Introduction: Sugru Key Head

Picture of Sugru Key Head

Nothing really new, nonetheless I share the technique I used to make a new grip head to my keys.

Many of you already know Sugru, the silicone-like material to fix things and make nice rubber parts. Since it's a very resistant material you can add a thin layer around your key heads and make them coloured and rubbery.

Step 1: Modeling

Picture of Modeling

After opening your sugru pack divide the sugru in small parts, depending on the number of keys you want to cover. Usually with a single Sugru pack you can cover three normal keys. Clean with alcohol the keys surface.

Divide again each part in two and place two halves on opposite sides You can both push a Sugru ball on the surface, or mold the Sugru in a cylinder and place it around the hole. I prefer this last method, since in the first case you then have to open the hole and move the paste away. Help yourself with a pen to open and keep clean the hole, then clean all the edges, push Sugru with you fingers on all the surface, especially on the edge.

I used a piece of cloth to imprint a texture on the paste surface. Here is where you can make your keys very characteristic. Depending on the fabric or the object you use, key's head will be more or less unique.

Step 2: Imprint the Texture

Picture of Imprint the Texture

Place the key between two layers of cloth and gently press for about ten seconds, no need to push hard. Then take out the key and check there are no imperfections. You can make the process again if you wish, second pass will cover the first one.

Place the key on a support and let it rest for about two or three hours. I did it stupidly before having to go out, and it was very funny since there is no way to close the door avoiding to ruin your new grip before at least one hour...

Step 3: Carry on With Other Keys

Picture of Carry on With Other Keys

You can mix colours, apply different shades on opposite faces, close the Sugru around the edge or not, refine the edges with a cutter, try a lot of clothes and objects as mold, a prototype breadboard, a strainer, the grid of your pc fan, a sponge, a brush... and so on. If you want to polish the Sugru use a sponge and water.


atokad33 (author)2015-07-08

How well do these key heads last? i have a lot of keys that i am trying to organize and sharpie and the plastic covers dont last well enough to have a system

starphire (author)atokad332016-05-15

At the other end of the scale, the key heads I covered in Sugru lasted less than a year before the edges wore through and the sides just fell off (even though I had carefully cleaned them before applying it). That was carrying them on a ring in my pocket daily, though. Honestly, those cheap plastic key covers last longer for me, at a lower cost.

S189 (author)atokad332016-05-05

I know this is a long time after it was asked but, depending how rough you are with your keys and whether or not you play/worry at it, it can last *years*. I don't have a picture of it but I did my car keys a few years ago and they're they're still good, very little wear if any.

sarawelder (author)2016-05-05

another idea to identify keys... drill small holes in random patterns on your keys and fill holes with sugru.. you won't need much. you can just mix the sugru colors to get any colour you need

andrea biffi (author)sarawelder2016-05-11

Thanks Sara! it's a good idea!

DavidK75 (author)2016-05-05

Wonderful! I have just moved hide and have an oddly shaped key head! Thank you, I hadn't even considered that, even though I have some sugru that I've only ever used one sachet of I may sneak downstairs thought now and so it so it'll be ready to surprise my wife in the morning! (it's 4.30am)

sarawelder (author)2016-05-05

nice idea. I have not tried patterning sugru...I can't think why! It lasts for ages with me... different animal from poly clay.... don't be fooled ... you can't make the real thing as well!

DonnH1 (author)2016-05-05

O/K here's an idea for those who have actually worn the Sugru off of key heads, maybe try using poly clay. You can get it from arts stores but instead of letting it simply dry you bake it on. With that in mind it would not stick like Sugru but if you wrap it as has been suggested then it would harden in the bake process and stay on very well. It comes in all colours and you can pattern it like Sugru using fabric. Once it has cured and cooled you can polish it up if necessary. I have a neighbour who ships art work made of poly clay around the world. It's quite amazing what an artist can do with it. Anyway it's just another avenue to go. Of course it has a plastic feel about it and not a silicon feel so it all depends what the end result is you want. With poly clay you can blend colours or include colours within another. Anyway I liked this post, some good ideas.

RastaWife (author)2016-05-05

Okay, so I have never heard of Sugru but then I am a grandma so I get a pass. I am a crafter and my head is spinning with crafting possibilities for this stuff. How did you get the colored Sugru? Sharpies? Alcohol ink markers?

Gamer4Fire (author)RastaWife2016-05-05

You can also make your own sugru:

And you can make it any color you want.

Sugru is a silicone-based putty that cures to be a flexible rubber-like stuff. It comes in a variety of colors. It's available mail order as well as in a number of stores. Here in the US Target and Ace Hardware carry it. The Sugru site lists other retail outlets.

sharpstick (author)2016-05-05

To make it more durable: Drill some holes through the key head and cut notches in the edges before putting the Sugru on. Make sure the Sugru is pushed through the holes so both sides are connected. To make it even stronger, thread some string or wire through the holes and notches first. This will give the Sugru something better than smooth metal to bond to.

