I've been hitting up garage sales—or going garaging, as my grandma calls it—my entire life. As kids, if my sister and I spotted a flash of pink from the curb, we'd race each other to the sale, hoping to beat the other to the bin of Barbies. (We weren't allowed to run, so we raced across the lawn with this weird, straight-armed speed walk.) My competitive Barbie shopping days are over, but I still enjoy the thrill of the garage-sale hunt. I recently found a big box of antique keys, which, after a little bargaining, I snagged for $9.
The detailing on the keys is beautiful. There's a Master key with a lion engraved on the face, and several three-holed keys from Reading Hardware Company, founded here in Pennsylvania in 1851. Then there are the Russwin keys, featuring an intricate scroll pattern. I wanted to showcase my treasures, so I made them into a necklace. In keeping with the hardware theme, I attached the keys to short piece of hammered chain. Then to soften the look (and give the necklace length, without lots of weight), I added knotted twine to either side.
What you need
9 antique keys of varying sizes
9 split rings
4 eyeglasses connectors (like this)
6-8 inches of chain
4 feet of twine
Put it all together
- Attach the keys to the chain, using the split rings as connectors. Start in the center of the chain, placing the largest key in the middle, then work your way out toward the edges. (I skipped one chain link between each key.)
- Attach an eyeglasses connector to either end of the chain.
- Cut the twine into two equal pieces. (You can trim the twine segments if you want the necklace to be shorter.) String them through the rubber loops of the eyeglasses connectors already attached to the chain. Then, tie a loose knot in the center of each double-stranded piece of twine. Make sure the knot falls in roughly the same place on both pieces.
- String one loose end of each twine segment through the rubber portion of an eyeglasses connector. Then, use E-6000 glue to connect the loose ends of each piece of twine. (Allow to dry overnight.) Add a clasp, or simply use the metal hooks of each eyeglasses connector as a clasp.