How can I reuse or recycle old house keys?

A bunch of keysI’ve had an email from Jory, asking for suggestion about what to do with “a ton of old house keys”.

We’ve got a number floating around too – not just house keys but old bike lock keys and other misc keys that are probably for something really important we just don’t know what.

So any ideas?

Best Suggestions

  • Reuse: Lots of people have suggested using them as different type of decorations and jewellery – and if you don’t want to do that, there are a number of different artists collecting them (see below).
  • Recycle: If you’d rather recycle them for charity, they’re collected by a number of charities – for example Keys For Kindness in the US.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by irizarry)

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259 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old house keys?”


  1. Phee~Phee says:

    If anyone else has old keys they’d like to give away you can mail them to:

    4001 Meriwether Drive
    Durham, NC 27704 USA

    Any and all keys are welcome and appreciated. As few or many as you would like to donate. I am collecting keys to melt down and create other metal goods.

    • Welsh Playgroup Abergele says:

      Dear Sir / Madam,

      If your at a lose end to what to do with old keys we at the welsh playgroup in abergele are in search for some to make a treasure chest so children can play with keys in the discovery area.

      Thanks

      Nerys 07707749063

    • ray fos says:

      hi are do you still want keys ive got a lot i can get them to you

    • Patricia says:

      I would like to send keys to you. What name should i put in the address? Are you an artist?

    • Andreana says:

      Are you still recycling old keys? I would love to send a few to you!!!

      Thanks!!

      • Glenn Roberts says:

        I plan to recycle old keys and give have of the money to my local MDA association. If you know of others that want to recycle old keys send them my way. Think of how many old keys end up in the landfill everyday.

    • Kelly Alexander says:

      Hello are you still collecting keys? What do you melt them down to become? Also what name should I put on the envelope to post my keys?

      Thanks Kelly

    • Jilly says:

      This thresd ended in 2009 it seems. We’ve been collecting for Guide Dogs for the Blind Treasure Chest appeal all year. They’ve collected a lot but we have some more and need somewhere in southern England ideally. they’re too heavy to post – certainly to USA! Otehrwise they go to scrap

    • elizabeth Zeyher says:

      Are you still collecting keys??

  2. Phee~Phee says:

    an edit to the above post:
    it is 4001 Meriwether Drive #13C. Without the 13C you will be sending it to a very confused apartment complex. Haha

  3. EL says:

    Use them for coasters.

  4. Irene says:

    I saw a percussionist using keys hung in a string as a percussion instrument. I am collecting keys now to try that.

    • Hel says:

      Hi.

      I am looking to build a similar instrument. I have collected 13 old keys. I’m seeking the blueprints to build them right. I get the impression that a small piece of wood, a drill with a small bit, the keys and some fishing string should do the trick, of course with proper protective wear!!! lol. So if anyone knows of a place online to get some type of blueprint or instruction on how to make these, please send me a message at heldrawsthemusic@myspace.com. Thanks.

  5. cadizkyman says:

    KEYS >>> old keys are great. Dip one in metalic paint or spray on gold or silver. Put key on a necklace. Large old time keys are best. but a small one used with other items and makes a charm bracelet. I like the small lock and key combination and put on a necklace. OK i’m a man and straight but i’m into crafts full time. Durn, i need to send photo of keys in a display case… Most old door keys bring about $2.50 each at antique stores.

  6. Ann says:

    Hi

    If anyone has any old house keys, would be most grateful as we are going to use them as “Santa Keys” in our forthcoming Christmas Fayre!!

    So please email me and I will give you my address.

    Many Many thanks

  7. allie says:

    Ive recently resorted to buying bags of old keys, then I found this page.
    If anyone is willing to send me old keys its greatly appreciated!
    Ive recently started an art project calling for many. Just email me if you have any you are willing to send!

    thanks!

    • Helen O'Connor says:

      I am a property manager and have accumulated rather a lot of chubb, yale and other metal keys. If you are still in need of these please email me Hoaregalvin@aol.com using ‘old keys’ as subject heading.

    • Fey says:

      Hey Allie, I just came across this site and I have a bunch of old keys. If you still are in need please let me know and please include your e-mail address. Thanks :)

    • elizabeth Zeyher says:

      Are you still looking for keys?? Because I have some!

  8. cindy says:

    I have imbellished old pictures frames with keys. You can use old greeting cards as pictures for the frames. You can paint the keys or just leave them they way they are. Just glue they keys around the frame. You will want to place the keys around the frame before gluing for measurement. You would hate to get around the frame and not have enough room for that last key. These make great gifts.

