Sunday, 13 November 2016

Creative used of Altoids tins

Large objects scare me. I don't know what it is about them, but my mistrust of anything big probably goes a long way to explaining why I love miniatures. Consequently I also adore the many and varied solutions for compactness and Altoids tins spawn.

These diminutive tins are somewhat of a cultural icon, and I am sure we've all used them (or something similar) to store things like hooks, pins and buttons. But there are creative folk out there who are putting them to really interesting uses.

For quite a while I've seen DIY watercolour travel kits made from Altoids tins. Now, with 3D printing becoming more readily available you can order watercolour holders designed to fit inside the tins. This kind of add-on industry is a really interesting direction for 3D prints and I'm sure excited to see how it develops.

While storage is a common use, aids for spiritual life are also possible. Some crafty witches have suggested that you build a travelling alter into your Altoids tin for those wicca emergencies when you're on the go.

On a similar note, if you find the need for contemplation you could always crack open your Zen Altoids tin. It contains a miniature garden which will no doubt be in need of a manicure if it's been bouncing around in your pocket since your last harrying day.

A solution which, refreshingly, makes no attempt to take itself seriously is the Minty Spinner. Again this is a 3D print solution. Reach for this during the coming evenings in the pub with your friends. Genius in a sweet tin.*

There are quite a few tech solutions out there too. Flashlights, amplifiers, speakers etc. have all been fitted into Altoids tins. A quick google will throw up a load. While these are cool, current advances in miniaturisation render them more novel retro items rather than groundbreaking solutions.

*Incidentally, I am pretty sure the spinner on the left points to the word "sing". However, to the native British it may, also, be a four letter word with a less salubrious meaning. Clue: Austen Powers.

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