Introduction: Car Key Magnetic Switch Plate Hook

Picture of Car Key Magnetic Switch Plate Hook

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This is the final product:  A surprisingly strong magnetic key hook that takes just a few minutes to do.  It is ridiculously inexpensive and does not involve replacing your existing plastic switch plate. I did not even use tape or glue.  This is so easy I debated not even posting it. However, someone else may find the information useful.  Keep in mind that you need to have the cheap, ubiquitous, builder's quality, plastic switch plates to make this work.  The magnetic force will easily cross a plastic switch plate.  Any other switch plate is YMMV. 

When you are done, you can turn the light out and take your keys. I already have 2 key hooks mounted on the wall next to the light switch. However, my wife has insisted on using both hooks to wrap the 2 rings she has on her key chain over top my keys. I constantly need to take her keys off the hooks to get to my keys. Instead of make a Federal issue over it, I made the switch plate into a magnetic hook for my car key.

Step 1: Begin With a Strong Magnet and Something to Wrap the Sides

Picture of Begin With a Strong Magnet and Something to Wrap the Sides

Begin with a strong though small neodymium magnet. You can find them at hardware stores and on eBay. I had one lying around the house. I just found a rubber cap I had around the house.  You don't have to use a cap.  I needed it to bulk-up the magnet to wedge it between the switch plate and box.  You could just as easily tape the magnet to the inside of the plate or glue it. 

Step 2: Put Magnet in Cap and Put It Behind Plate

Picture of Put Magnet in Cap and Put It Behind Plate

Remove the plastic switch plate cover and put the magnet in the cap and wedge it between the switch and electrical box.  You could probably wrap some masking tape around the magnet if you needed to bulk it up to wedge it or reduce the attraction to the adjacent switch.

I did not cut the power to the switch but I advise others to do so. Realize where the wires are attached to the switch. There was one screw on that side of the switch for the hot wire.  Therefore, I put the magnet next to the green ground screw at the bottom. That's it! You are done! The result is a surprisingly strong magnetic hook for keys (as seen in the first image).

Now I don't have to constantly take my wife's keys off the key hook to get mine. Yea.


TheCommander (author)2015-02-18

I see the author already addressed this issue my apologies

TheCommander (author)2015-02-18

see comments on smart keys, pretty sure smart keys use RFID to communicate the data is read via radio waves not some kind of magnetically encoded data so I don't think that magnet is gonna do jack to them now your mag strip on your rewards card maybe but who cares the

DIY Dave (author)2014-06-18

That's great! I'm going to build one just as soon as I can get a strong magnet

Bannockburn (author)2014-04-15

I really like the elegant/simple design of this. I've made something similar, but it takes up wall space. The use of a switch plate is genius!

n_toxic_ated (author)2011-08-12

just curious if this violates any electrical, safety or other "codes"?

Eonir (author)n_toxic_ated2012-02-22

Yeah, that's what interests me the most. Aside from magic electromagnetic interactions between the wires and the magnet, maybe there are more mundane risks.
Like, what if the magnet gets loose and sticks to the nearest ferrous object.

kool1zero (author)Eonir2012-05-03

I dont know if it's a part of any electrical, safety, etc ... codes buutt magnetics only create a current in a conductor when there is a CHANGE in the magnetic field. i.e. if the magnet isn't moving it wont create any current in the conductors for the wall power.

countrylivin (author)2011-10-07

Teenage sons are impressed with Mom's "invisible keyhook." And it was sooo easy! Thanks, instructablesar!

decc1954 (author)2011-08-15

to Instructablesar, All Genius solutions are simple. This is Genius.
To others re hard drive, thanks for the info!!!
Indeed, I had a great deal of fun reading these comments! Thank you.

bethbeth (author)2011-08-12

Great idea! Makes me think you could drill a hole partially through any cabinet door etc. and insert magnet. Making it usable for holding or hanging many things besides keys.

PSPerson (author)2011-08-07

I did it with a hard drive magnet and some duct tape... works like a charm! thank you for your brilliance!

siamonsez (author)2011-08-07

Brilliant, you have given me some interesting ideas too. The same idea could be used to "magically" hang key on the wall by putting a stronger magnet on the back side of the drywall, or on the inside of a hollow, interior door if you prefer to grab your keys on the way out of your bedroom or something.
Could also be used instead of a hide-a-key because it could be placed somewhere a key shouldn't be like stuck to the under side of the eaves a bit down from the door, or the trunk of a nearby tree.