  9. cindy says:

    I totally forgot about this one idea. Christmas tree ornaments. I bet keys would make really nice ornaments. Shine them up and let them sparkle with the lights.

  10. Jaime says:

    I work at a buisness fr people with special needs. One of our participants makes artwork out of old PC’s, 3d PCI cards, and old keys. She also uses sea shells and whatever comes to her mind. If anyone has any of the materials I have listed, please email me at jmzicha@yahoo.com. She would be THRILLED!!!

    Thank you

  11. mary lou says:

    I have been collecting keys for as long or longer than I have been gardening. I worked for a car lot for thirty years and on a whim started collecting keys. Then started finding odd shaped ones. I have quite a few and plan to make a montage in the shape of a key, using my keys to make the design. I also collected old license metal tags. There are just so may uses for these: bird houses, purses, etc. All I need now is the time and the toola.

  12. Olia says:

    You can carry some with you to full the potential thieves, and leave them laying around, while real keys are hidden inside your pocket or a purse.

  13. Olia says:

    Make wind chimes.

  14. Olia says:

    Adorn a manly lamp shade by hanging them along the bottom.

  15. Olia says:

    Fill a cute jar or little container with them and use as paper weight.

  16. Marina says:

    Instead of keeping a brick in your toilet tank, fill a container with the old keys and submerge to save water.

  17. Olia says:

    Outline each key on a paper, and make kids find each correlating key.

  18. Olia says:

    Use old key to play guitar.

  19. Olia says:

    Form the end of an old key as screwdriver, carry it with you and use it as needed.

  20. Olia says:

    Use square part to spread glue or cocking.

  21. Olia says:

    Hang them at the corners of a table cloth when eating outside, so wind won’t blow the table cloth off the table.

  22. Olia says:

    Make a ball of clay, stick old keys all around it, then let dry. You’ll have nifty decorative item.

  23. Olia says:

    Hide them in a soil, sand or grass and practice working your metal detector.

  24. Olia says:

    Use an old key to direct a nail while hammering. Make sure the nails have heads smaller than a hall in the key.

  25. Olia says:

    Glue them to form number of your house.

  26. Elena says:

    Looking for used keys for sculpture. I can pay for postage! Thnak you so much!!

  27. Kelly says:

    It would help if I told you my email address :)

    lichoffkelly0@mcsk12.net

  28. tanya says:

    Hi Elena,

    Are you still willing to pay postage for old keys to make your sculpture? I have loads as just changed the keys – email me at t.ekiyoyo@dta.org.uk. Thanks

  29. jaise stewart says:

    I am collecting all keys & pennies for my non profit called Kots4Kidz & the other is called PenniesforaChange. Please send your unused keys and any pennies to P.O. Box 145 savage Md 20763. They will go to a good cause through recycling meltdowns and toward helping kids get off the street and into spnsored programs for education, awareness and self preservation. Please Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. jaise stewart says:

    email jstewrt7@aol.com i need keys pennies old cd’s. thanks

  31. jaise stewart says:

    we also will pay cash for your old cell phone. please contact. greenbrainhd@verizon.net and we can take your old cell phone for recycling. if it has a cash value we can send you a check or pay you through paypal or send you a giftcard. please contact. thanks. Cells are recycled and reprogrammed for the elderly who live alone. the phones are reprogrammed with emergency numbers that they can call by pressing one number, any way please help if you can send your old cell to P.O. Box 145 Savage md 20763. Put Talkntextmobile on the package or if you email us we can send you a postage paid envelope. thanks

  32. amber says:

    you can put then on a ring and give to your younger kidz to play with

  33. bridget mestrom says:

    Give them to a teacher. It might be a good resors to teach the children with.

  34. Josh McGill says:

    I just used a couple old keys to add extra weight to the handle mechanism on my old toilet. I usually had to jiggle the handle to get the main gasket to seal now because of the keys I am good to go.

    I took the top off the toilet and added the two keys to the top of the chain that connects the main gasket to the handle lever- then reconnected the chain with the keys to the lever.

    Thanks old keys!

  35. tom white says:

    I need some old keys the size of standard house keys for a friend’s art project. They are going to be cut in a way that renders them unusable so make sure you will not be needing them back. Thanks.

    • Natasha de Vere says:

      Do you live in UK? If so what’s your address – I have 3 old house keys (have just had new doors fitted.)

  36. Jack says:

    Hi I have a bunch of keys I don’t need any more. Anyone wants them (in the UK) please email me

    abstract000@hotmail.com

    Thanks!

