Skeleton key art

05 Apr

Keys. They open doors, people often lose them, they come in all sizes and we seem to have keys to just about everything that is important to us. I find them fascinating, and it’s really interesting to see how the shapes of keys have changed over the years. I was shopping downtown on Friday morning and came across a boutique that I had wanted to check out for some time. I never had the chance to go inside because we usually go downtown for dinner, which means the boutique is closed by then. I grabbed a latte at my favorite local café and headed over to check it out.

I went in without a lot of expectations. I find that if I do that, then usually I’m pleasantly surprised by a new place. This was definitely the case. The shop was filled with jewelry, furniture and home decor, expanding into two full rooms. I saw a vintage typewriter that would look wonderful on a shelf in my office, but I refrained.

Instead, I came across a small bowl with vintage skeleton keys. They were oxidized and exactly what I was looking for to create an easy craft project and Restoration Hardware knockoff. I remembered seeing these keys in frames by RH and immediately felt sticker shock. $99 for a key in a frame?! No, thank you. I looked through the keys in the bowl and picked out three that I liked, each one with a different shape.

Today I picked up a piece of linen from the fabric store. It was on sale for 40% and I bought 1/4 yard, so it was about $2.00. I still have plenty left over after this project, so I’d say the amount I used for it was under fifty cents. I knew I had a square white frame from Target that I bought last year (no longer available, but you can find something comparable in most stores that sell frames), and I went to work putting the pieces together.

I ironed the linen on the proper setting and cut a piece to size. Then, I secured the linen on a thin piece of cardboard I had saved for a project just like this and secured it with some double-sided tape. I put a few dots of hot glue on the back of each key and placed them in the middle of the linen square.


Then, I slowly placed the square cardboard piece into the frame and put the backing into place. The key (seriously, no pun intended) is to leave a little excess fabric around the sides of the square so that you can use it to easily lift the cardboard back out of the frame from the back, if needed. Here’s the result.

DSC_2872_edited-1 DSC_2870This project took all of ten minutes and cost me about $10, since I already had the frame, cardboard piece and hot glue. I’d say that price fits my affinity for old keys better than the RH version.

Do you have any skeleton keys that you have used for a craft project? What knockoff project(s) would you like to tackle?



Posted by on April 5, 2014 in DIY, Interior Design


3 responses to “Skeleton key art

  1. Mary

    April 19, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Love. Love!


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