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Morris Library crafters repurpose Altoids tins as part of adding program variety

MORRIS – There are about 90 mints in a 1.76-ounce Altoids tin, according to its product labeling.

But when repurposed as a craft item, the tin can elude its demise in recycling bins to take on a new life – on display in one’s home as a work of art.

Seven women gathered Tuesday evening at the Morris Area Public Library for a “make it, take it, altered-tin shadow box” craft project, as organizers called it.

Each participant was supplied a craft kit with an Altoids tin, decorative paper, magenta-colored wired tinsel and images of hearts and angels to remodel the tins how they saw fit. While all tins featured the same materials, they all looked different once everyone incorporated their own creative touches.

But Marilyn Johnson was thinking ahead. She brought in pictures of her grandson and granddaughter to cut out and place in the small tin. She finished the altered tin with a picture of her grandson in the center and will finish her granddaughter tin at home.

“My grandson is in Denver and my granddaughter is in Montana, so I don’t get to see them often,” Johnson said. “I’ll be sending these their way for Valentine’s Day.”

Johnson was the only crafter to bring her own pictures, which proved difficult to fit in the tin, but the effort proved rewarding in the end. Several crafters, such as Catherine Schmidt, said they will alter more tins at home.

“It’s fun to do it here and sort through the idea so you have a better idea of what to do on the next one,” Schmidt said. “I may add buttons or broken jewelry as accents.”

Crafters traced the various shapes of the tins onto decorative paper, cut the paper out and then placed it on the inside and outside of the tins. They also could add banners to the top that read “Forget me not.”

Although they all had the same tools and supplies at their disposal, Morris
Library’s adult programming director Sarah Fisher said she was happy with the diversity among the finished products.

With profits from the library’s Used Books and Holiday Decorations sale, Fisher said she is aiming to not only a boost the adult program offerings, but has already stocked up on what she calls “non-perishable craft items.” Easels, brushes and glue guns were a few of the purchased items. The supplies will help the library continue to offer a variety of crafting workshops.

It was the latest adult programming event at the library, which is expanding its offerings in all age areas, Fisher said.

“It seems like there’s so many more creative offerings for all age groups,” Schmidt said. “There are creative types of people putting an emphasis on these programs.”

Fisher said she plans at least three adult events a month, and programs of all varieties and for all ages are taking off.

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