  37. Barbara says:

    Hi,

    I have 17 silver mortice, 14 brass colour mortice, 9 silver yale & 27 brass coloured yales. May have more as I keep checking them!

    As we are a charity also, postage would need to be paid. In the UK only please.

  38. mariana says:

    hi, my name is mariana, and idk if you still have the keys, but i would really like them and would like to use them as decorations of some sort. if you are interested, email me at Mtukia78@gmail.com

  39. Anonymous says:

    Hi there,

    i have a collection of old keys, about 10, mainly Yale type keys, some smaller ones. Do email me on jmfoy1969@hotmail.com if you live in the UK and happy to pay postage for them, you could send an SAE to me so I can pop them in the post to you?!!

    Would prefer to get them to a good use or cause before i put them in the bin.

    Thank you

    Jackie

  40. If you need to do a drawing for something and only have a small number of people (probably less than 50) or you do family drawings sometimes to see who goes first, who gets to pick the movie for family movie night, etc., use keys instead of tickets.

    First, use a Sharpie to mark two sets of keys with a unique number (1 to 50, for example). So you’ll have two keys marked “1,” two keys marked “2,” two keys marked “3,” and so on. For each person who participates in the drawing, give them those two keys with the same number. They drop one key into the drawing bucket and keep the other key.

    Then, when you do the drawing, the person who has the key that matches the number you drew, they win.

    This is a fun way to save trees because they won’t have to make paper tickets AND you’ll be recycling the keys! You can even have participants dump all their keys back into the bucket at the end of the event, sort them for your next drawing and then do the same thing all over again.

  41. Rachael says:

    I used them to decorate my Christmas tree this year… I called it, “Keysmas tree”

  42. Angie says:

    We are a small, non-prophet Museum in Indiana in search of old metal keys of any size or shape to do a “Night at the Museum” activity with teens. The keys will be re-used for each group that comes through but we will probably need between 200 and 250 keys. If you have any to donate, we would be really excited to get them!

    Please e-mail me for my address. Firststepsangiekarcher@yahoo.com
    Thanks so much,
    Angie

  43. I found this great art piece from old skeleton keys. Check it out on my blog.

    http://feliciafollum.blogspot.com/2011/02/bring-you-skeletons-out-of-closet-keys.html

    See some of my other upcycling projects

    http://feliciafollum.blogspot.com/search/label/Upcycling

    Enjoy!

  44. Robyn Clarke says:

    Honey Bees are having a hard time with hives dying out due to unknown causes. Why not help us to by joining our ‘Keys For Bees’ project where our aim is to lease our own small padock and start up new hives, which you can view using our web cam to see how each hive is doing.

    We all have keys that we don’t know what they should be opening, now you can put that old key to a good use and unlock a new home for honey bees. Search out your kitchen draw or your ‘Man Draw’ for any old keys (plus any nuts or screws etc) pop in an envelope and send them to us.

    http://www.beerewarded.co.uk/keys-for-bees.html

  45. stella says:

    I just had to have a door lock re-keyed, and the locksmith asked for my old key, so that she could re-use it.
    Also, babies LOVE to play with your keys, but I often think of how grotty they are. Sterilise a set just for baby, and it doesn’t matter if they loose them, you are not locked out of your car or house!!

  46. Debbie says:

    Hi,
    I recycle just about anything I can think of and am experimenting with making vinatge, recycled jewelry so if you have any old keys, buttons, broken or mismatched jewelry please just drop me a line.
    Many thanks
    Debbie

  47. sue sibert says:

    You can make awesome windchimes with keys, the more the better !

  48. smssecretary says:

    How can I melt old keys? My husband and I would like to make a paperweight for our daughter. These keys have sentimental value.

    Thank you!

  49. Megan says:

    I have been collecting skeleton keys for a couple of years.if u have any u don’t want please email me. :). Thanks

  50. Shar says:

    Dear all, I just found a few old house keys [major clear-out and de-cluttering project] so there’s lots of other stuff I want to recycle too – and I’d love to send them to somebody. Anybody here in the UK? If you want them I can post them. I’m in Lewisham SE London.

    regards,
    Shar

    • Gill Hickman says:

      Hi Shar
      After loads of research I’ve started collecting for charity again at my school. We did this for guide dogs a year ago but they stopped. I’m probably able to get someone to pick up on London but I’m away for the next ten days. Have you an email I can write to you on? Don’t think I can see it on this forum

      Gill


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