ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Embellished Altered Keys Tutorial

Updated on August 27, 2013

This Tutorial is about altering ordinary disgarded house and car keys

These Embellished Altered Keys are fabulous to use for your scrapbook pages, altered books, collages and mixed media projects.

Lovely embellishments to add on book and journal covers, even as new jewelery pieces!

Dig through your junk drawer, your jewelry boxes and visit your local thrift shops and garage sales for lovely baubles and bits to add to your key creations. This tutorial makes a fabulous workshop or class and a fabulous fun day with the gal pals making these keys.

I hope you will enjoy my tutorial, I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Creating


I had been saving this pile of keys for a while now with the idea that someday, somehow, I was going to alter them into something crafty. Well, today was "someday" actually the last couple of days. I was having so much fun I kept making more.

Basic Supplies:

Black and gold acrylic paints

water based varnish clear

sponge brush and paint brush

wax paper

Goop glue

Jewelery making supplies including: jump rings, wire, head pins, eye pins etc.

Good jewelery needle nose pliers (even 2 pair work well if you have)

Filigree embellishments all shapes & sizes

assorted cabochons, buttons, broken jewelery, beads, chain and any other decorations you desire.

Getting Started:

Start with a collection of ugly old car and house keys.

Next get out your black paint, using a sponge brush paint the keys both sides. I set them down on wax paper as I was working on them. Don't be too fussy about making them perfect because the paint doesn't stick perfectly. Besides, you will be adding additional colors that will hide any flaws.

Next, using the gold paint, dry brush very lightly a little bit of gold on each key, allowing lots of the original black paint to show through. This just gives a very vintage look.

Variations: Try painting with patina colors, for an antique copper look, or even rusting your keys for a couple week for a natural weathered look.

Yep, I know, they still look like old house and car keys but they are getting better right?

Now give a very light coat of varnish to protect the paint from chipping.

Now go through your stash of Filigree embellishments to decide which style fits best with each key. Be sure to try them different ways too, I loved the diamond shape when I turned it the other way.

Ohhh, not sure where to get a great collection of filigree findings? Well be sure to visit my website for a variety of different styles of these wonderful filigree embellishments.

I changed my mind several times before I actually glued them down. Using Goop Glue, glue the filigree pieces to the keys. covering the old key face as you desire.

Next is the embellishing of your keys. It is impossible to give you actual instructions because it all depends on how fancy you want to get or what findings are available to you. But if you are resourceful, you will probably have a multitude of great items very close at hand. I used buttons (break off the shanks) odd earrings, cabochons, gems, beads, chain and more.

Be sure to glue these items on using the Goop glue, this way you know they wont fall off.

Below are pictures of finished keys that I made. I will describe what I used for each key (I think I actually remember)

Key 1 a pair of earrings, one attached to the key, the other dangles from a chain.

Key 2

A watch face with a cabochon and matching beads dangle from a chain.

Key 3

A butterfly hair barrette with matching beads and chain.

Key 4 a Button and a chain tassle from a necklace.

Key 5 A button, beads and chain

Key 6 Another button (too easy) and more beads and chain

Key 7 Coin trinket with beads and chain

Key 8 Red Glass Gem beads chain

Key 9 Heart shaped earring and more beads and chain

Key 10 Button

Key 11 Pendant with glass bead

key 12 Button

These I used some broken necklaces chain and beads

Key 13 Earring

Key 14 Button

Key 15 Earring

Start asking your friends for all their old jewelery, visit your local thrift shops and garage sales.

Key 16 Cabochon

Key 17 Hair barrette

key 18 Earring

I really lucked out in my stash of beads to find matching colors, but I do have a huge stash to work with. keep in mind when you are making these keys, what you want to add and match with the embellishments.

Key 19 Button (it actually fit right into the frame)

Key 20 Earring ( I love this green one)

Key 21 Gem ( a plastic dollar store find)

Key 22 Pendant

Key 23 Button

Key 24 Another Earring

So there you have it! Hopefully you will be inspired to create your own embellished keys. Please let me know if you make any yourself, I would love to see your creations.

Visit Paper Digital Art and Imagesbykim

Please let me know that you stopped in and if you enjoyed this tutorial. if you make any of these embellishments, please send me your pics. I always enjoy seeing other artist's work!

