Keeping your entryway neat and organized can be challenging, especially when you have an expansive key collection. That’s when a DIY key command center can help you keep everything at arm’s reach and looking pretty.
I don’t know about you, but my key collection seems to have a mind of its own. It steadily grows without any (intentional) help from me whatsoever. It all recently came to a head when I needed to access a filing cabinet but couldn’t for the life of me remember which key went to which unit. After working my way through the pile of tiny silver keys, I finally found the one I needed and subsequently added a new key system to my to-do list. Read on to see how I solved the problem once and for all with a no-nails DIY key rack.
First, I grabbed a wooden board. I ended up using a piece of cedar plank from the hardware store that was intended for grilling yet was the perfect size for my key rack. (I’ll take any shortcut that allows me to avoid a saw!) Next, I used a ruler and pencil to mark spots for the brass hooks I had purchased (for 29 cents apiece) for my keys to slip over. I placed a hook every 2.5 inches because my board was 15 inches long and I wanted five hooks.
After drawing my marks every 2.5 inches, I went back and made sure that my pencil dots were in a straight line across, exactly 1.5 inches down from the top. Then, I drilled my holes for the hooks using a bit and handheld cordless drill. Be careful not to drill all the way through your board. You need to drill only about a 1/4 inch into the wood — just enough to get a hook going.
After that, it was time for the finish. I used a foam brush to coat the cedar plank with a thin and even layer of gel topcoat urethane. This not only protects the wood but also helps to bring out the grain and color of the cedar itself. To finish, I threaded the hooks into the holes.
But I wasn’t done yet. As I mentioned, I needed to come up with a new system to keep track of my keys. I ultimately chose to go with leather tags. My go-to for anything leather is Moore & Giles, and I just so happened to have a handful of pretty teal-colored scraps on hand from a chair reupholstery project.
So, I used a pair of clean, heavy-duty scissors to carefully snip my scraps into three different shapes — a rectangle, a diamond and a circle — and then used a pair of eyelet pliers to attach tiny brass eyelets to the leather. Then I slipped matching brass key rings onto the tags along with my keys.
The best part is that the cedar plank is heavy enough that my key rack just needs to lean on the table — no nails, level or holes needed. Now, instead of wondering which key goes with which cabinet, I just need to match the tag with the compartment I’ve assigned it to. It’s a little bit more to remember, but I don’t mind the element of mystery. You see, while I could have used one shape and clearly labeled the tags, a small element of secrecy helps to keep my valuables at least somewhat safe from intruding hands.
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