Finally, the followup to my second challenge!

Previously, I challenged our viewers to come up with good uses for those stacks of tin cans. The ones accumulated from Altoids and other such mints. For the pack rat in you, you can't just throw them away. So.. here is our reader feedback. Replies have been edited for readability, and a few email addresses left off for the more legally challenged replies. =) Please remember, this contest was in good fun, and the replies are possibly works of fiction.

My comments are in italics. - Jericho

michael (dietc0ke[at]

I use the tin can as a soap container. Fortunately the brand of soap I use is thin enough to fit inside. You can't expect a bar of zest to fit in a altoid box, unless it's been used approximately 3-7 times. At least that's my guess.

Many people wrote in with the following idea:

hyperponic (hyperponic[at]

Dunno about you guys, but I've got lots of random computer stuff lying around: screws, cables/connectors (many small enough to fit), twisty ties (for the cables), all that stuff gets stored pretty nicely in those lil' tins.

Vitaly McLain

Tin cans are great storage places. One thing to store in them in powdered Drano and shards of broken glass. Try it. Oh, and alluminum foil. Yeah. Put that in there too.

You can also use them to store various powdered mind-controlling substances.

"Is that cocaine young man?"
"No officer, it's just crushed Altoids."
"Oh. Sorry."

One of the most popular answers:


You can put your weed in it.

Steve Phillips

Those cans! I love them and can't bring myself to throw them away. A good solution, if you have a disposable surplus, is to mail them to friends, relatives, your rabi - whoever - at christmas time, neatly wrapped, containing your toenail clippings.

Cancer Omega (gun_totin_maniac[at]

I use all my mint tin-cans for earthquake preparedness and camping supplies. The tins are great for storing (and keeping dry) wooden matchsticks, water purification supplies, and small collections of medical supplies (bandages, antibacterial ointment, ibuprofen tablets, and so on).

They're also good for holding bullets.

Keith G (reptile[at]

#1. as a saturday night live skit once stated : "you put your weed in there"

#2. put a mixture of catnip and tuna chunks in it, duct tape it shut, and give it to your cat to keep it busy for a while.

#3. fill em with black powder and shoot at them. ( one of my favorites )

#4. sell them on ebay

damn one paragraph limit. and I didnt even use valid sentence structure. shit

So it's more like four words..

Apocalyse Dow (acopalyse[at]

One word: recycle it for money

For the optimist in you...

Steve Bishop (drummer_or_bass[at]

Place your separate hopes and dreams into individual tin cans and then when each hope and dream is crushed do the same to the tin can.

opaldoll (opaldoll[at]

You could stick them all together using the Bic pens that have run out of ink that clutter every desk drawer and then waterproof the whole structure using the ends of chapstick that everyone throws away and make boats so that people from oppressed third world nations can flee to America.

the Ark0s (ark0s[at]

With a little time, some fabric, and an arc-welder, you could make your self a real-life, state-of-the-art, batman-style utility belt! The mint cans would be just about the right size for LAN/Modem cards, multi-tools, short cables, spare change, smokes, and other things you might wish to 'stash' on your person. With some flat-black spray paint, you could even put the damn thing into hacker/goth stealth-mode (and be the envy of everyone at your local con).

Phillip Zygmunt (phillzigg[at]

I think i have the perfect idea for your tin cans...why not make a "133t haX0r K1t" for all the going postal kids? toss in a few pieces of string, an official "133t HaX0r" membership card (could make that out of old AOL disks, use #456) and of course the secret weapon, a fun yun onion ring. Charge the little pissants about $15 with a no money back gaurentee and well you can make fmore $$ to buy more mints and then more get the picture.

Evil Genius

I find that the small cans are excellent for storing my victims in bite-size chunks. The Altoids tins are good for those pesky fingers and toes.

Marcus Nelson

The tins are good for keeping your favorite recreational pharmaceuticals dry and tasty. BUT make sure that you keep your 'mints' separate from your mints. Nothing like that 'Uh-oh' when you realize that the 3-4 penguin mints were from the wrong tin......

Good night sweet prince.

chuck farley (iluz_shun[at]

Tin man costume for the upcoming All Hallows Eve.....

Collector cases for wood splinters when the feds kick in the doors of script kiddies.

