DIY : OLD & NEW KEYS
First of all, apologies for the dead last week. Our work is trying to play spoilsport with our love for blogging. But fear not, we shall fight through his one too ! So sitting and wondering about our next DIY blogpost, staring at all the items lying on the desk thinking what we should do. There’s that wallet, the penstand, the blah and blah… and then some more blah… and car keys… and…. wait, KEYS !
So the subject of this post is blocked – We’re giving our keys a makeover ! First up, the kind of keys around us – There are the house keys, cupboard keys, car keys, random door keys, suitcase lock keys, random lock keys, hidden treasure keys – and then some more. Once you start spotting them around you, the first thought in your head is – HOW & WHY do I have so many keys ? A lot of them are no longer useful or used and there are some so so very important that you cannot imagine life without them (picture yourself sitting at your doorstep without a key).
So we’re going to recommend some ideas we collected through various awesome blogs that will either help you make your keys more useful or prettier, or recycle them into a completely new product !
THE FIRST KIND : PAMPERING YOUR USEFUL KEYS
KEYS & COLOR-CODING
First things first, reach out for the most beloved paint bottles. Paint is the easiest way of giving your objects a new lease of life – color instantly pops up your old goods and makes them absolutely brand-new. We found this awesome Tutorial by A Bubbly Life that explains how to go about painting your keys. Two important points to note for this technique – one, most bloggers seem to use Nailpaint (I guess it must be the most durable paint) and two, this can make your life much easier. How ? Imagine color coding your keys – you’ll never have to fumble through the whole stack to find the right one. A really neat organizing tip !
KEYS & PRINTS/PATTERNS
A variation on the color-coding we spoke of above, you can create fancy key tops using assorted prints & tapes. Creme de la Craft gives excellent tips for accurate attachment of printed papers to your keys. This one is going to take a bit longer than a simple coat of paint, but isn’t it so much prettier ! It will really make your keys bunch so beautiful. I have a feeling the girls will be much more inclined towards this one !
KEYS & SPARKLE
The sparkly variation of the above ones, bring a bit of glam into your key bunch with pointers from this awesome DIY Tutorial by FactoryDirectCraft. Important pointer – don’t be stingy with the glue, and be very carefully about where you place your keys initially. The Glitter is bound to dust off initially as not of all it gets fixed with equal intensity. So if you put it in your pocket of bag too soon, you might land up lots of glitter in the wrong places ! Definitely the most recommended fix for all the teen diva’s and glamour girls.
KEYS & GLOW-IN-THE-DARK
Ohmygod ! If I would have found this idea in my childhood, I think I could have saved some 4952 hours of finding my mother’s keys in the house. Amy over at Mod Podge Rocks tried this experiment with her keys to good results, so you can definitely take some sound advice from her. Sigh, I’m still stuck on the brilliance of this idea – just close the lights and spot those always-missing keys !
KEYS & THEMES
Using Polymer clay, you can give your key tops a fancy new makeover and even a new theme ! Absolutely love the middle key – That cupcake is so awesome in its detailing. It even makes your coding process more fun – how about a food item for your kitchen drawer keys, little apparel pieces for your wardrobe keys, a cartoon car or horn for your car keys and so on. Read on more about this technique at The Is Gallery blog.
That sums up all the ways you can enhance your regular keys while still keeping them for their original use. There are ofcourse many ways to enhance the whole bunch by customizing various kinds of keychains etc, but for keys itself, you have to stay controlled with your creativity because any damage to the key turn part will actually make your key quite useless. Which brings us to our second kind of DIY projects with keys – giving new life to the ones not in use.
THE SECOND KIND : RECYCLING YOUR OLD KEYS
JEWELRY & TRINKETS FROM KEYS
I think keys and specially the vintage kinds have become very popular at all accessories stores of late. Instead of spending a bomb on them in the stores, you can actually fashion your own jewelry piece – be it a necklace, bracelet, earrings or ring. There are lots of great tutorials for converting your old keys into jewelry, but the ones I loved most were : Maize Hutton (image on left) who dipped the complete key in nailpolish and fashioned them assorted fancy strings and laces. And P.S. I Made This, who worked her magic on Fossil keys for a creative color effect – love how she detailed the key with small color components making it look so finished and store-bought.
