Thursday, June 21, 2012

DIY Altoids Watercolor Tin


Watercolors are a very handy paint because they are reusable once dry and you don't need to use a lot of paint to make a good painting. Plus, after a year of struggle, I'm starting to fall in love with watercolors and always like to have them handy.

But unless you are willing to shell out an exuberant amount of money on solid pan watercolors (or are willing to work with kiddie palettes seen in kindergartens around the world), watercolors aren't very portable.

Until you find an Altoids tin and a few hours for crafting. :)

The pictures are pretty self explanatory, so I'm not going to bore you with a bunch of rambling details and interesting tangents. Allons-y!


All you need is an Altoids tin, Mod Podge or another decoupage glue, paint sample cards (the kind with the glossy finish), and some watercolor tubes!



The height of the separators is up to you. 1 cm did the trick for me. It keeps the paint in but gives the tin some wriggle room so I can fit in mini paper, paper towel bits, pencil stubs, and mini paintbrushes, too.



At this point, I realized I needed more accordion-fold-paper-thingamabobbers, made a second one, and glued them together.


I then made some more separators so I could fit more colors into the tin. They are 1 cm wide and nestle into the accordion-fold paper..



Make sure that no paint can escape between the separators. Coat all the edges and corners with 2-3 thick layers of Mod Podge. Drying time between each layer will be exasperatingly long (about an hour) but it's worth it. For good measure, coat everything with Mod Podge just in case your paint card isn't glossy enough to be relatively waterproof.

As you can see from this picture, I hadn't properly sealed the separators and the red paint leaked.


These are colors that went into my tin. They don't have color names on them (they are from a set of watercolors my parents gave me when I was 10, and which I've only recently used. Notice how all the tubes are already breaking and paint is squishing and squashing all over the sides-- this is the perfect way to save old tubes of paint that would otherwise be hard to use!).



I wanted a wee container for holding water so that my kit could have everything I need for a tiny painting. After scavenging the house and testing out tiny plastic containers, I decided on the little plastic case that my brother's tiny scapular came in (far right).


I wanted to use the lid as a mixing palette, but didn't like the shiny gray, so I cut a plastic page separator from a notebook and glued it onto the lid.


There is still room to set some paper, paper towels, pencil stubs, and miniature paintbrushes on top of the watercolors.


Of course, it's not finished until you Mod Podge on a hand painted cover. And spelling watercolors the British way is a necessity. *nods gravely*

Overall, this is a fairly quick project that is absolutely free for people who have crafting materials hanging around. Well, the "curiously strong" mints aren't free, but you get to eat those so it's no biggie splurging a couple dollars. :)

If you attempt this project, please leave a comment! I'd love to check it out. :)


I made two tins, and the second was ultra miniature! I used one of those metal and plastic sleeves that allergy pills come in. The holes for the pills are the perfect size for a drop of paint. This one is so small that I can shove it in a pocket or tiny purse with no problem!

19 comments:

Amy said...

That is awesome! I love how tiny and complete it is. I mean, you even have *water*! Brilliant. :-)

Crafty Mischief said...

What a great idea!

themissymom said...

Really fun project!!!!

simona said...

you know, i have this thing about never ever throwing away an altoids tin because there are so many ingenious ideas - like your's here - that i want to recreate one day. fantastic idea!

Connie said...

Love this project! Would you link it up with me at Wow Us Wednesday?

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Great idea ~ i so love the cakes instead of the tubes ~ thanks, ^_^ (A Creative Harbor)

Patricia Torres said...

Oh my gosh.. such a super cute idea.. :) I'll use this when we travel.. for sure!!

Thanks for linking into CD weekly wrap up..

Kristiina said...

Such a great idea!

Brenda@ **Dragonflys and Stars** said...

That is really great! What a wonderful idea. I think you might have a lot of people copying you! Gonna pin it because I think it needs to be shared...

malia said...

Hi! Visiting from Creative Jewish Mom to say ... this is fantastic, I love it and am pinning asap! xo Malia
www.yesterdayontuesday.com

creativejewishmom/sara said...

LOVE this project, and especially the sweet cover painting! Thanks so very much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday, you have earned yourself a feature! Hope to see you back again soon!

Lissa said...

I love this craft. I am going to create this with my pre school class. Thanks!!

rachelle | tinkerlab said...

I love it! I'm going to have to start an Altoids habit now :) Just shared on my Facebook page and there's a little discussion going on about Mod Podge substitutes. Thanks for the nice tutorial.

Anonymous said...

Awesome - I can't wait to try it.

Andrea said...

AWESOME!! Will try it:0)

Hope Hunter Knight said...

this looks really fun. just became a follower : )

jessica wilson said...

brilliant! i've seen a few different diys for traveling watercolors but i like yours best...methinks. thank you for sharing! I think this would be great for gifts...instant pin!

~jessica

Anonymous said...

i have a circular mint tin...
anything different?

Eva B said...

I'm going to make this as soon as I get a tin... I really like your ideas because you don't have to buy a whole lot of stuff!

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