Instructables

Giant Cardboard Key

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This is instructions on how to build a keyboard key that is over 5 ft. long and looks super fresh!

To make this key you will need:
  • 1.5 (or just 2) 4' x 8' sheets of cardboard
  • Plenty of hot glue and a hot glue gun
  • Sharp razor blade with extra blades
  • Long rulers/ straight edges
  • Pencil
 
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Step 1: Plan and Sketch

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First, I (but you probably don't have to) sketched out how my final key would look. I decided to scale my key up so that every 1/32 of an inch on the original key would become 1 inch of cardboard key. Since the original key is 2 1/8 inches long, the cardboard key would be 68 inches long. In my sketches below, I include the final dimensions of the cardboard key, as well as how to layout your sheet of cardboard to maximize its use. I forgot to note in my drawings that the thickness of the key will be 2 inches as shown in the last picture.

After laying out your drawings, it is time to scale them up and onto the cardboard. The easiest way I found is to divide up the cardboard into chunks as shown in the smaller drawings. For example, the key "head" is shown in the drawings as being 32" x 28", so simply draw a rectangle on the cardboard that is the same size. After you have drawn out all of the basic shapes with rectangles, then go back in to put in the details such as rounded corners or the teeth of the key. After your first key is drawn and you feel happy with it, it is time to cut. 

Important: When dealing with corrugated cardboard, it is necessary to take note of the direction of the corrugation. In this case, we want the corrugation to run perpendicular to length of the key faces.
Johnhall442 years ago
LOL...I wonder if it can unlock doors
sweet dude....good job....now im going to make it
kidproquo2 years ago
This turned out great. If given the option, however, the corrugation should run the length of the key. In this case, I assume you were limited by the size of both the sheet and the key.
Strombergundy (author)  kidproquo2 years ago
I suppose the corrugation could have run the length of the key If I had sheets of cardboard that were corrugated in the opposite direction.

Out of curiosity, why do you think I should have had it run the length of the key? With the corrugation oriented the way it was (perpendicular to the length) I was able to easily glue the last face in segments.

In the end, I used the corrugation the way I did I guess just to fit the key on the sheet of cardboard, so it wasn't really much of a conscious decision. Maybe next time I'll try the other way and see what benefits there might be.
The longer corrugation should be less likely to bend (think wood grain). Since the edges were glued anyway, it probably wouldn't have made a difference in this case. Just the way I was always taught.
Lindie2 years ago
That's fun!
Many times I see things made out of cardboard and I ask 'why?'. Not this time. This thing is awesome. Well done!
Strombergundy (author)  ATTILAtheHUNgry2 years ago
Thanks!
mg0930mg2 years ago
At first I was like, "why?'' Then I was like, "why not?"

This is really cool, and really well done.
Strombergundy (author)  mg0930mg2 years ago
Thanks, I appreciate it!
artichkme2 years ago
any chance you go to syracuse? making small things huge with cardboard was one of our freshman 3D projects.
Strombergundy (author)  artichkme2 years ago
It's actually funny that you should mention it, this was one of my school projects. The assignment sounds exactly the same, although I do not go to Syracuse, I go to school in NM. There must be some serious curriculum sharing going on methinks.

What did you end up making? Some other folks I know made a giant camera, butterfly knife and a few other interesting items.
ibeforee2 years ago
I see you used a Kwikset key as the main shape. I appreciate the head on these keys, however, have you thought of utilizing any other brands such as Schlage, Weiser, Yale, etc?
Strombergundy (author)  ibeforee2 years ago
I have thought of it since. My Grandfather is a locksmith so he made a point to show me other kinds of keys. The simple geometry of the Kwikset makes for easy construction though.
elizabeast2 years ago
I was wondering what kind of paint you used on it to finish the key? Wouldn't it make the cardboard curl up?
Strombergundy (author)  elizabeast2 years ago
I opted not to paint it at all which I would recommend. That way you are not hiding that it is made of cardboard, which will confound people due to its un-cardboard look.
codongolev2 years ago
if anyone makes a huge lock out of cardboard for this key to fit into, they win the internet.
amyclark2 years ago
WOW!! This is incredible!!! Beautiful! I am now making it my life's goal to make a giant cardboard key!! Thanks for the great instructable!
apavilus2 years ago
u shud continue on this and make it into a guitar or something cool
Cool, now make a lock for it to fit.
Dumchicken2 years ago
that must have a big lock
lockness key man for holloween
angelabchua2 years ago
whoa. this is pretty awesome! and i love the photos. kudos
Nice, now you need a door for it to go into.
I like your kitty :D and the ible, it's really neat :D i think it would look cool if you did an antique kind of key design........
raviolikid2 years ago
This is a nicely done piece, and I like your directions. They were very clear and the outcome was very professional-looking.

Congratulations!
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