Introduction: Glow in the Dark Carabiner Keyring

This instructable combines (at least) two topics:

  1. Using a screwable climbing carabiner as keyring,
  2. How to pimp that carabiner (or any other gear) so it glows in the dark
  3. plus some thoughts about additional EDC-items to be kept at the keyring.

It all started with loosing my mini-maglite that I carried with my keys as it fell from a simple carabiner that accidentially opened. The loss was not as bad, as I was always leering at these new, smalll LED flashlights and finally had a reason to buy the FenixE05 shown on the photo.

Step 1: Climbing Carabiner With Screw

It was clear to me that I would need a carabiner that I could lock and that would not unintentionally open.

All the smaller carabiner intented for keyrings or tools seemed inaprobriate, because they were either of low quality or at least to expensive for their (low) quality or could not be easiely locked (and quickly opened, if required!).

What I found at a reasonable price (between 10-15€) was a DMM climbing carabiner, that looks fashionable, can be locked by its screw and is of highest quality (because it is intended to be used for climbing, so you can trust your life on this piece of metal). It holds my keys now for more than three years and has never failed but stilll opens and closes as smooth as on the first day.

Isn't it a bit bulky and heavy? Yes, it is. But it not only holds my house, office and car keys but also some other stuff (see below for more information about this). It is big enough, so I can easiely attach it to any of my belts (not only to the belt loops but to the belt itself, see the photo above). Even if carried in plain sight, no pickpocket may take it from my belt once the screw is locked (except, perhaps, if I would be squeezed in an overcrowded bus or train and the thief would have the time to open the screw).

Having a solid climbing carabiner may also come in handy in many situations:

  • Need something for rappelling - no problem
  • Need a handle to carry some heavy grocery bags - here it is
  • Need to put some gear/bag onto your bagback or whatever - it's big enough for almost any belt or strap
  • And finally, need some non-leathal tool against some bad guys - look for a carabiner that is big enough so your hand fits in comfortably (brass-knuckles are forbidden to own or carry in many jurisdictions, but, hey, that's only a carabiner, isn't it ;-)

There are quite a lot of different sizes, shapes, colours and locking mechanisms on the market, so just try some of them and test out, which one fits best!

Step 2: How to Make It Glow in the Dark

The carabiner has some hollowed out spaces to reduce weight (as have some other tools, too).

I just used the following MATERIALS:

  1. glow in the dark powder
  2. clear, glow in the dark nail polish (but normal clear nail polish would also do)

Both things can be obtained at very low prices and at no shipping cost from (my absolutely preferred source for many other stuff, too, from paracord to neodymium magnets). Just be prepared that shipping may take up to two months (but sometimes only less than two weeks), at least to Germany (no idea how long it takes to other countries).

So what to do?

  1. Paint the deep parts with the nail polish (first photo, the upper right pit)
  2. Immediately thereafter dust the glow in the dark powder on the nail polish (second photo)
  3. Dump the excessive powder onto a folded paper to reuse it (third photo)
  4. Wait until the nail polish has completely dried, then give it another protective paint on top (fourth photo).

What it looks like in the dark shows the fith photo - you will much easier notice where your keys (or any other stuff marked in the same way) are.


  1. The glowing becomes less intensive the longer the powder has not been exposed to bright light, so it will probably not work if the keys rest in a dark handbag ...
  2. The paint may be weared off mechanically if exposed to much use, so it works best and lasts longer in the deeper parts, where it is not always scratched by the splitrings and keys.

Just as an idea I have not yet tried out (but perhaps you are interested in) - it should also work if you mix or cover the glow in the dark powder with clear epoxy glue, that might be much stronger than the nail polish I used here.

Step 3: Some Words About the Other Stuff

I did not want to make the following an extra instructable because I think it is not really an "instructable" but more some practical ideas that might be of interest to someone. But a few words about the other stuff that can be seen on my keyring (clockwise):

  1. On the upper right there is a CPR mask in a small bag (as I had some first-responder-training and do not want to apply moth-to-mouth breathing without some protection). I also added a pair of disposable gloves to the bag for the same reason. The whole bag is wraped with ranger band, because some rubber band may always be of use, it protects and holds together the bag and the red colour of the bag is too much an eyecatcher in my opinion (grey-man-theory, if you know what I mean).
  2. My favorite Fenix E05 - its so small and a flashlight is invaluable in so many situations. It is wrapped with some glow-in-the-dark paracord, that works as silencer, prevents some wear and tear, makes the flashlight easier to find in the dark and prevents it from rolling when not attached to the keyring.
  3. A really loud three-tone storm whistle (unfortunately I could not afford the Titanium version, so its only stainless steel). It is perfect as signalling device in any emergency or self-defense situation to attract other peoples attention.
  4. Obviously two car keys ...
  5. Further keys. One is wrapped with blue isolation tape, so I always can identify it at the very first glance. A handcuffs key - never used it until now, but you never know. A really cool Swiss+Tech Utili-Key - it replaces a pocket knife on my keyring (as I always carry a good lockable Victorinox Workchamp). It is a nice little cutting tool, screwdriver and bottle opener of reasonable quality for a low price and is absolutely unsuspicious between all the keys (in fact, it passes most x-ray machines and security screenings without any problems - different to even the smallest pocket knife).
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