Introduction: DIY KeySmart/Key Organizer

Picture of DIY KeySmart/Key Organizer

So, I was browsing the internet and came across a couple of key organizers such as these: and

These are pretty cool right? What's not cool is their price tag, so why not make one that is just as effective and durable for a fraction of the cost? This project in all of its entirety costs ~$6.80 (not including keys). That's more than $38 dollars less than the name-brand key organizers!

Today, I have the honor of showing you how to make your very own KeySmart/KeyBar/Key Organizer. It keeps your keys all organized, easy to use and take out, and no more key "jingle"!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

So here's what you'll need for this project:

Keys (Preferably 3+)

2 Mending plates

Metal Washers

2 Bolts

2 Nuts

Key loop ♦

*Using all the items on this list will cost you about $6.80.*

☺I used 3.5" but these 3" ones should work just as fine.

☻Amount of washers needed depends on how many keys/key loops you want to store

♥ I used hex bolts but these are fine

♦ You can make a key loop out of a soda tab. I'm not sure what this piece is called though.

Step 2: Beginning Your Key Organizer

Picture of Beginning Your Key Organizer

Start by inserting your bolts to the end holes of one of your mending plates. Then, flip the whole thing upside down so that the threaded end of the bolts face up. Slide two washers down the bolts.

Step 3: Key Placement

Picture of Key Placement

Place two keys on the bolt over the washers you recently placed down. Then place another washer over each key, to provide space for the next key. Repeat this process until you have all your keys placed, spaced by washers. I like to place the keys in which the "teeth" of the keys face inward. Also stagger the stacking of each key so that one key from the left lays on one from the right making it so that when the keys are stored in, they all fit nicely together. Use washers to make sure that you use as much of the bolt thread as possible (I will say why in the next step). When you're finished, place two washers on top.

*Check out the pictures for clarification.

Step 4: Finishing Your Key Organizer

Picture of Finishing Your Key Organizer

Make sure there are washers on top of the last set of keys/key loop. Also, make sure you have a little thread left showing on the top of the bolt. This will minimize the excess thread left showing that might catch on clothing or cause discomfort when stored in your pocket.

Then, place the second mending bracket on top of the keys, aligning the bolts to the correct holes. Then, place a nut on each end of the bolt and tighten.

The more you tighten the bolt, the more tightly the key will be held in, but it will also be more difficult to pull the keys out. Vice versa for not tightening the bolts as much.



Yay! Now you have completed the DIY KeySmart/KeyBar/Key Organizer and saved yourself $38+! No more key jingle, fumbling around for keys, porcupine feeling in your pocket due to bunched up keys, and now you have a really awesome way to hold your keys! I hope you enjoyed my "ible" and I look forward to seeing everyone's take on my key organizer.

Make sure you share your experience and pictures with me if you decide to create this project as well.

While you're here, may I ask that you vote for my "ible" in the contests in which it is entered in. I would appreciate it immensely.




wazalac18 made it! (author)2015-07-29

this is a good and useful modification, can't help to make some!!!

sillyzombie666 (author)wazalac182015-08-03

any info on how you made those? i have that exact knife and have been wanting to make a better key holder out of it, the first one i made didn't come out so great

he used a old swiss army multi-tool.

removed the sides and then rearanged the tool plates so it fits keys instead

....duh, but how, like a how to guid, thats kind of what this site is for

EddieR41 made it! (author)2017-01-26

Thank you for posting this. Freaking great!!!! Made this from crap lying around. Once all of the pieces were ready it took 3 minutes to put together.

Tinworm (author)2016-08-31

I love the fact that you used Meccano. Ingenious!

YouNeverKnowItUntil (author)2016-08-03

Or use an erector set! They look similar

Pacocrator made it! (author)2016-07-06

Thank you! I made one with the scrap I had in the workshop. Awesome!

