How to Make Homemade Keychains

Written by stephanie bovee
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How to Make Homemade Keychains
Some key chains are nicer than others. (key on chain isolated image by Yuriy Mazur from

Keys, locks and key chains are necessary in modern society. Most people carry keys jingling on key chains. While alternatives to keys such as special magnetised cards can be found in hotels and other locations, the majority of locking elements still require a key. Make key chains at home as a craft project using laminated family photographs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2 to 4 feet of ribbon
  • Small spool thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Key ring
  • Wallet size photos
  • Hole puncher
  • Transparent caulk
  • Puffy paint
  • Scissors
  • Clear self-stick cold laminating sheets
  • Paper towels
  • Butter knife

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  1. 1

    Select the wallet-sized photos you wish to use and place them back to back with the pictures facing out.

  2. 2

    Cut squares from the laminating sheets which leave a 1/2-inch margin around the bottom and sides of the photos, with a 1-inch margin on the top. Cut a pair of matching laminate squares for each set of photos you intend to include. Use the squares of laminate to sandwich the photo pairs, with the photo pairs in the centre and the laminate squares on either side. Make sure everything matches up.

  3. 3

    Peel the paper off the laminate squares and stick them together over the photo pairs.

  4. 4

    Use the hole puncher to punch a hole slightly below centre in the laminate above the top of the photo pairs.

  5. 5

    Use a butter knife to spread a layer of transparent caulk on one side of the top laminate inch margin. Be sure to leave the hole open. After it dries, apply the transparent caulk to the other side and leave it to dry as well. This will stiffen the laminate to make it stronger.

  6. 6

    Fold a length of ribbon in half. If you wish to wear the key chain around your neck, measure out the desired length of ribbon by holding it around your neck. That will likely come out to between 2 to 3 feet of ribbon depending on your size and personal preference. For smaller keychains that will not be worn, 1 to 2 feet of ribbon will be enough.

  7. 7

    Fold the ends of the ribbon down 1/2 inch. Turn the ribbon in a circle so the folded ends face each other. When you stitch them together, the folded ends will be on the interior secured to each other.

  8. 8

    Thread the sewing needle and pull several inches of thread through the needle's eye. Tie a knot at the cut end of the thread. Repeatedly tie the knot in the same location until a nub or lump which will not slide through the ribbon is present.

  9. 9

    Push the needle through the layers of folded ribbon about 1/4 inch from the side edge and about 1/3 inch from the end. Pull until the nub is tight against the material. Make several more stitches in the same place on the ribbon, then repeat several times in three or four other places along the ribbon to securely sew it in place.

  10. 10

    Repeat the process to make approximately two other rows of stitches along the same line. This is the weakest point of the key chain, and how well you reinforce it is how well the key chain will hold up. When you are done, tie off the thread on the interior again.

  11. 11

    Apply the puffy paint. Puffy paint is a decorative fabric paint commonly used on T-shirts. It comes in small squeeze which you can find at most craft stores. Decorate your laminated photo squares as desired with the puffy paint. Let the puffy paint dry.

  12. 12

    Slide the laminated photos and ribbon onto the key ring. For extra security, loop the ribbon over the key ring and pull the keychain through so it forms a knot on the ring.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure to put away needles to avoid accidents.

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