DECORATIVE NECKLACES FROM KEYS
Another cool painting DIY Tutorial is available at PlanB by Anna Evers who teaches you some clever ways for spicing up the key by color blocking. Is it just me or does the key end actually look a woman in a red skrit with red boots ? Haha ! Anyways, I like how Anna has mixed up colors and permanent markers for a detailed effect. You can add multiple keys in different patterns to your necklace for a bunch look too.
Another value addition for your DIY key projects, you can play with the cutesy ribbons, buttons, charms and laces to give your jewelry piece a distinct look. Its a simple addition in terms of the time it will take you, but it will surely add a lot of value to your project. I picked this trick from Her Library Adventures who added this touch to make her accessories match perfectly with her clothing.
WATCH BRACELET FROM KEYS
Absolutely loved this recycling idea for keys ! Recycloanalyst is selling her cool design through her Folksy Shop for £18 and I think its an absolute steal. Mixing up old keys collected over the years by her husband, she molds keys for a comfortable strap. If you willing to go the DIY route or are unable to order, then I would guess you find a way to melt the key enough to mold it but not melt it. Clasps can be found at the hardware store to finish your watch project.
BAGS & FASTENERS FROM KEYS
So what if the Cloth bags are given the stepmother treatment by lock manufacturers. Give your cloth bags & pouches their own little key security by adding a small key with a tassel. Embroider fake keyholes and buttonholes and hang a key to give a complete effect. Annekata has an efficient Tutorial explaining the nuances of this concept.
GARLANDS & STRINGS FROM KEYS
A simple concept to add so much cheer to your room. You can make a simple string of assorted keys painted in different colors and hang it anywhere in your room to give the wall some character. Kat Schoen shows you exactly how. I would even recommend taking this concept a step further and drape assorted key garlands with candid Polaroids on strings for a pretty and interesting wall – will surely grab everyone’s attention !
WALL FRAMES FROM KEYS
Here’s an easy way to turn the junk keys in the house into antique art ! Just assemble a lot of assorted keys and place them haphazardly or in a pattern and get them framed in antique wood. You can use a vintage paper background or fabrics (try tea-stain dyeing if you want a worn-out effect). RIchard Christie brings his expertise of framing to the project shown above, putting together iron keys for adorning the walls.
DECORATIVE WALL FRAMES FROM KEYS
Another alternative to key wall frames – you can source a pretty vintage frame or tray, add some nice patterned paper or fabric to the background and mount your keys. For homes requiring color, this is a perfect addition. Use paint enamel or nail paint to achieve the desired colors. I like how they have popped the blue frame with a green background. Choose your colors as per your room decor. I found this image at Design Sponge, posted by Kate Pruitt but couldn’t trace a tutorial sadly.
WOODEN KEY HOLDER FROM KEYS
Perfectly in sync with a rugged raw look, you can recycle your keys back to their roots – I mean, using keys to decorate your key holder. Using raw pine wood or any rustic cut wooden piece with uneven paint coats, give the plate a thematic touch by fastening some vintage keys to decorate the holder. The image above is an Etsy listing by CastawaysHall but the item is sadly sold out. Consider reaching out to them or DIYing your own take on this !
COAT & ASSORTED HANGER BOARD FROM KEYS
Taking forward the theme of holders and hangers, I found some pretty cool key references. The Image on the left is from Sierra Club that turns mystery keys in your drawers (the ones you have no idea about) into hooks to hang your precious possessions. The keys are molded to turn upwards and welded into a raw wood plank for creating a special item holder. The Image on the right is by La Caixa Verda, who uploaded this on Pinterest. Using a flat crate mounted on the wall, little keys are fixed akin to pegs to support your coats & clothing – will definitely stop everyone in the doorway !
