Unlock some inspiration to use keys as decor

January 3 |
Antique keys made modern with a touch of paint. From Design Hacks.
Antique keys made modern from Design Hacks. As always, I recommend Rustoleum Ultra Cover for any spray painting needs. Remember to prime!
I recently started going to auctions and this time brought home a big basket full of vintage and not-so-old keys. I love the look of them and would like to do something more creative than display them in a bowl. Most of the ideas I've found are crafts to do with little kids.

It will take a few years to grow any craft-aged kids, so what can I do now that will reinvent these keys?
–Sarah

They're so hard to pass up, right? They're like, charged with symbolism. To get you going, here some inspiration for what to do with your stash of keys.

Keys as decor from DesignSponge
It can be as easy as hanging them! Keys as decor from DesignSponge

Mounted keys from Young House Love.
Mount them in a frame like they did over on Young House Love.

Keys as lampshade
Make a lampshade of sorts like Etsy seller VintageHaus did.

Shadow box of decorative keys
Try them in a shadow box like Etsy seller ButternutWoods.

Share your key decor ideas in the comments!

  1. I like the huge word installation. That is soooo cool. I need to find good sources for vintage buttons and now, keys.

    1 agrees
  2. I was way in love with this key necklace from Project Runway, which was made using new keys. Usually, jewelry projects utilize vintage keys, which look way whimsical, but I loved how shiny these new keys looked! She layered them with mesh, but you could easily layer in other fabrics or leather.

    And I LOVE keys as chimes. They make awesome windchimes!) String the keys up at varying heights so that they'll hit each other when the wind blows.

    2 agree
  3. Wow! the first picture is great! I am totally stealing that idea.

  4. I had a resident advisor in University, who was a fabric artist, and she was making a quilt with keys attached to the squares.

    To her, keys had a special significance, because at one point she had been in an abusive relationship, and she got the point where she was always carrying her keys with her because she never knew when she might have to flee. :(

    Now that I think of it, I remember her talking about it, but I never got to see the final product. :/

  5. Thank you so much for the tips! I love the look of skeleton keys, but was not lucky enough to score a stash of them. Mine are old house and padlock keys. I might make jewelry with the more unusual ones. I LOVE the full wall art. Now I just need to convince my husband that he loves it too!

  6. I like the idea of putting all of them in a fish bowl and having a dead branch "growing" out of it (like it's a planter) with keys hanging from that as well, maybe. Art! I thought of something artisitic! Hoorah!

  7. I have a few things of my grandmas I want to re use for gifts. Some of the keys and other metal items are pretty grimy. Is there a good cleaner out there so I don't have to scrub every piece? It took a long time just to get one key clean using a toothbrush and dawn dish soap….

    • I THINK it is called "greased lightning." We took off all the grimy cabinet handles and such and soaked them in a bowl of the stuff. The dirt melted off.

  8. I know it's awhile after this was first posted, but I'd love to see the images! Could they be re-linked?

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