Monday 17 June 2013

The Key - Tutorial for making your own antique key

Hello and welcome, my dear readers and followers old and new! Today I have something special for you: a tutorial!

During my studies trip in Turkey I stumbled upon some beautifully large and aged looking metal keys and I took one with me as a souvenir. Recently I had the idea of creating my own large antique key using wood, corrugated card, tissue tape, sand paste, some wire and acrylic paints... this is what I came up with:

To make your own antique key you will need:

- DecoArt Traditions Acrylic Colours: Raw Umber, Transparent Red Iron Oxide,
Titanium White, Phtalo Blue and Phtalo Green-Blue

- A 20 to 30 centimeters long wood dowel with about a small finger's diameter

- Fine sand texture paste or DecoArt Texture Fine or DecoArt Dimensional Effects Paintable Texture Paste (if you want your key's texture a bit more grainy you can mix some bird sand into it)

- A small piece of thick corrugated card (I always use packaging material)

- House-painters duct tape

- some thick wire (which should be easy to bend: best  use crafting Aluminium wire)

- Brushes, scissors, a palette, pliers, a handsaw, sanding paper, a crafting knife


1. Shorten your wood dowel to your desired length using a handsaw.

2. Slightly sand the ends using sanding paper.

3. For the key's head I bent some aluminium wire to an interesting shape and fixed it to the dowel winding the loose ends of the wire around it several times. Then I covered the whole blank shape with many strips of duct tape. Don't mind the wrinkles - they won't be visible in the end. Just make sure that there are no loose ends or big wrinkles - small ones are welcome ;)

4. To make the key's burr cut some thick corrugated card (from packaging material) to shape and fix it to the dowel using the duct tape. It helps, if you prepare a lot of very thin and short strips at once (I always glue them to my desks edge with the ends and take them from there).  Try to cover all the sides of the burr so they are flat and paintable.

If you want some more texture, you can fix some shashlik sticks to the key's arm, using the duct tape, covering the dowel at the same time with this step.

5. Next I covered my key with DecoArt Texture Fine (you can also use DecoArt Paintable Texture Paste), which I mixed some bird sand into. For applying the paste I used my fingers mainly (and a thin old brush too for the trickier spots). 

I put it to dry for some hours.

It looked like this now:

6. After this has completely dried give it a coat with DecoArt Traditions "Raw Umber".

7. Then apply a wash of DecoArt Traditions "Transparent Red Iron Oxide" and let dry.

8. Give it another (thinner) coat with DecoArt Traditions "Raw Umber" and let dry. You do not have to cover every single spot this time, so the Red Iron Oxide will show through with some spaces.

9. When it is completey dry, mix some DecoArt Traditions "Titanium White" with "Phtalo Green-Blue" and a bit of "Phtalo Blue" until you get the desired patina look. Dry brush your key with that mix paying attention that you only apply colour to the raised areas, not the whole key's surface. Done!

Wallaah: your own antique key (to your own antique castle or just to your fortune...who knows ;)

I hope you have fun creating your own keys! Thank you for stopping by and


die amelie - Claudia x

More Mixed Media and Altered Art Tutorials from some very talented fellow crafters and artists can be found over here.

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  1. Great tutorial, thank you for sharing how to make it. Once decorated you would never know it wasn't metal!

  2. Love it, thanks for sharing

  3. Great post Claudia :) thanks for sharing!

  4. Great idea!!! Fab tutorial, thank you for sharing!

  5. Awesome idea! Looks fabulous! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina ♥

  6. ...this is way cool Claudia, I have a thing about old keys too, and to create your own is amazing...superb step-by-step, love it...Mel:)x

  7. How incredible is this Claudia! It is so amazing, you would never guess that it is not metal. Must have a go at one of these..... Hugs, Anne x

  8. Wow, der Schlüssel sieht gigantisch schön aus, Claudia. Klasse.

  9. Der ist echt super schön und danke für die bebilderte Anleitung :o)
    LG Dagmar

  10. The key looks amazing, Claudia - and a great tutorial taking us through the process, thank you. I love how you've created an antique heirloom out of pretty much nothing!! LIke magic...
    Alison x

  11. Und ich.....habe mich mit den schweren Dingern vom Flohmarkt abgerackert. Ist das zu fassen? Ich hab ja nun schon ne Menge gefrickelt, aber da schlägt selbst mir die Kinnlade runter (:o)Wie genial!!

  12. Very kewl Key Tut thanks for it :) hugs Nikki

  13. Love it! Just gorgeous & very inventive! I'm going to have to try this one out! :)


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