Business card holder.

Donate them to the town of Walkerton, Ontario so when the residents' teeth start falling out from the ( .gov approved) viral-infected waters.....

Nicholas Martin (nerves[at]

Make images of maybe 30 different facial expressions, and put on inside each box, so when it is opened, the expression is revealed. You can put on on your door each day depending on how you feel. So people can go up to your door, and open the box before they open the door, so they know what to expect.

Or you could stuff a dead mouse in one and send it to someone who likes altoids.

Joel Baumgartner (robincorgan[at]

Give them to Jericho so he can have a nice, little nifty place to stash all the cigarette lighters he has stolen/will steal. Or you could paint an logo on them and give them out at DefCon.

Wow, this is a hell of a response...

bob (publisher[at]

Tin cans make excellent flower habitat.

Individually, they can provide an armor plated environment for one small plant.

If you lash several of them together with a couple of turns of duck tape you can create a flower cluster, a knot of flowers as it were.

By strategically placing some cans in an inverted position to be used as spacers, you can control the shape of the cluster.

Using wooden dowels as bracing you can place some cans above the flowers (those having been pre-drilled with holes), insert water and thereby ceate artifical rain.

If some cans in the cluster are filled with water rather than dirt, they provide excellent habitat for Beta (siamese fighting fish). The opacity of the can is a non-threatening environ for those fish (who want only to attack others of their kind.

If the above principle is carried to an extreme and enclosed in a large box made entirely of cans except for a plate of glass at the top and eastern exposure, a tin can greenhouse will result, a mini-rain forest if you will.

Decorate the perimeter with hubcaps and you have organic>inorganic> urban art.

Ophelia (ophelia[at]

I think you should just bury them in your backyard beside the 4,000,893 AOL cds and the remains of the unlucky Jehovah's Witnesses.

Greg Miller (GMMiller[at]

I was thinking you could make them into an undercover survival kit. Have some small lockpicks, fishing line, chip from electronic greeting card w/box tones, small paper with several cc#s, duct tape pieces, a pack of peanut butter & cheese crackers (emergency use only), and an acoustic coupler. (For those times you're being framed and you have to destroy a virus and the only thing around is this bank of payfones that start to individually rotate counter-clockwise when it gets intense.) That's my $.02

shatter (shatter[at]

cat frisbees. the normal ones are too big for them.

cat bowls. for when you want your babies to have minty fresh breath.

raccoon attracters. they love shiny things.

platforms for shoes. now you can be the tall drink of water you always dreamed of becoming.


non-smoker-pisser-offer. you have to use them as an ashtray first, then
a) throw ash filled tins at them
b) refill with mints

dog entertainer. theyll play with anything.

baby entertainer. see above.

Kurt Weigel (rangerweigel[at]

1. To house the last bullet you'll ever use.

2. To house the condoms you'll NEVER use.

3. To provide needed shelter to the spare car key you won't be able to get to because your house keys are on the same key ring as your car key.

4. To imprison the overweight out-of-shape cockroach who eats too well because you never wash the dishes (this is the case in my apartment anyway), and wasn't able to run fast enough.

5. To be used as an alter (or casket) for your first 286 CPU that isn't living anymore.

Tiresias (tiresias[at]

This may sound a bit off the wall, but boxes like this are just right to build little very low power HF radios in. Hams call these QRP rigs, and they can be a lot of fun. During World War II, radios like these were used by resistance workers. Somehow, I think there is a spiritual kinship between them and us. Hams were (and still are) the original "hackers", and I think anyone who wants to be a true "hacker" needs to be just as comfortable with hardware as software. There's a whole big world out there in the RF spectrum.

michael hofer (featheredfrog[at]

For me, it's simple: Project Boxes. Small containers for neat little hardware hacks. For instance:

One, with two AA batteries and a 555 timer circuit inside, driving a mini-LED that winks very briefly every seven seconds or so. Epoxied shut, crazyglued to a lab bench. Should run for months.

How about replacing the LED with a chirper? Result: an electronic cricket that chirps only briefly enough to be annoying, but not long/often enough to be found. Put one, say, above a mark's desk, above the ceiling tiles... :)

You may get the notion that I believe that a bit of disorder in a highly-ordered space is healthy. where is that video-scrambler circuit?