Welcome once again to the 12 Days of Strange! Is this ornament extravaganza cool or what?
I had the cutest idea in the antique store the other day: Vintage cocoa tins, hanging on the tree. Adorable, right? They were, too, except for the part where they cost $29 freaking dollars a pop! In pure frustration, I started picking up every tin in the store that wasn’t locked in a glass case. Lame! Every single one of them! Take this “Family Nail Kit,” which is beautifully banged up but seriously so lame! No one wants to hang that on a Christmas tree!
This is why I love altering things, though. Altering lets us take lame things and make them way more awesome. We can save money, and we can gain control over the the look, the name, even the cocoa slogan. Score!
Fabulous, right? The label is straight off my printer, but the rest of the tin sells the aging techniques and makes the whole thing look pretty darn real!
You can make your own vintage cocoa tin – and you can make it cute, creepy, cranky, or anything in between! Here’s what you need:
- A lame tin from the antique mall (or an Altoids tin that you’re willing to distress within an inch of its minty life)
- A vintage image
- Adhesive (glue stick, gel medium, whatever)
- Your favorite aging materials (ink, paint, watercolors, sprays)
- Something to give your label shine (e.g. Krylon spray OR this combo: VersaMark stamp pad + clear embossing powder + embossing gun)
- Something to give your label metallic glint (e.g. gold and copper gel pens, metallic paint)
- Drill or Dremel
- Ornament hanger or top from a glass ornament you’re not using
- Emery board
- Ruler, scissors, and pencil
To start, measure the top / front of your tin. Track down a vintage image, or for an extra personal touch, find an old family photo. Using a graphics program (or even Word), create a front for your tin. Before you print, make sure it’s going to be a little bigger than the tin itself, especially if the tin has rounded edges.
Here’s the label I created:
Lay the label face down on your table and trace the tin on the back of the paper, then cut it out.
Don’t worry if the label is a big for the top of the tin. As long as the text fits and you like the look, you’re good to go. Adhere the label to the tin, then sand the edges with your emery board, working in one direction only: up-to-down (not side-to-side). If the paper tears a little when you do this, don’t stress. It will add to the vintage look.
If you’re going to sell this as a metal surface, you need to give it some shine.
- If you’re embossing, cover the surface with VersaMark, then sprinkle on the powder and work that heat gun. (This is what I did.)
- If you’re spraying, step outside for a sec. Krylon smells worse than elves’ socks after a 36-hour shift!
When the tin is cool and/or dry, use your favorite distressing products and add metallic touches around the label as desired.
When you’re happy with the overall look, get out your drill or Dremel. Measure to find the center, then make a mark on either side with your pencil. Drill on those marks and insert an ornament hanger or the top from a glass ball ornament you’re not using.
Voila! Now you have a cranky Christmas cocoa tin that’s ready to hang on your tree or give to a friend. You can even tuck a gift card or some cocoa mix inside! Do put the cocoa in a baggie, though. No one likes cocoa that tastes like family nails.