LStephens2 (author)2011-08-06

I'm so glad you decided to post this. No idea is too insignificant. Some of the instructables are way over my head, but this is so practical and useful. Thanks!

rblprd (author)2011-08-05

Great idea.. Too bad it won't work for me :-(
But a great, SIMPLE idea (which is probably why I never thought of it before HI HI) pure greatness!

Kirk G (author)2011-08-04

WARNING: If your keys are magnetic enough to be attracted by the magnet in the wall switch, they can become magnetized.

IF YOU HAVE A PROGRAMMED SMART KEY FOR YOUR AUTOMOBILE, you could demagnetize it... and loose your ability to start your car.

Worse, if your key becomes magnetized, you'll be carrying a new magnet in your pocket...and possibly erasing objects that it comes in contact with.

If you deal in magnetic media, jump drives, floppy discs, cassette tapes, credit cards, etc... this could be a VERY REAL RISK for you. USE CAUTION!

illumin (author)Kirk G2011-08-04

Thank you. That was my thought immediately. As the author seems to be driving an Audi, he may want to be careful with a magnet this strong.

I already have to keep my cell phone separate from the credit cards in my wallet, I can't imagine the juggling i would have to do if my keys became magnetized as well!

Spokehedz (author)illumin2011-08-05

You don't need to do that... None of your concerns are based in reality at all. My phone is in a leather case that I keep all my credit cards behind--not one of them has ever been erased in the years that I have had it back in there.

illumin (author)Spokehedz2011-08-05

That's weird, because my fears are based on experience. I've lost a credit card like that, and my dad has had numerous hotel key-cards cleared. Maybe we just have had some crazy phones.

Spokehedz (author)illumin2011-08-05

I will revise my statement a little bit. Hotel cards are made with lower strength magnetic stripes because they have to be erased over and over again. These are your best bet to have them be 'erased' by the phone--although it has never happened to me, and I keep them right next to my phone. And it's a smartphone (has been for years, the model changes but it's always a smartphone) so it's constantly sending data.

So to each his own, I suppose?

Spokehedz (author)Kirk G2011-08-05

A smart key does not use magnetism at all. They use RFID or Infrared to transmit data.

You don't have any risk of these things at all. Mythbusters showed that to erase a card you would need a magnet with such high Gauss that it would be gigantic in relation to the card.

And even still, you don't put the split ring on the same way each time--thereby negating the magnetic effect each and every time you put it on there.

lfoss (author)Kirk G2011-08-04

"Jump drives" aka USB drives, pen drives, flash drives are not affected by magnetic fields. To quote Bill Frank, executive director of the the CompactFlash Association, "A magnet powerful enough to disturb the electrons in flash memory would be powerful enough to suck the iron out of your blood cells."

instructablesar (author)Kirk G2011-08-04

It is very implausible that you could magnetize the keyring by having a magnet attached to it. Just as you cannot magnetize your refrigerator by having a magnet on it.

If you look at the picture, it is the keyring that is feromagnetic. Not the keyfobs or keys. I've been using the magnetic hook for months with 3 vehicles: An Infiniti, Audi and Mercedes. The Audi and Infiniti fobs have no feromagnetic surfaces. The Mercedes keyfob is weakly magnetic on one side but it cannot support its own weight. You still need to use the key ring. The smart keys in the Audi and Mercedes are aluminum. The Infinitii is keyless entry.

In any case, nothing has happened to the switch, my key or key fob alarm remotes. Everything continues to work fine. Furthermore, I have not noticed that I have been found "more attractive" either. I had hoped this would have been an unintended consequence. :)

golf clap

skylane (author)2011-08-04

Try a magnet from an old hard drive.
It will probably hold up a frying pan!

Madrigorne (author)skylane2011-08-05

holds up my hammer - though I am not sure why you'd want to store your hammer on a light switch - aw hell - I'm going to do it just so people will ask why there is a hammer hanging from my light switch. I will give them an odd look and say - so I can find it.

tinaam (author)Madrigorne2011-08-05

so funny

DreamingSheep (author)2011-08-05

So will this erase the programming in my alarm fob or attached USB drive?

