Goodwill Store Find: Tin can for a Tic Tac Toe Board Game

I love my local Goodwill store. It’s where I de-stash things when I purge my house. Of course, I only donate clean and unbroken items but more often then not, I find things that are slightly dented, worn, and torn. I cringe when I see the ‘quality’ of items that people donate but that’s ok because that’s what I buy to repurpose to make things with…like a Tic Tac Toe board game.

I had a brilliant idea of turning those non-recyclable plastic bottle caps – Yep, the same ones that I made these Birds Nest Magnets for Etsy – to magnetic Tic Tac Toe pieces for a travel-friendly magnetic Tic Tac Toe board game.

The game pieces were easy but short of buying a piece of sheet metal, cutting it and covering it myself, I didn’t know how to make the board. I contacted someone who made magnetic message boards and I could have used her already made, primed, and painted perfect boards. But that would go against my principle of reusing materials and repurposing them. So, I was on a mission to find a reclaimable sheet metal that can become the “board” part of the board game but I was stuck.

Sometimes, it’s the totally unexpected places where you’ll find that diamond in the rough. While dropping something off at a Goodwill store in the neighborhood, I spotted this slightly dented but clean white tin can with little green and red flowers painted on the outside, tossed up on a table. It was a perfect size for my board and it was in perfect condition for my purpose. You know my philosophy of repurposing a material only if it’s not so perfect in entirety. In fact, I wouldn’t buy something that’s perfectly fine only to  turn it into something else for sake of repurposing. In my opinion, it’s not recycling, when someone else could have used it as a whole item. That’s being irresponsible. Sorry, I digress…back to the tin can.

The bottom part of the tin can was a little dented but there was no smell or stain. I bought it – for 50 cents! – and started working on my game board right away. I covered the lid with vintage cotton linen  and covered the bottom with a sheet of cork to make it into a non-skid surface. I even made its own drawstring bag.

The bottom part of what was a discardable tin can is now my fabric scrap collector. It found a better purpose than sitting on a Goodwill store table, looking sad.

The Tic Tac Toe Game Board turned out better than expected and I was so thrilled to make a toy that kids of all ages can enjoy. In fact, I still play Tic Tac Toe with my kids and the time spent on trying to beat one another is one of the best memories we’ll have. Every time I play the game, it brings back fond memories of my own childhood. It beats any electronic games that are available today. This Tic Tac Toe board game is timeless; no electricity required, no battery required, no assembly required, will travel without losing pieces, and very “organic”.

What is your favorite Goodwill find?