Hypathie made it! (author)2014-06-25

I actually covered a USB key with the Sugru. Thank you for the tutorial: great use for left-over Sugru for instance. For texture, I used a tatami coaster. Although I've used Sugru many times before, I did not find the key-covering process that easy. You have to be careful to keep it thin, otherwise it adds too much weight which can be a concern in your pockets.

aurasolar (author)2014-06-03

Really, it is very simple. I never tried it.

hammer9876 (author)2014-05-16

I really, really like the idea, but have no experience with Sugru. (I know, I hang my head in shame.) Does it set up with a rubbery feel, or a plastic feel? If I don't like it after all, can you remove Sugru from metal?

andrea biffi (author)hammer98762014-05-31

Hi, the feeling is more like silicone than rubber, you can remove it with a little effort

hammer9876 (author)andrea biffi2014-05-31

Good to know. Thank you!

lindarose92 (author)2014-05-14

"Why didn't I think of that?!" is what came to my mind after seeing these. Great idea!!

andrea biffi (author)lindarose922014-05-31

thanks Linda!

vincent7520 (author)2014-05-15

Perfect idea !

Perfect creation !

Thanks for posting …

andrea biffi (author)vincent75202014-05-31

you're welcome :)

Deltic (author)2014-05-16

I have done this (without the texturing, which looks great btw) & embedded small magnets in the sugru. Now my keys stay bunched neatly togther on my keyring. Also by varying the polarities my 2 front door keys keep together but stay apart from my back door keys as the magnets repel.

andrea biffi (author)Deltic2014-05-31

that's really smart! congrats!

gowri (author)2014-05-16

Look like a factory made there any alternative for sugru,in our country we have no supply .

Thank you for sharing.

andrea biffi (author)gowri2014-05-31

are you sure? I think Sugru ships worldwide...

f1dd13r (author)2014-05-16

That looks so clean. I am definitely going to have a go on my keys.

andrea biffi (author)f1dd13r2014-05-31

great! :)

foobear (author)2014-05-20


andrea biffi (author)foobear2014-05-31

thanks! :)

Vampyra65 (author)2014-05-17

This was really cool! Thanks for showing me how.

andrea biffi (author)Vampyra652014-05-22

you're welcome!

starphire (author)2014-05-16

This was in fact the very first thing I tried to do with Sugru, with a smiley-face imprint on the side. I loved it!

as long as it lasted, before the edges wore off and the sides started
to fall off - about 4 months in my pants pocket. I'd assume it will last
longer in daily use in a less dynamic environment than a pocket, but I
think it's a caveat worth making people aware of. It adheres well for a while, but something - whether it's just a lot of little tugs and impacts, or going through temperature swings, or what, I don't know. But it stops sticking after a while, even if you clean it really well first.

jlvking (author)starphire2014-05-20

Starphire... Did you have it around all the edges? I would expect the ones that are just on the two larger sides to seperate but if it was all the way around the key (and the edges were a little thicker at the corners where it wrapped) I would expect it to last longer.

starphire (author)jlvking2014-05-20

jlvking - yes, it was a fairly even thickness wrapped around the head of the key, a little thinner than the ones in this instructable. But not much thinner. At first, it wore through the corners/edges of the key and spread along the edge until enough of the two sides were unconnected to each other that they started to separate from the metal and kind of flap around. I did have one side fall completely off before the other side, and peeled away the last remaining adhesion spot on that side at that point in the experiment.

Maybe wrapping the head with something fibrous and working the sugru in over that might help reinforce the edges, I don't know.

andrea biffi (author)starphire2014-05-17

thanks, that's useful to know

hunter999 (author)2014-05-18

Haha, nice one! I take it the Sugru is comfortable to hold as well (I actually haven't really used my Sugru that I won from a contest last year)

Awesome job Andrea!! :D

andrea biffi (author)hunter9992014-05-19

use it soon! it won't last forever!

jane carter (author)2014-05-16

sencillo y facil, gracias

projectsugru (author)2014-05-15

Wow another great one from you Andrea! Love the idea of using fabric to get that textured finish. Awesome.

:) glad you like it!

thanks Sugru team!

DDW_OR (author)2014-05-15

will sugru be harmed by UV light, like sunlight in Arizona?

andrea biffi (author)DDW_OR2014-05-16

wow another good reason to come to California... to test the keys!

Jobar007 (author)2014-05-14

It is interesting.... I cut those off all of the keys I can (without damaging the internal chip) because they make my key chain too bulky. Different things for different people, and that's a good thing.

Muniosi (author)2014-05-13

Really cool! I love all the uses for sugru!

andrea biffi (author)Muniosi2014-05-13


ASCAS (author)2014-05-13

Those are luxurious looking keys! :D

andrea biffi (author)ASCAS2014-05-13

yup, I like customisation :)

wilgubeast (author)2014-05-13

Cloth texture! Genius. Did you need to rough up the key's handle for the Sugru to adhere, or was cleaning it enough?

andrea biffi (author)wilgubeast2014-05-13

You're right, I forgot to recommend that... I think it's really important cleaning the surface with alcohol. At least it worked great for me and I also tried detaching Sugru, but it adheres very well.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, and I'm teaching physics in Waldorf schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and ... More »
More by andrea biffi:Wood Rocket LampLasercut Little Wood BoxesSafe Clasps for Bike Pannier Bags
Add instructable to: