Alright. I’m a mint fan. As a mint fan I’ve been disappointed with the tins of Altoids mints that I have purchased over the last few years. As I’ve stated before they’ve been curiously weak. But being a mint fan I tried a couple of the new flavors that I saw in the store. Creme de Menthe, which tastes like the original but is artificially flavored, and Spearmint. I enjoyed both of them as they were strong and I will be getting some more. That brings me to the eternal question. What to do with an empty Altoids tin?

I’m a fan of boxes, tins, and containers because you can put things in them. That beats having things hang around willy-nilly getting all mixed up with each other. Altoids tins are particularly cool little boxes too. Hinged and metal they are a far cry from the disposable plastic and cardboard of other mints and candies. The only problem is that they are really too small to do anything with.

Sure I have a few tins lying around with small art supplies in them like spare pen tips, little erasers or some such but most of my tins have been thrown into the recycle bin over the years. I’ve even seen Altoids tins made into iPod cases but I’ve never had any inclination to do that. I’ve never found much use for those empty tins.

So now I’m going to try out a new idea for those empty tins. I’m going to paint them. Not the outsides but the inside metal bottom. I only came up with this idea because in my eternal quest for drawing tools I noticed that Sharpie sells oil based markers that are made for drawing on any surface including metal. I’ve never seen these particular Sharpies in any store so I never knew of them but I just put an order in with an art supply web site.

I’m not even sure what I’ll paint on the inside bottom of these boxes. They should be secretive though. That would be cool. I mean, who would look at the bottom of an empty Altoids tin? If I were a member of some secret society, cult, religion, or political party we could all have secret symbols painted on the inside of tins that we only showed to each other to establish our bona fides. How cool would that be? The tins even squeak a little as you open them adding drama to the whole scene. If you want it to be really secret than throw some mints on top of the painting.

People would be more likely to use the tins as frames though. You could open the tin like a book and set it on a shelf so that the picture on the inside bottom is showing. That might make a nice objet d’art but I like the secret society symbols better.

If this were, like, 1841 I could paint nuddie pictures in the tins. Men with fancy facial hair and pipes would show each other their tin collections as they sat in each others dens and giggled because their wives didn’t know what the tins really were. Nothing like getting one over on the wife to get you through the day. Of course the internet has the nuddie picture market all sewn up now so that’s out the window.

My new paint markers arrive this week and I have a couple of empty tins lying around. I’m still throwing ideas against the wall but I’m going to have to figure out something. There has to be some use for these stupid things. And, yeah I know, college kids put their weed in them. That doesn’t help me so you don’t need to tell me your college weed stories.