How to Create a Wind Up Key for a Costume

A wind up key is an essential part of a vintage doll costume. It can instantly transform one of your favorite dresses into a charming doll outfit. Not only does this accessory require basic supplies, but it can also be made only a few hours before an event or party for a quick-and-easy, last-minute costume.

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Things You'll Need

  • 9x9" scrap cardboard

  • Metallic acrylic paint

  • Masking tape

  • Spool of thread

  • Pencil

  • Foam brush

  • Scrap paper

  • Sharp scissors

  • 1/2 " wide sewing elastic

  • Paper towel or toilet paper tube

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Step 1

Create the outer shape of the bow of the key using a roll of masking tape and a pencil. Draw the first circle on the left side of the cardboard. To ensure an even shape, trace the roll of masking tape with a pencil.

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Step 2

Move the masking tape to the right of the first circle and trace a second circle. The second circle should overlap the first circle by about 1/2 inch.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

The overlapped circles should look like a Venn diagram.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 3

Create the inner shape of the bow by tracing a spool of thread in the center of the one of the larger circles you created with the masking tape.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 4

Repeat in the second circle, making sure the small circles line up. Erase and re-trace if necessary.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume
Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 5

Cut two vertical slits directly underneath the two circles. This step creates "stem" that will be inserted into the tube.

Tip

In order to fit into the cardboard tube, the width of the "stem" should be about 1 5/8 inches wide.

To estimate where you should cut, hold the tube against the cardboard and use it as a guide. You can also use a ruler and measure the width accordingly.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume
Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 6

Cut around the circles.

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Step 7

Carefully pierce one small circle. Cut along the outline to remove the circle.

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Warning

Use caution when piercing cardboard with sharp scissors. Point the scissors away from you and do not place your hands close to the pointed ends.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 8

Paint the cardboard key. Let dry. Once dry, turn over and paint the other side. Let dry.

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Tip

Protect your work surface with scrap paper.

Step 9

Apply an even layer of paint to the tube.

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Tip

To prevent the cardboard tube from rolling around with wet paint, leave it to dry in a vertical position.

Step 10

Once dry, insert the flat cardboard shape into the tube.

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Step 11

If you are using a paper towel cardboard tube, cut away the bottom half.

If you are using a toilet paper cardboard tube, skip to Step 12.

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Tip

Use tape to keep the flat cardboard from moving around in the tube.

Step 12

At the open end of the tube, cut a horizontal slit on each side so that you can thread through elastic to create a makeshift belt. Each slit should be the same width as the sewing elastic.

To easily cut the tube, gently fold it. The fold should not line up with the flat cardboard inside it. Instead, the fold should run perpendicular to it. Make sure the second slit lines up with the first slit.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume
Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 13

Cut a strand of sewing elastic. It should be long enough to wrap around the upper portion of your waist. Wrap the sewing elastic around your waist to measure.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 14

Insert the sewing elastic through the the slits and pull the elastic until there is an even amount on each side.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume
Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume
Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Step 15

Tie the elastic around your waist with a tight double knot. Trim if necessary.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume

Make sure the elastic is tightly wrapped around your waist. This will keep the key in a horizontal position. Use safety pins to attach the elastic to your dress, if necessary.

Image Credit: How to Make a Wind Up Key for a Costume