DIY Magnetic Learning Tins

Use Altoid tins as a work area in your classroom! What child won't LOVE opening and closing the lid ?---it's a fun, treasure-like space to show your work!

Items to Gather:

  • Altoid Tins (request them from parents, relatives, etc!)
  • Scrapbook paper (regular...not cardstock)
  • Super 77 spray adhesive (Scotch brand--scrapbook aisle @ Walmart)
  • Sand Paper
  • Ribbon 3/8" wide
  • E-6000 Glue (Scrapbook aisle @ Walmart)


1.  Choose your scrapbook paper. You can get 2 tins out of 1 piece of 12x12.

2.  Place the tin on the paper, and trace around the outside (bottom) of the tin 4 times. This will cover the outside lid, inside lid, outside bottom, and inside bottom of the tin.
3.   Cut out all the rectangles that you traced. Don't worry if it's not a perfect fit. You will soon trim & sand the edges.

4.  Adhere your paper to top of the tin (where it says Altoids), and to the bottom (where the nutrition facts are). You will want to spray outside! This product is SUPER sticky and will leave a residue wherever you are.
5.  Let it dry for 5-7 minutes or so. Next, trim any of the edges if they are hanging over. Then, going in one direction, sand the edges of the paper to remove that "clean cut" look, and it will also help the paper to not peel off. This removes any opportunity for edges to lift.

6.  Repeat the adhesive process for the inside of the tin. You will want to trim and do a "dry fit" before gluing. The inside of the tin is smaller---so, trim first!

7.  Cut a pieces of ribbon to fit around the tin. Put a light amount of E-6000 glue on the back of the ribbon and place it around the outside edge of the tin. Close the lid of the tin before you adhere your ribbon to ensure that the ribbon is not in the way of opening/closing the tin. 

8.  Add any embellishments or "bling" found in the scrapbook aisle if you wish.  

Other Tips/Suggestions:

* You do not have to decorate the tin at all. You can simply use the tin as a magnetic space!
* Use for storing bobby pins, band-aids, flash drives, ear buds, etc.
* Other student uses: letter match, number recognition, simple words, number sentences---the possibilities are endless!
*Make 6-12 of these and use in a center or small group. Simply have your numbers, words, letters, etc. printed, laminated, and in the tin using a bit of magnetic tape on the back...then each box will be ready for a child to complete the work inside. This is great for kinesthetic & visual learners!
*You can also differentiate the work inside each tin, but the materials will be similar so that students don't notice or worry about, or want to do what another child is doing!

Use for number recognition

Use for building 2-3 letter words


~ Keri

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