitchens. I’ve also created some outdoor scenes using a miniature bench and trees. The possibilities are limitless!


Tip: Stock up on Christmas miniatures this year to make dioramas for next year.


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