I would love to hear from you!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thankyou I cant wait to have a go at these they look wonderful .

    • imagesbykim profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @anonymous: hi,

      Most of the filigree pieces do have holes in them fo reasy attachment. I thne use a jump ring and a pair of pliers to attach any other trinkets and bling to the finished key.

      Thanks for stopping and your comments on my lense


    • imagesbykim profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Rebecca,

      Yes I am starting to sell these filigree pieces on my website.

      Here is the link:

      Thanks for stopping in!


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love your tutorial. I am about to search out some keys and commence the

      process. How did you attach the ring to connect bling?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have this tutorial saved for a long time now and still unable to find the little mandala things you use for the base of your key decorating. You have any idea where I can find them/

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very good instructions, I am also a mixed media artist from Canada, and love altering keys :)

      Lensrolling to my first tutorial on Squidoo, on how to make bookmarks with pressed flowers.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      9 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Wow, they're so pretty. Totally not what I expected.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Interesting ideas! Love the photos of your studio.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I was hunting through my long list in my favorites section and found this wonderful page with the key tutorial, I have held on to many such keys just knowing one day I will get round to transforming the ugly ducklings. I found your page to be direct and to the point (no Faffing) well done and a really good journey. I am now about to look through your link sections.

      I see you have an Etsy page and will check it out later, I recently started selling on Etsy (Feb) although I have have been a shopper since last year, I have'nt sold anything yet (scotlanduk) . If you look at my site and see a reason I might not be selling please feel free to advise me.

      Anyway my real reason for adding my comment on this page is to say I love it. Regards

    • michelleart profile image

      Michelle Collins 

      10 years ago from Florida

      These are awesome!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      What a neat idea. I like the embellished keys without the jewels the best. I've bookmarked your blog, too.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great Lens Kim, thanks for posting. I just featured you on my blog today on 1000 Markets.

    • religions7 profile image


      11 years ago

      What a unique idea - blessed by a squidangel :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I really love this lens...What a creativity...Congratulations.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi Kim, Excellent lens. Very interesting practice, thanks for sharing.


    • Mortira profile image


      11 years ago

      Recycling and art go together so well! Thanks for sharing these great ideas! * * * * *

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Oh, great idea! Thanks for sharing it, I want to try this!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      12 years ago from Croatia

      This is really wonderful lens! Featuring it in tutorials in Reuse it all! group! And I'm really glad to have you in this group! :)

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Bravo - this is fantastic.. I have tons of old & antique door keys (not skeleton) in which I am turning into jewelry but I never thought of embellishing any more than their own fancy squiggle work.. thanks for the tut! It's great!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      This is a great lens! You are so creative! 5***** from me too!!

    • DivineIguana profile image


      12 years ago

      These are gorgeous! What an inspirational lens!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      12 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Great idea. Great lens. 5*

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      12 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Lovely key charms and beauitful looking lens.

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      Annette Geiger 

      12 years ago

      I LOVE this idea! Now I am kicking myself for all those ? keys that got trashed during the last move. Something new to add to my "must do" list. Thanks and a 5* favorite

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      interesting lens! thanks for sharing this info! please check mine out at----------------> Kava Kava.

    • ms-giggles profile image


      12 years ago

      WOW!!!! 5***** to your lens and the gift of art you have. I was blown away by what you did with the keys. You are so gifted!!! I wish you such great success with Squidoo and will meet you at the top.

      God Bless Beth

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      very creative!i had no idea that keys could be this beautiful.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      12 years ago

      Can hardly credit this lens, it's such a novel idea, wish I had even a fingernail of your talent. Keep it up and the best of luck

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Hey this lens is realy great i love this lens 5 stars from me :)

    • Nancy S Oram profile image

      Nancy Oram 

      12 years ago

      More fun stuff for my grandaughters! It's getting hard to choose. We'll just have to do them all.

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 

      12 years ago

      What a fantastic idea! Great pics and details on the lens too!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Stopping in from ZNE. Love the keys!! Each one is so unique. Easy directions, love all the pictures. Thanks for sharing.


    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Wicked keys Kim!...just like you, the diamond ones are my fav!..esp the one with the green bug! TOO COOL!




    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)