Picture of Skeleton Key
Clever saying when given as a gift not included.

1 Coat Hanger
1 Paper Clip
1 Crystal
Heat Source

Keep in mind solder is a bonding material and not so much a filling material. So it can tricky to work with. Also, solder is softer the steel so it will file off faster.
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Step 1: Strip a coat hanger

Picture of Strip a coat hanger
Use sand paper to remove any coating on a section of coat hanger. To help speed up the process I spun a piece in my drill press.

CAUTION! If you do it this make sure to hold the wire before you turn the drill on. Otherwise the section of wire will turn into a whip / weed wacker. Be careful and work within your experience.

Step 2: Make Rings

Picture of Make Rings
Use the size socket you want to make rings. I used a 5mm. Make a smaller ring for the shaft. Then use a paper clip to make two more shaft rings. The amount of rings or spirals is up to you. Have fun with it.

File the free ends of the paper clip rings so the close with a nice fit.

Step 3: Solder

Picture of Solder
Arrange the rings for your handle.

Apply flux to the areas where you want the solder to bond. Use a heat source to solder.

 It may take a few applications.

Step 4: Make the blade

Picture of Make the blade
Hammer a section of wire flat. To do this you have to hit the wire squarely. It you hammer off center the wire will hook to the right or left.

Cut three pieces and solder them together. File the pieces to remove tool marks.

Step 5: Finish the soldering

Picture of Finish the soldering
Slip on the base ring. I uses a spiral of three wraps and filed the ends flat. Also position the paper clip rings and use a tiny amount of solder to hold those in place too.

Lay the key flat and but the blade up against the shaft. Solder it on. Be careful no to use too much heat or the soldered blades will come apart.

Clean up the excess solder. I used a combination of a rotary tool bit, a file, and sand paper. Polish with polishing compound and a buffing wheel.
Dale FaithE made it!1 month ago

can you make key chains likethis?

deadpooltacos9 months ago

you amaze me, mrballeng, as i'm trying to think of my first 'ible, you give me inspiration for what to do, you are a very creative man.

Mrballeng (author)  deadpooltacos9 months ago
Thanks. I'd much rather be in the garage the watching tv. Looking forward to what you post.
Keira_Yagami11 months ago

I was considering making this for a good friend of mine, but I have a couple questions. First: Is there any other material that you would recommend making this out of... something more sturdy? Second: I have a half carat garnet that I thought about putting in it instead of a stick on gem. Do you have any tips for setting it, or should I just follow the instructions above? Thanks for the help, and love your work. ^-^

Mrballeng (author)  Keira_Yagami11 months ago
The material is up to you. A big factor being how big the final product is going to be. For setting a stone take a look at this
Keep in mind though I've never tried this method with garnet. Best of luck.
30700751 year ago
Sorry to ask, but I couldn't quite tell what was used for the shaft. Was it the coat hanger with paperclips wrapped around, or was it another piece of metal?
Mrballeng (author)  30700751 year ago
It was the coat hanger with paperclips wrapped around. You know where to find me if you have anymore questions. Brent :)
vnh19701 year ago
This is really cool. Love it. :)
Magik-2 years ago
Very cool!
spamsucks2 years ago
Ok I only saw this project today, and I cant really stick with the constructive comments part as I have none. This is an awsome project, and I really want to try it now. :-)

Thanks so much for posting it
Spitfire6903 years ago
My solder doesn't want to stick. I'm using the same solder as you, and flux, but it just beads, no matter what temperature...
Most common beginner mistake is heating the solder and not the metal. For best results, heat the metal until the metal is hot enough to melt the solder. then apply the flux first immediately followed by the solder.

There are several kinds of solder and several kinds of flux. For jewelry the best solder is called silver solder. It melts at a higher temperature and is harder than electronic or plumbing solder when it solidifies. You will need to find the proper flux type for silver solder.

The purpose of flux is to clean the metal of any surface impurities and allow the heat to spread evenly - and it should sizzle and evaporate when you apply it to hot metal. Don't inhale the fumes.

Modern electronic solder is lead free and does not stick nearly as well as the older lead/tin electronic solder. - Silver solder is still the best for this type project
Mrballeng (author)  Spitfire6903 years ago
Make sure the metal is free of any oxydation. Also keep in mind that hardened metals are difficult to solder.
Emsaid3 years ago
I made one similar to this! except it was out of a solid piece of metal then I bent it and turned it into a bracelet, I meant to take a picture to show you but I dont have it anymore but it looks really cool
scoochmaroo3 years ago
I love this too! Do you have a shop where you sell your jewelry? This needs to be in my collection.
Mrballeng (author)  scoochmaroo3 years ago
Don't have a shop but I'll let you know if I ever open for business.=)
I second that! I love skeleton keys! And that one is beautiful!
black hole3 years ago
You know, I saw pendants that looked like this going for $30.
rapidkhan3 years ago
i made this and turned it into a bookmark
cninjette3 years ago
could you possibly attach the rings with a jewel in the middle of them?
Again, very nice indeed!

One question , if you don`t mind , about the solder ...

Is this just soft solder , or silver solder ?

What do you use as your heat source ?

Most impressive work , lovely to look at.
Mrballeng (author)  victorvector3 years ago
It's silver solder. The kind you find in the plumbing section at any home improvement store. As a heat source I use a $15 torch, also in the plumbing section. I'm going to make another key soon. I think the sheet metal I bought will make for better materials.
Ichmawida3 years ago
how thick is a coathanger? like the gauge or mm?
Mrballeng (author)  Ichmawida3 years ago
I would guess between 1.5 to 2.5 mm. I'll measure and let you know.
cool thanks :)
ehudwill3 years ago
I am going to make this for my daughters. They would love it.
taueret3 years ago
I love this! Also I think it would look even better a bit rusty. I would never have thought of using coat hanger wire. Can't wait to experiment.
Amazing! I love how you make amazing little things out of incredibly common things :) So many perfect gift ideas!
Mr.Sanchez3 years ago
Weekend ^Project...Soon the Pics....thnks.
iPodGuy3 years ago
Please don't ever stop making instructables.
B.F.L.M3 years ago
Amazing! this is going on my todo list
Very cool! my wife is getting into jewlery makeing and has even talked about useing keys like this. Thanks you just saved me some money!