WIND CHIME FROM KEYS
Taking your keys outdoors, I found this really bright and chirpy windchime idea using the old keys. Absolutely love the dash of color added to both the branch and the keys – and even love the idea of introducing nature into the design by using a branch. You can dip your keys in as many colors and place them evenly in length for a little tinkling sound whenever the wind blows. Cheap Crafting shows you how to go about making your own wind chime.
WIND CHIME FROM KEYS
Playing with the assorted metal tones, you can also create a wind chime in its traditional cylinderical shape. Find a solid flat plate to begin with and keep tying keys at progressive levels using fishcord or bylon string. This image was posted by Llzabeth on Deviant Art, who has given detailed step-by-step instructions to help you with your DIY project. Love the shape created by assorted keys – would love to find out how pleasant the sound actually is ! If you do make this and end up detesting the sound, you can easily turn this into a lamp and suspend it as a lampshade from the ceiling.
LAMP SHADES FROM KEYS
One of the more unique ideas while recycling keys, I found two different projects for lamps. The image on the left uses keys as a fringe for the lampshade and the author at HomeTalk also vouches for the sweet sound it makes whenever she brished past it. The image on the right was posted on Pinterest but I just canot seem to trace it’s origin. So here’s what I could figure out about this DIY : Source a metal body – either a mesh wrapped or rings welded into a cylinder structure. Get some small rings from the hardware store and attach keys with it’s help. Very important to use a bulb with extremely low wattage – so much metal would heat up like crazy !
DRAWER HANDLE FROM KEYS
Adorable little touches if you don’t want to do too intense with your key projects. Consider turning them into drawer handles and making your furniture appear vintage and unique. You’ll definitely need keys that are decently long in length (enough to fit two-three fingers to pull) and you have multiple pieces. I think the impact is much stronger if the key is the same design as you don’t want too much of a mismatch. Lisa Roy uploaded this pic from Country Living with vintage key drawer pulls from Anthrapologie, so you can head over there if you’re in a shopping mood instead of DIY ! If you do decide to make them, then consider color coding it as your room scheme, whether in contrast or natural colors.
MIRROR FRAME FROM KEYS
Not the best quality image I could find, but I think the idea is cool enough to share. Use your bunch of old keys to create a collage around a mirror giving it a nice border touch. You’ll definitely want a lot of different sized keys for this one, and maybe different metal tones – some oxidised, some gold, some copper. And also overlap the small ones over the big ones for a nice clustered effect. The tutorial at Can’tStopMakingThings will definitely set you on the right track.
WALL CLOCK FROM KEYS
How about finding the right key to your time ? I loved how different vintage keys act as the numbers on the clock. A variation on this design can be having regular numbers and using the keys as the hands of the clock. Again, an absolutely untraceable tutorial, it is claimed to be originally posted on Lushlee.com though I just couldn’t find it. However I do know its quite easy to make your own wall clock (drill a hole in the center of your base and attach the clockwork) and you can find tons of tutorials online. So just take that a step forward and attach vintage keys where the numericals should be.
THE WOW FACTOR FROM KEYS
The most ultimate DIY for me in this category. CafeMom has uploaded some absolutely stunning pieces of recycled art using keys and you should definitely check it out. I’m not even sure if I am right to consider it a DIY project, but its just so stunning that I had to share it with you. Maybe this will motivate you to at least give the easier ones a shot ! Coming back to the above images, they’re just wow, aren’t they ? Must be a combination of molding, welding and heat techniques. LOVE IT !
Whew, yeah this one stretched into quite a long post didn’t it ? I guess keys being an easy sourcing material and so easy to makeover give inspiration to a lot of DIY addicts. And we just had to introduce you to all of the ones we liked ! Hope you’re going to find your favorite one and get set to give that bunch of keys a dramatic makeover.