How to Make a Picture Frame from an Altoids Tin

Making the Altoids Tin Picture Frame

With the stand attached, the Altoids tin album and frame can display photos vertically or horizontally.
With the stand attached, the Altoids tin album and frame can display photos vertically or horizontally.
Courtesy Kate Pruitt/Design*Sponge

What makes Kate Pruitt's Altoids tin picture frame so cool is that its purpose is actually twofold. Attach a favorite photo to the front and the tin serves as a picture frame. The box has enough space inside to hold several more pictures as well.

To make the photo frame and album, Pruitt first disassembles the Altoids tin by removing the screws from the hinges. This makes decorating the tin easier, but hang onto everything, as you'll want to reassemble the tin once you're finished. Using Mod Podge glue and sealer, Pruitt attaches decorative paper to the sides, inside and top of the tin. She seals it with more clear-drying Mod Podge and follows the same steps for the bottom of the tin.

As the glue and sealer are drying, Pruitt creates a stand for the album and frame out of heavy but pliable cardboard, like the kind used to make a cereal box. She traces the shape of the stand -- you've seen them before, attached to the back of other picture frames -- and cuts out two copies, gluing them together for added stability. Using more decorative paper, Pruitt glues and seals the entirety of the stand.

Once everything's dry, make sure that the top of the stand is bent where it meets the back of the Altoids tin. This allows you to move the stand away from the tin when it's supporting the frame and move the stand toward the frame while the stand is being stored. Once the stand is complete, Pruitt hot glues it to the back of the tin. To protect the stand from damage while it's being toted around, she also hot glues one side of a Velcro assembly to the back of the stand's bottom and the corresponding side to the back of the Altoids tin. All of have to do now is reassemble the tin and trim your photos to fit your new album.

Because of the tin's unusual size -- 3.75 inches (9.52 centimeters) long by 2 inches (5.08 cm) wide -- you'll need to crop your photos a bit. Pruitt says using digital photos printed out to a size that already fits the Altoids tin makes the process easier. Once you've trimmed your photos, support and matte the photos using paper backing. Choose your favorite and attach it to the front of the Altoids tin with two small magnets, and you've got yourself an Altoids tin picture frame and photo album.

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More Great Links


  • Pruitt, Kate. "DIY project: Kate's tin travel frame." Design*Sponge. April 29, 2009.
  • Pruitt, Kate. Personal interview. June 29, 2009.