DIY_Preparedness_Altoids_Survival_Tin 2

Ever since I saw an example of these Altoids tins used for a survival kit, I have wanted to make some.  I just LOVE these!

It became a minor obsession. Minor because I slowly began gathering items and ideas for what I wanted in ours. I love how many useful things you can fit in a small container.  I do have to note that not all mint tins are the same size as an Altoids tin. Keep that in mind if you buy a different brand.  You can also buy a non-brand sturdy tin for this project. I found the price for those higher than the Altoids tins, though so I opted to use these.


I looked at a lot of YouTube videos showing all kinds of survival tins of what others had made. I got a lot of great ideas that way and began making my own list of what I wanted.  As I was gathering the items I wanted to put in them, I eventually got a tool box container with small compartments from Wal-Mart to keep them all organized.

Container with all items for kit
I used this compartment container I found in the Wal-Mart tool section to organize items.

Then I began getting items I needed. I got the Altoids tins, mini compasses, mini LED lights, magnifiers, 4″ zip ties, whistles, first aid ointment packets all on Amazon. I picked up things like needles, razor blades, lighters, fishing line, cord, electrical tape, nails, safety pins, matches at stores like Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart.  I made my own little duct tape rolls by carefully rolling about 2- 3 feet of duct tape around a wooden skewer then snipping off the ends.  Some of the little multi-tool pocket knives I had on hand, or bought. I also bought on Amazon these flat metal credit card size multi-tool (my hubs loved these), and I found some decent pocket knives at a survival store for only $1. They appeared good enough for small emergency use and the price was right.

Here is my list of what items I put in our survival tins:

2Band-Aids – Always good to have on hand
1Packet – Hydrocortisone – Great for bug bites
1Packet – Antibiotic cream  – Great for cuts
4Tiny Nails – Fix, hook, or use as a tool
2Small Nails – Fix, hook, or use as a tool
2Small Eye Hooks – Tie line to it, use to set up things
3Safety Pins – Fix something, use for fishing
1Paper Clip – So many uses
2Plastic Zip Ties – secure things together
Magnifier – Look closer at something, make fire
Multi-Tool Blade – Always good to have blade & tools
Whistle – Way to signal for help or find someone
1 ydDuct Tape – So many uses, fix things, make things
2.5′40 lb Cord (wrapped around lighter)
2 yds10 lb Fishing Line (wrapped around matches), use to fish or sew
Small Bic Lighter – Make a fire
Tiny LED Light – See in the dark, look in small areas
Needle – Taped to lid – Use with line for sewing, repairing
Razor Blade – Taped to lid – extra blade, make mini ax
2Hair Bands – secure something together, use for your hair!
8Water Purification Tablets (mini glass container), purify water
Mini Compass (in some not all) – your GPS
Key Ring – attach light and whistle to it

Other items I wanted or thought about putting in but didn’t:  small mirror for signaling, Paper and small pen/pencil, Pain reliever pills, dental floss, and cotton to help start a fire.


I found these little mini glass jars at dollar tree filled with micro beads and decor for decorating painted nails and such. A single pack for a dollar had 8 of these tiny jars.

Making Altoids Tin - DIY Preparedness
I found these micro glass containers at Dollar Tree – perfect small size for my kits!

So I dumped out the contents  and cleaned them, then put in some water purification tablets. They are so small and perfect for my survival tins.

Altoids Tin Bic Lighter - DIY Preparedness
I wrapped cord around my little Bic lighter.

I bought some of the shorter size Bic lighters, and then wrapped them with about 2 and a half feet of 40 lb cord. I taped it with electrical tape. The rope will serve many useful purposes like in trap making, tying a brace, first aid, lashing, etc.

Fishing Line for Altoids Tin Kit - DIY Preparedness
This is a great way to bring your fishing line by tying it to matches.

I used three matches to wrap about 2 yards of 10 lb fishing line to, securing it also with electrical tape. This can be used with the needle for sewing or tying things like a blade to a stick, or a number of other super helpful uses.


  1. First, I put in TWO Band-Aids on the very bottom of the tin.
  1. First Aid Items on the Bottom of Kit - DIY Preparedness
    First aid I put on the bottom

    Then I put in my two first aid ointments (Antibiotic ointment and hydrocortisone cream)

  1. Ointment Packets in Tin - DIY Preparedness
    Mini packets of ointment are perfect for this little kit

    Next I put in my nails and safety pins on the sides, and the eyelets and small nails in the middle. Below that you see the magnifier in a plastic sleeve ready to go in right on top of that.

  1. Magnifyer in Kit - DIY Preparedness
    I put in my magnifier over the nails and pins to keep them together

    I put in the magnifier to on top of the ointments and nails to keep it all in place. Now I’m ready for the rest of the items.

  1. Putting other items in tin kit
    Other items ready to put in

    I put my duct tape on the right side, with the 2 hair bands tucked in to the right of it. Then the two little zip ties at the top.

  1. Making Altoids Survival Tin - DIY Preparedness
    Practice putting items in where they fit best

    The whistle goes on the top and the tiny jar of water purification tablets fits snug between the whistle and the duct tape. The bic lighter goes on the bottom left with the matches in-between the lighter and the duct tape. The pocket knife goes in-between the lighter and whistle. Then the little LED light on top.

Lighter and LED inside Tin
I put the whistle, knife and lighter on top

Some other versions I put together had a smaller pocket knife/multi-tool which gave me room to fit the little compass on top of it. (See image at top that shows the compass one)

  1. Next, I use electrical tape to fasten my razor blade and needle to the underside of the lid.
  1. Taping Blade and Pin on Lid
    Electrical tape is great because you can use it later if needed as well

    See how nicely it is taped on and you can easily see the outline and recognize what it is.

  1. Use Electrical Tape
    Electrical tape is perfect for this

    I put the key ring on the very top like so.

  1. Final touches on Altoids Tin Kit - DIY Preparedness
    With the key ring on top, it is now done

    Close it and it’s done! I usually keep a thick rubber band around it to keep it from accidentally opening and the rubber band provides yet another tool. For my family, I put them in zip lock bags before putting them in the bug out bags, to keep it all protected in case the bag got wet.

Altoids Tin Kit Closed - DIY Preparedness
Make sure it closes nicely

There you have it. A great little survival tin!

I was going to have us put these together as a family activity, but I was so excited one night that I stayed up and put them together myself.  However, the next day, we sat at the kitchen table as a family and everyone got to see and handle theirs (I wrote names on the top).  We took everything out and talked about how we could use it, and then we practiced putting it all back together. It was a fun little family activity and now the kids are excited to have one in their 72 hour kit.

I also love the idea of using these as gifts and even for cub scouts or boy scouts. I’m also thinking about making a little essential oil emergency tin. They are not only super useful but they are also just pain cool!

, , ,

About Author