My sister is in love with cute office supplies.
I think this may be the result of keeping her desk far cleaner than I do, but that's just a theory.
My first step: buying a empty candy tin from The I.D.E.A. Store . They said they go through lots of small tins.
I forgot to take a before picture, but it looked like this , only the whole lid was covered with the logo for whatever brand of candy it used to contain. I hot-glued magnets to the bottom of the tin in order to better contain the paperclips.
My first idea was to cover the tin with a cool, black-and-white floral fabric, using hot glue as an adhesive. But the lid fits so tightly onto the tin that once I added fabric, I couldn't get it to shut. At this point, I took a couple of months off to think about my next move.
I then decided that spray paint would be my best option for covering the ugly design on top of the tin. My sister requested copper, but I thought it would look really nice if half was copper and half was a bright white.
That would have worked, but it just wasn't snazzy enough to complement her other office supplies, including the cute, colorful clip-tabs  and saucy Knock-Knock notepads  I got her for her birthday.
Saturday morning, I finally woke up with a plan. I would use an "A" (my sister's first initial) from the set of plastic letters we've repurposed (I think maybe they were originally used in retail, perhaps?) as a pattern. (We used the same letters as patterns for our homemade stockings  this winter.)
I took the "A", placed it on top of the tin and found it was the perfect size. So I traced around with with a pencil and mixed up some kelly green and yellow acrylic paint to make the perfect shade of green to match my sister's other office supplies.
And then, I couldn't find a paintbrush, so I tried using a Q-tip instead. Bad move. The paint went on blotchy and ugly, and I didn't get very far before I wiped it off and rethought my plan ... again.
The plastic "A" looked so cute on the tin that I realized I could probably just find a way to permanently attach it (there are more of the same letter in our set, so that wasn't a problem). I gave it a quick rubdown with sandpaper and painted it, copper too.
When it dried, I attached it to the tin with a thin layer of Gorilla Glue and clamped it for about 45 minutes.
The result is exactly what I was hoping for - it's unique and homemade, but it looks classy enough to sit on my sister's desk at work. I think she was pleased - especially because she finally has a place to store her paperclips.