BJ80 made it! (author)2015-08-07

Very good idea! Mine looks like this:)

jesseMcarroll (author)BJ802016-05-26

What are the green bars from? That looks great!

RaphaelI (author)BJ802015-10-12


gnfnet (author)BJ802015-08-09

Looks great!
Using nyloc nuts is a great idea.
Where did you source those nice green mending plates?

unpro1 (author)2016-05-08

that is one super compact tool!

What is it called?

slayerofgoliath (author)2016-03-08

To make it even nicer use Chicago Screws instead of the nut and bolt.

Ironhead501 (author)2016-03-05

I think i just found a use for that erector set the kids keep leaving out......

jfehil made it! (author)2015-12-29

Simple and fun

TheDoomMechanism made it! (author)2015-11-05

this was awesome. i ran out on my lunch break, got the parts and finished it before i had to be back for work. i'm thinking of making a second one out of a single 6" mending plate, bent in half. of course that'll only hold half the keys but it works for my keys.

superstrongjohn (author)2015-09-26


superstrongjohn (author)2015-09-26

anyone know where to get one of those key loops besides using a soda tab?

superstrongjohn (author)2015-09-26

anyone know where to get a keyloop? is there anything that can be used besides the soda tab?

Meclizine (author)2015-08-11

Thanks for the instructable. I made two, one for my wife and myself. I got the mending plates and attachment loops at Lowe's for less than $5, and that's for enough plates for six organizers. I chose to get bolts at Ace because they have a much better selection. These things really cut down on the jingling and binding of keys, but adding or removing keys isn't as easy. I think that's a small price to pay, though.

Meclizine (author)Meclizine2015-08-14

Oops, I meant three organizers. The package contained six plates.

KerryN4 made it! (author)2015-08-12

pretty handy

bhattarams (author)2015-08-02

I am not from from US

Can you tell me what is meant by by mending plate.

Is this a readily available part?

I would like to have a drawing for the that I can make it.


JoeF19 (author)bhattarams2015-08-10

I know for certain that most Lowe's carry the same type of mending plates in their hardware section (in the drawers)

The Arbiter (author)bhattarams2015-08-02

A mending plate is just a piece of metal with holes drilled at regular intervals. It is used for things like cracks in wood. It spans the crack or break and pulls the pices togther. They do the same thing with badly broken bones in your body.

Thanks for the info. I was just about to google this...

Google for "Meccano parts" and you will find some place in your country o near to buy Meccano components, for instance in UK you have this one.

BTW, this is the part used in this instructables:

bhoerz1 (author)2015-08-09

Of course I see this after spending $25 on a manufactured one! Will be making some of these as gifts. A note: one cool thing I found out is that these are great for people with MS or arthritis in their hands. It's much easier to grip than a single key and can actually use the whole device for help with leverage.

imitt12 (author)2015-08-06

I have some advice that you might find useful.

I built my own from scratch and went through a few iterations before I settled on a final design. The main issues I had when I was mucking about with it were that 1) no matter how much I adjusted the bolts, they would always loosen in my pocket and let the keys swing around and get caught on everything, and 2) I had to space out the keys more than just one washer (I was using 1/16" washers with #8 bolts) because the keys I was using were 1/8". I also found that the keys scraped against the washers and plates of the device. I tried using LocTite, and that was a terrible idea. I tried nyloc nuts, and they were too bulky when I went down to 11 gauge aluminum plate. I ended up tapping the opposite plate and using low profile machine screws, and that streamlined the device. What I did to fix the key scraping issue (because I had actually cut the blades off of the keys and drilled holes in them) was to make some plastic washers and put them in between the keys. I like your design, and I think it's a better choice for having more than two keys (all I need for now). I hope this info helps you and any others out.

qorlis (author)2015-08-03

Another suggestion: nylon washers. They are a bit more slippery than metal ones and are a bit more forgiving when tightening.

