Ideas for upcycling old keys

My husband and I chose not to give each other gifts this year, but he surprised me and brought me this rather large collection of old keys. My kind of present… New Years Day was rather wet and miserable, whilst I had a nap Jared and the children had great fun creating animals for the keys. I love the animals… No searching Pinterest for upcycling old key ideas for them, they just got stuck in and had fun.

Upcycle key ideas DIY


Such creativity.

Upcycling Old Keys, have fun making creations/animals with keys

My thoughts wandered to wall art – layering the keys up to create snowflakes. Along the way, I did wonder whether a more abstract piece was more my style.

Upcycled Old Keys Wall Art





Start by creating the wood base. Cut pieces of wood to create a plack measuring. I have used old wood cutting five pieces long.

Use wood glue to glue them together. Once this is dry place a piece of wood across the back as battoning. Screw into place.

Paint the wood blue – I have used Rustoleum. It is no secret I love chalk paint, it’s great that I don’t need to wait for any primer to dry! Once dry you may wish to lightly sand to reveal the grain of the wood, adding a little texture.

Spray the keys white.

I used Novasol Spray White chalk paint, as this is what I had. It covered well and dries within fifteen minutes. However it has chipped on the keys – personally, I like this effect. Spray both sides.

Next print off the words in a font you like. Using the technique often taught in school rub the back of the paper in chalk. Place the text right side up on the wood. Using a ball paint drawer round the outline of the words. When you lift the paper up the chalk has transferred to the wood to create a guide for hand-painting the letters.

Paint the letters in.

Lastly, drill a small hole in the wood for the centre of each snowflake. Screw the keys in place with long screws.

I have to admit that I prefer my husbands and children’s key animals. We have lots of keys left, what would you make??




  1. January 15, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    Such a fun way to re-use keys. It looks like you all had a blast making these!
    Caroline recently posted…Hand-Made Gift BagMy Profile

  2. January 16, 2017 / 7:36 am

    Love vintage keys and you have got some really fun ideas

  3. January 16, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Ooo, I saw these keys when you shared them on Instagram and wondered what you had in mind.
    I love the animals and the sign of course (I’m very diplomatic!) and I’m racking my brains to think what I would do with them.
    A windchime maybe, or bend them to make something else. Are the easy to bend? Could they be made into hooks? I’m sure I’ve seen real keys incorporated into peoples mixed media art canvases, that might be fun. Or could they just be used as weights in a coat or jacket. I’ve never used weights in a garment but I believe that is a thing! Oooo, or as weights on a tablecloth for the fab summer we are going to have this year…or round a cover to keep flies off a jug or dish of food outside. I’m thinking as I type, can you tell?I’ll stop now, I’m sure you have bucket loads of great ideas.
    Julie recently posted…Handmade Monday #8My Profile

  4. January 19, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    I love old keys, they remind me of a reading scheme story about a magic key that ended up in a picture and the mum had to buy it for the kids because they wanted it back! I love the snowlflakes especially 🙂

  5. Kandace
    January 21, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    The snowflake keys are so precious and original! What wonderful, artistic creativity you share with others. ❄️❄️❄️

  6. Kay
    January 22, 2017 / 3:08 am

    Love old keys, also, and enjoyed this site…so how about some earrings, especially ones that don’t match each other. A friend sent a pair to me that ended up broken during shipment but the way they broke made them perfect to wear…a 2 inch and a 3 inch. Then there is the possibility of brooches, necklaces, bracelets, and probably a myriad of other items along the jewelry line that others can think of. I have an encaustic art piece that incorporated two keys that is also really nice.

  7. Sharon Loveless
    January 22, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    I would do two things. First, make a display with a handmade little rat…a packrat. He would have a key around his neck with an old piece of hemp or torn rag. Then I’d add other found items to his little “home” box that would make it cozy for him.

    The second thing would be to make a necklace using an old key and attach a stamped metal sign with the key that says something like “dream” or “wish” or “love” along with a few charms.

  8. Paula
    January 27, 2017 / 6:45 am

    Some lovely ideas, here. Thanks for sharing them. I particularly enjoyed seeing the snowflake design.
    I live in hope of some day getting hold of a nice collection of old and interesting keys. I’d love to make a hanging mobile, or perhaps ‘bunting’, but with keys instead of fabric triangles, to honour my Goddess, who has keys as one of her primary symbols. Xx

  9. myra
    May 23, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    I would make a mobile for outdoors.

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