How to Make a Memory Tin Box

Use mica powders and polymer clay to transform a mint tin into a keepsake.
Related To:

Materials and Tools:



empty mint/candy tin
polymer clay
pasta maker
unmounted background rubber stamps
acrylic roller/brayer
tire-protectant spray
oven or toaster oven
mica powders
strong adhesive
metallic paints
waxed paper
liquid crystal glaze
sponge brush
craft knife
decorative paper
photos printed to size
tacky tape
decorative fabric



1. Unhinge your tin with a screwdriver. Create a template of the top of the lid by tracing around it on a piece of paper and cutting the shape out. Set aside to use later.

2. Wipe the lid with alcohol to remove any oils. Sand the lid to give it a tooth for clay to grip.

3. To condition and soften the polymer clay, run it through the pasta maker at the highest setting, and run it through the machine at progressively smaller settings until you reach the desired thickness. Keep it thick enough to impress a rubber stamp onto it.

4. Lay the clay on the table and spray lightly with tire-protectant spray. Rub all over the surface with your finger to ensure that your stamp doesn't stick to the clay.

5. Lay the clay on top of the plastic patterned template and, beginning at one end, push with some pressure along the entire surface of the clay with the acrylic brayer, being careful to keep the clay from rolling up over the brayer.

6. Use the template to trace and cut with a craft knife around the embossed clay, remembering that you'll be placing the clay on the surface of the lid.

7. Brush a layer of liquid polymer clay onto the lid as glue. Place this piece of clay on top of the lid and gently push down. Make sure there are no air pockets, and make this clay piece as flat as possible against the lid. To ensure that the clay doesn't pop off, use your finger to bevel the edges of the clay down and around the perimeter of the lid.

8. Using a paintbrush, rub the surface with mica powders of your choice. This will make the stamped indentations pop.

9. Bake this piece according to the manufacturer's directions, for about 20 minutes. Let cool.

10. Put a layer of tacky tape around the un-clayed edge of the tin top. Roll the tin in micro-beads.

11. Paint the outside bottom portion of the tin with metallic paint and a sponge brush and let dry.

12. Adhere decorative fabric to the insides of the top and bottom of the tin.

13. Use a strong-bond adhesive to add buttons or metal embellishments to the lid. You can also add beads according to your theme. Consider adding beads or dice as feet to the bottom of the tin, depending which way it will be displayed.

14. Adhere photos sized to fit the tin to cardboard pieces also cut to size. Make sure the pieces can stack and still fit inside the box.

15. Lay the cardboard photo pieces on top of a piece of ribbon about a foot long, allowing about ¼-inch between pictures.

16. Adhere the pieces to the ribbon. Turn the ribbon over and add decorative paper cut to size to cover the exposed ribbon.

17. Depending on which way you choose to pull your photos out of the box, glue either the first or the last cardboard piece into the bottom portion of your tin.

18. Trim the ribbon so that a small bit hangs out of the tin as a makeshift handle. Close the lid snugly. After some use, the shape of the tin will conform to the ribbon.

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