Saturday, July 28, 2012

How To Make A Vintage Key Necklace DIY

A while back I posted some information on how to make necklaces with vintage and antique skeleton keys and since they are so popular I wanted to share those directions again for those who might have missed the original post and for those who have requested more information on how to make them. 

These directions are for how to make a necklace with a vintage key that is hung horizontally with a length of chain on each end of the key. 

What's fun about this project is that you can personalize your necklace by choosing your favorite color beads and gemstones to whatever you desire! That is the fun of designing; personalizing it however you like by being creative and experimenting and trying new things! 

I'm classifying this as a beginner project because there is really only one jewelry making technique that you need to know to create this necklace, and that is the wrapped loop
(you will find more info on how to make a wrapped loop below as you read on. I have included a link to directions for this technique for anyone who needs to lean it!)

Horizontally hung antique key necklace

Materials List 

Vintage Keys - most often found at flea markets and the like. You can also buy then on

  WD-40 and paper towels to clean up your keys and remove rust

  Coordinating wire: Brass or copper work well. For the necklaces shown, I used Beadalon ColourCraft Permanently Colored Copper Wire in Brown (20 gauge) and Zebra Wire Colored Copper Wire in Brown in 18, 22 and 26 gauge

Antique finish brass or copper chain 

Antique finish brass or copper jump rings 

 Antique finish brass or copper clasps 

A variety of gemstone and/or glass beads

Round nose pliers

Flush-cut pliers

Chain nose pliers

Before you begin:
If you find that your keys are a little rusty, spray them with WD-40 and clean well with paper towels. Because the keys I used were a nice, rusty brown, I decided to use brown colored copper wire for my necklaces. 

*NOTE: For this necklace you will need to know how to make a basic wrapped loop. This is a simple technique that is basic to jewelry making. It is easy to learn with just a little practice. If you do not know how to make a wrapped loop, directions can be found HERE


Step 1. Place key horizontally on table. Cut a 3” piece of wire and connect one end to the hole in the top of the key with a basic wrapped loop. (I used the 20 gauge wire).

   Step 2. Place a bead onto the other end of the wire and complete the end with another closed, wrapped loop.

   Step 3. Cut another 3” piece of wire and with a wrapped loop, connect one end to other, opposite end of the key, wrapping the wire around the body of the key to the inside of the key’s teeth.

   Step 4. Place a bead onto the other end of the wire and complete the end with another closed, wrapped loop.

Step 5. Continue this technique using 2.5” lengths of wire and beads, until you have the beaded look you want; In the photo above, you can see that I used three different beads on each end of the key. On the left side for the first beaded wrap that is attached to the key I put two turquoise beads together on that one wrap. On the next wrap attached to that one, I used one single bead. On the right side of the photo above, I did three wraps, each with one bead. You can do them however looks best to you! That is the fun part about designing. If you goof up, just snip your wire and cut a new piece and do it over again. *NOTE: Do NOT wrap the open end of the wire after your last bead on each end because that is where you will attach the chain (in the next step).

Step 6. Cut two lengths of chain (I used two 10” lengths of chain) and now making a loop in the wire after your last bead, thread the chain onto the loop and wrap the end. Repeat with other side. Your lengths of chain are now attached to each side of your necklace.

 Step 7. Attaching the clasp: At the end of each length of your chain you will attach your clasp. For this style necklace I used a basic lobster claw style clasp. Use a jump ring to attach the clasp to one side of your chain and complete the other side of your chain with another jump ring. You are finished!

Lobster-claw style clasp

A different color combination: Citrine and Honey Jade

Pink Rhodonite gemstone beads

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below. 

What do you think?

Pin this post!

I hope you have a great week 
Love, Laura

My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at