Altoids Fly Box

I am hooked on Altoids, cinnamon Altoids to be precise, and here in Newfoundland there is only one place to buy them, Freak Lunchbox downtown. Usually when the girlies have their choice of a Daddy-Date, it involves going to the candy store. They like to pick up a bagful of candy each, and I like to pick up a couple cans of Altoids. If you do a search in Pinterest you can find a million uses for Altoids tins, but this is my favourite use, fly-boxes. Below is how I find it best to make them, what works for me, but Im sure there are a million other ways to do this.

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I made a  template for the top and bottom covers of the Altoids box, I can’t really give any dimensions, because they were made by trial & error, I kept cutting here and there until I made something that fit quite well. I made the template out of craft foam from the dollar store, a sharp pair of scissors are definitely necessary, I have a medium pair of fiskars on my tying bench, I wouldn’t use tying scissors as I’m sure this foam will prematurely dull the blades.

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 I use the template and a pencil to outline some craft foam and then cut out the inserts.

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 I use spray adhesive to stick the foam inserts to the inside of the Altoids tin. I know this adhesive should hold tight, I’ve used the adhesive to hold signs/labels in place outside on offshore il rigs (if it can withstand hurricane force winds / salt water sea spray / and ice, it should be able to withstand dropping the fly-box in the water a couple times.

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My workbench top is well used, me and my Father-in-law have built a lot of projects on this bench (it was the first thing we built when we moved into our home), but I found out the hard way how long the spray adhesive stays tacky on the work surface. I was using my scroll saw to cut out foam shapes for my wife, and of course every piece of foam stuck to my bench and I had to take it off with a palm sander.

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The longer you leave the adhesive on the foam, the more tacky it is when you place your inserts in the Altoids tin, if you want to be able to move it around a bit and centre it,place it quickly, if you think you can centre the foam first time, then let it set. There must be a reaction between the spray adhesive and the foam also, once you spray the foam, the corners will start to curl up. The first time I tried this I had to replace the foam a couple times because the edges were lifted. The solution was to use woodworking clamps and 1”x1” wood to ensure the foam is seated correctly when it cures.

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Place the foam in the cover and secure with more wood and clamps. Play with the cover foam a bit to get it in the correct location, too close to the hinged side and the foam will constantly rub on the bottom-hinge, too close to the other side and the fly-box will not close correctly.

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The foam compression in the fly-box will eventually disappear. I have used woodworking clamps without the wood and it left very deep dents in the foam, after a couple days the dents had disappeared.

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And the finished product is pretty neat, $4 for a tin of Altoids, $2 for a package of 25 sheets of craft foam at the dollar store, and $20 for a big can of spray adhesive. Oh……… and did I mention you get to eat the curiously strong mints???

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