3366carlos (author)2015-08-01

awesome. you can make it even less expensive if you use that metal strap plumbers & AC people use to tie pipes. i though that's what you had used. also, to make room, the key ring loop can be made right on one of the side plates instead of using an adapter that takes space that can be used for a key. good job man. voted.

neffk (author)3366carlos2015-08-03

pipe strap is meant to be somewhat flexible, probably too flexible for this kind of application.

jimbus_com (author)2015-08-02

You should probably have a disclaimer about the danger of using this with car keys on cars whose ignitions turn north/south. This devise could potentially cause the keys to have enough momentum over a large bump or in the case of an accident and can shut off the ignition disabling the airbags.

suomy.nona.14 (author)jimbus_com2015-08-02

butt seriously, dont use this for your car keys, its just dangerous in general, any weight on a key is going to risk breaking the key, especially if the weight has an inflexible fixing.
do you know how to stall your engine off if your key snaps off in your car while its running? not everyone does

suomy.nona.14 (author)jimbus_com2015-08-02

im not sure what you mean, my ignition turns yellow/fourteen

Syncubus (author)2015-08-02

Replacing one of the washers on each bolt with a rubber o-ring would allow for more evenly adjustable tension. Using a drop of Loctite (or similar) thread locker, or even cyanoacrylate ('super') glue on the threads of the nut would prevent loosening over time. Finally, there are often brass mending plates, as well as brass (and lightweight alumin[i]um) bar stock at most hardware stores - which would be nicer-looking and can easily be cut with a hacksaw and shaped with a file and/or sandpaper.

osbornsh (author)2015-08-02

Very nice -Thanks!

treymartin82 (author)2015-08-02

I needed a good excuse to get out of the house for a bit so I'm off to go buy parts and have fun!

The Arbiter (author)2015-08-02

This is very good and I will likely use this as a guide to do this myself. One thing I thought about though, was using two nuts instead of one. You could tighten the first nut to the key tension you like, then, using two wrenches, hold the inside nut still and tighten the second outer nut onto the first one, thereby locking it into place. If you are worried about sharp edges from the bolt and nut(s), you could also use a round top nut like this:

Overall good -ible!

zwilmes (author)2015-08-02

I was about to raid my Erector set for those plates until you said you could buy them. Great project, I bought one of the pricy ones before I saw this, but I will definitely be making some more.

kokpat (author)2015-08-01

Here is the one I made, old version.

Maybe my situation is different, the keys I have are in different size, length and thickness. it can not keep stay by just adding some washers between them. Also, when screw up tightly, it is difficult to rotate the key....
So, I had add spring to each screw, keep the key easily to move and keep stay.
Also, I unscrew a leatherman army knife and keep some parts in side the metal.

The effect is quite godd.

kokpat (author)kokpat2015-08-01

This is my previous version.

xyzzyplover (author)2015-07-31

Nylock nuts would probably be an improvement -- they don't come undone by themselves.

sunilsjadhav (author)2015-07-31

rally cool, i'll try it..

GenerallyOdd (author)2015-07-30

This is awesome! I wish they'd have a contest for some kind of keychain or "organizer" for those giant remote keys with the alarm and door lock buttons. They're such a pain.

EcoExpatMike (author)2015-07-29


wgalloway (author)2015-07-29

For those of us with electronic keyfobs, how would you recommend attaching them?

MarkYu (author)wgalloway2015-07-29

I suppose you mean electronic fobs as car keys? If so, use longer bolts to accommodate the extra thickness of the fob. If it cannot be placed on the bolt, just attach a key ring to the key loop and attach your fobs via that.

Zikkurat (author)2015-07-29

Thanks for including the name, and link for the mending plates! I made one of these for myself in the past out of old IKEA hardware and I love and still use it, but I didn't know what the plates were called, and I couldn't find any at my Local Hardware store when I wanted to make additional ones for friends and Family.

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, I'm Mark! I make Instructables of things I find cool so follow me and check my stuff out! :)
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