Monday, October 10, 2011

Easy entryway art

Happy Monday, friends!  Today I have a quick and easy project for you.  This is a wonderful way to decorate an entryway or any other room.  Plus, it is cheap and easy.  Now, that is my kind of project. 

I just LOVE old keys, or any keys for that matter.  I have a set of (new) skeleton keys on my wall in my living room.  They are from Pottery Barn and were from my very wonderful (and tasteful) mother.  I have pictures of keys on my walls and a little pad of paper with a key on it on my desk.  And, while I was home in the US for three weeks this past September, I procured 6 or 7 real vintage keys. 

My mom and I went to the Sacramento Antique Fair together (with her wonderful friend Kathy T.) and spent a good 20 minutes sifting through old keys, locks and other such hardware.  My mom bought many old drawer pulls metal accents and I bought my keys.  I got 3 skeleton keys--I will tell you what I did with them a bit later in this post--and 4 fancy old keys in the more modern shape.  The more modern shaped ones have flat heads and sharp edges like a new key, but have intricate and beautiful designs cut into the head, instead of the name of the manufacturer of the key.  Those are the keys that I used for my project.
My mom and I at the Sacramento Antique Fair.  So much fun and why I love being home.

You could use any type of key, really.  You could use old skeleton keys or regular keys, it doesn't matter.  Just find keys you love and get to work.  Here is what you need:
They keys and the frame.

A set of keys (I used four but you could use more)
An old picture frame without the glass. 
Small decorative nails (I suggest brass if you are using brass keys)
A hammer
A level
A ruler or measuring tape

Here are the procedures:

1) Layout the frame on the floor and place your keys inside.  I like all my tops to be level and the sharp edges facing the same direction.  Space them out evenly.  You want them grouped in the middle  slightly and there shouldn't be too much space between the keys.  As a rule, there should always be more space along the outside edge of the outside keys than there is between the keys.  This rule works the same for matting or hanging art.  

2) Once you are satisfied with your positioning, measure the placement of the keys with the ruler. 

3) Decide where you want to hang your keys and frame. 

4) Using the level, with a pencil mark the positioning of two nails to hold the upper right and upper left corners of the frame. 

5) Nail the nails into the marked places.  Hang the frame. 

6) Measure where the keys should go based on where the frame is now hanging on the wall.  Your keys should have some sort of hole at the top.  Put your pencil mark through there.

7) Now remove the frame (it is likely to get in your way or fall off the wall) and hummer the nails for your keys into the wall.  If the hole is large enough, you can slip your keys over the nail when you are finished.  If the nail head is larger than the hole in the key, be sure to put your key through the nail before you hammer it in. 

8) Repeat for all keys.

9) Rehang frame.

10) Admire your new piece of art! 

I think this works really well for an entry hall because of the keys.  But, you could really put it anywhere to incorporate vintage, industrial pieces into your decor.  I have also seen a really adorable spin on it where people use keys to all of their previous houses instead of vintage ones.  Imagine how cute it would be to collect all the keys from the houses you have lived in with your partner or spouse and then hang them all on the wall, with a little note about the address and maybe what happened there (i.e. 617 Main St. First Place Together; 23 Maple St. Got Engaged; 1456 Post St. Had Baby Markus).  You may need a shadow box to include all that information, but it would be so cute and a great anniversary, Valentines Day or housewarming gift for your wife or husband. 
The finished product, in my entryway. 

As for my skeleton keys, I put two on a key ring to use as key chains.  I kept one and gave one to my best friend Danu.  I put the third one, which was a golden color, on a long gold chain to wear as a necklace.  It looks great hanging under scarves, which I will be wearing from now until April 2012.  (Hello German Winter!) 

I hope you are enjoying your Monday and that this serves as a bit of inspiration for you!  Cheers!

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