Just kidding, surprised how many people don't read other peoples posts! Looks like a great I dea thaat I'll be doing once I'm in my new house. Thanks!

vdshowell (author)2011-08-04

Any issues/potential problems with car keys/fobs with remote buttons or key ring USB drives?(doesn't look like I have any mag strips on my key ring card collection)

Spokehedz (author)vdshowell2011-08-05

Nope. absolutely none. They don't use magnets to store information.

WoundedEgo (author)2011-08-04

Um... wouldn't the magnet deprogram your programmed keys? Which cost $$$ to reprogram? Magnets and computer stuff don't mix!

Spokehedz (author)WoundedEgo2011-08-05

Your entire computer is based around the idea of magnets working exactly how they should. Your hard drive spinning in your computer is written with a magnet.

And no, the magnet is FINE to have here. They don't use magnets to store information in the fob.

Lentamentalisk (author)2011-08-04

How dangerous is this to my USB drive I have on my key ring? I presume it can't be too bad, as I once saw a USB drive that had a lid held on by magnets...

Spokehedz (author)Lentamentalisk2011-08-05

It's not dangerous at all. Flashdrives use flash memory that uses electrons to keep the information saved, not magnetic fields. Your car keyfob is also safe as well.

berettanut (author)2011-08-04

I hope that magnet doesn't mess with the the programming on you VW keyless entry. Replacements and reprogramming is rather spendy the the V-dubbs.

Spokehedz (author)berettanut2011-08-05

It won't erase it, and it's only expensive if you go to the dealer... there are ways to program your own remotes much cheaper.

guds777 (author)2011-08-04

You know sometime there is a special chipp to control both open/close door and to turn on the engine be very careful not to destroy the chip.

Spokehedz (author)guds7772011-08-05

You would have to put it in such a strong magnetic field that it would be impossible to create at home.

slapshot52 (author)2011-08-04

This may sound ff the wall (no pun intended!), but I notice in the picture that you have an electronic key fob. Does the magnet in any way mess with chip that is in the fob?

Spokehedz (author)slapshot522011-08-05

No it doesn't. It's completely safe from this type of interfearance.

f3rg (author)2011-08-02

Someone is trying to sell magnetic switch covers for $25:

This just makes the DIY that much better.

barista (author)f3rg2011-08-04

I saw those plates for sale but I'm in the UK, so they wouldn't fit.
I do wonder, however how well it would work here as the front plates on UK switches are fairly thick. Might be OK with a metal plate.

odiekokee (author)barista2011-08-04

metal faceplate will likely not work, as it'll act like shielding and nullify the magnetic field. Needs to be something non-conductive. Thicker plastic will probably be ok if you have a strong enough magnet behind.

tlalexander (author)odiekokee2011-08-05

Metal faceplate is fine. A steel faceplate will only help the magnetic field, and an aluminum faceplate will have no affect since its non-magnetic.

The only material I know of that acts as a "shielding" for magnetic fields is lead. If you had a lead faceplate, it would in fact block the field.

Every other metal either helps is (if it has iron in it), or has no affect.

djimdy (author)odiekokee2011-08-04

A metal faceplate probably -would- work. If anything, a ferromagnetic plate would just transfer the effect to the other side unless it was fully shielded, in which case whether or not a magnetic field works through to the other side is complex enough as to require you to at least try it.

cpeds (author)2011-08-05

This really is an elegant solution. Thanks for the great idea.

Jadagara (author)2011-08-05

No more misplaced keys! Thank you for sharing.

gcrdcn (author)2011-08-04

Break open any harddrive, you will find the most powerful magnets.

Madrigorne (author)gcrdcn2011-08-05


pcgirl (author)2011-08-04

I am extremely happy that you decided to share! I would never have thought of it. :D I'm always losing my keys and this is an excellent idea... I'm going to install one this weekend - I'm always losing my keys. :D

soulrider223 (author)2011-08-04

Great idea! Incredibly simple yet I've never heard or thought of it before. You could also just tape or super glue a small neodymium magnet to the back of the plastic switch plate so that the magnet sticks into the open space between the switch and the switch box. That way you wouldn't have to wedge the magnet in between the switch and the switch box. Again, great idea! I would think neodymium magnets could be used in this same fashion in a lot of places around the house, garage and shop.

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