diy project: kate’s tin message board

my boyfriend and i are compulsive list and note makers, and every day when i try to clean up i find myself picking up scattered pieces of paper strewn all over the house. this magnetic message board provides a spot for our random notes and to do lists, as well a spot for our extra key for the front door (which has to be locked from the inside to close…you gotta love those wonky old apartment quirks). if you don’t like spray paint, you can decorate these tins with anything you please: paper, fabric, acrylic paint, you name it! good luck! – kate (click here and here for more tin projects from kate)

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!


What You’ll Need:
1. altoids tins
2. spray paint (white primer, plus any colors you want)
3. epoxy (i like to get the epoxy with the quickest set time, usually 60 second is available at hardware stores)
4. pliers
5. drill with small drill bit
6. drop cloth or surface for spray painting
7. strong magnets
8. strong magnet with handle


1. clean the altoids tins and pull off the tops.
2. push all of the metal flaps into the inside of the tin using the pliers. this is to flatten the sides as best you can.
3. take two tins and drill a small hole in the top right corner of one tin, and the top left corner of the other tin with a small drill bit. these will be you outermost tins and will be the ones you nail into the wall to secure the organizer.
4. spray all of the altoids tins with white primer in a well ventilated place (outside is best). let them dry.
5. spray the tins with a second coat of primer to cover all visible writing. let dry.
6. spray paint tins with your desired colors. these should only need one even coat. let dry.
7. if you are making the key holder tin, spray paint the mighty magnet with the handle with primer, then with the color matching the tin.
8. arrange your tins together in the order you want.
9. mix your epoxy and spread a thin layer on the sides of the first two tins you will connect. let them dry.
10. continue to connect the tins with epoxy between each tin.
11. when all the tins are glued to each other and dry, place your mighty magnet handle into the open tin, and place other magnets on the other tins. your organizer is now ready to hang with tiny nails or screws.


  1. Ann says:

    Fabulous idea! I have to run out and make one right now!

  2. Laura. says:

    yay, more altoid tin love! this is great!

  3. E to the M says:

    A great project for a gal whose bf is addicted to Altoids. :)
    Now what about that crocheted mushroom?

  4. deirdre says:

    This is a great idea! I can already think of a bazillion different uses and ways to decorate these tins. Thanks!

  5. Melissa says:

    I love that mushroom! It’s so cute!

  6. Camila says:

    Wow! Great idea. I love it. I may just have to try this out in my kitchen.

  7. Minalucia says:

    I LOVE THIS! Great idea, nice colors and now I know what to do with those tins! Thanks

  8. Azura Goodman says:

    No One Belongs Here More Than You = amazing

  9. Heather says:

    I can’t find the Altoid tins with flat tops.
    Any hints? All of the ones I come across now days have Altoids debossed on them.
    Love the mushroom too!

  10. After having done a swift Google search for Altoids (being Norwegian, I’ve never heard of them) I must say that this is a really neat idea! I liked the contrasting one with the hook for keys; it looks nice with one of the tins turned the other way!

  11. Melanie says:

    I’m convinced that the world will be conquered with Altoid tins.

  12. Michelle says:

    I love that idea!

  13. Sherry says:

    I love this! such I good idea! I think I’ll try it sometime. It will be perfect for my husband’s side of the office :) he tends to forget a lot.

  14. eirn says:

    These are great! Could you leave the tops on to have a little secret hanging box for maybe earrings or office supplies like rubber bands or paper clips?
    i can’t wait to make this!!!

  15. thedottyone says:

    I sooooo want that mushroom – so cute! Fab noticeboard idea too!

  16. jepagibia says:

    mm… really like it ))

  17. sarah says:

    very cute! great idea!! i’m doing this.

  18. It’s such a cute thing. I love it. Great idea!!

  19. Jaimee says:

    Just thought I’d stop by…it’s been a while but after thumbing through this month’s Real Simple & spotting one of your DIY’s on page 56, I thought I’d come catch up on all your fabulous ideas!!!!

    1. grace says:

      oh wow, which one jaimee?

  20. very cool and creative, great job!!

  21. jackie kersh says:

    i love all your many uses for these tins. what will you come up with next?

  22. kate, you go girl! i am loving all the tin ideas you have. thanks for featuring her, grace!

  23. NiRosha K says:

    I think that’s such a cute idea! I can’t wait to check out the other projects!

  24. anthony teo says:

    very innovative. Fantastic way to “recycle”!

  25. jan says:

    Love this – and I love Melanie’s comment!

  26. .v. says:

    what a simple & fun idea!
    …for all of you mushroom fans out there, the one pictured here is by anne-claire petit (though i’m sure those of you gifted with crocheting skills could whip up something similar pretty easily!)

  27. Aelyn says:

    I always love visiting here for creative inspiration. Great project!

  28. Iva says:

    these are so pretty and colourful! love the vintage feel :)
    I am a huuuuge notemaker:)

  29. Catherine says:

    Argh I love it!!!!

  30. Lovely! I especially like the fact that you can also use it for your keys. I’m always loosing the key for my bike :)

  31. wow! with all these cool altoid projects there’s going to be a shortage on empty tins soon!!! :D

  32. Elizabeth says:

    This is great. And I love that crocheted mushroom, too! I may have to make both. :)

  33. Bree says:

    Such a gorgeous way to keep organized – something I am always trying to do – I think my som would love this as well so he can hide little lego men in there!!

  34. teenie says:

    I love this idea…I have tried it in the past and I rusted the tin, but never thought of painting them or hang them all together. So Cool !!!

  35. What a fab idea! If you like the blue ceramic table lamp in the pictures you can get one from Go to the lighting page and see Hector table lamps.

  36. Rebecca says:

    I love this idea. I’m an Altoid junkie, so I always have extra tins left over. I didn’t realize they were magnetic, so I’m super excited to see what I can create with them now. Thanks so much for the idea.

  37. Sunbreaks says:

    Thanks so much for the great idea Kate! I combined this project with one of your others and covered the tops of 3 Altoids boxes with some gorgeously printed paper from my local art shop. I gave them to my mom on her birthday and she absolutely loves them. We’re going to screw them into the wall so she can hold some of her craft supplies in them. Right now they have lots of little magnets in them so they actually stick to her magnet/white board and are already brightening her studio.

  38. adelina says:

    Love this!!! Thanks for posting and for sharing your great ideas! I’ve always loved collecting tins of all shape and size, but never allowed my imagination to go as far as using them for storage of small things!

  39. Evie says:

    OOH i love this idea, i am going to start this today! Love that toadstool, pretty please can you do a tutorial? I would buy the pattern and im sure others would too!

  40. Deedra says:

    adore this ! so cute and so many things that you could do with this ! wonderful!

  41. Sue K says:

    Wow, you just gave me a great idea! I can mount the tins inside my fabric cabinet (or hang them off a magnetic strip), and put magnets inside each box. Then I can use one for sewing needles, one for beading needles, one for doll needles and so on. No more digging! Yay, you rock! Thanks for the idea.

  42. Jessica Starr says:

    Love this idea!, now I have a question… I am one of those people who think there is a way to use just about everything left over. My question is… I hae to wear earplugs to bed so I can actually get some sleep, the ones I buy are the waterproof kind because they last longer, but they come in clear hard plastic boxes in similar to the Altoids boxes, any ideas for using these besides just putting small things in them in drawers like I do now but find them sliding around all the time? Thanks for the great ideas!

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