Bottle Opener Key




About: I'm an English teacher and former Instructables staff member.

Whenever I stand up from a seated position, my first instinct is to perform a sort of signum crucis* to check for my wallet, keys, and phone. I can generally do anything with those supplies. Except open a frosty, bottled beverage that does not have a twist-off cap. I can open a bottle with a lighter, an Expo marker, and a table top. I have even used my teeth. But nothing beats that Boy Scouty sensation of always being prepared.

I need a low-profile bottle opener. Currently, I am using one of these to hold my keys and to open my bottles. It's cool, but it's huge. I have nearly worn through a pair of jeans with this monstrosity, and the time has come for a more permanent solution. I remember coming across this little gem** several months ago, and it seems like an easy enough project to do in an afternoon. A bottle opener that doesn't leave an unwanted bulge in my pants. A bottle opener that is on my person at all times, but no more noticeable than my housekey.

So here's what we've got after a trip to the hardware store for some extra keys:

a bottle opener cut into the bow*** of the key
a pile of brass dust (aka Maker glitter)
an open frosty bottled beverage

This project should take you all of fifteen minutes to complete, and that includes the time spent consuming your beverage.

*Holler si Latine loqueris. You know, the sign of the cross. Spectacles and so forth. Go watch a Mass or Austin Powers, depending on your religious inclination.
**The Makr site sells a much more attractive version of this project. Buy one from them if you don't have and can't borrow a Dremel.
***For those of you non-keysmiths out there, a key is divided into two major parts: the bow and the blade. Yes, that sounds like a sweet fantasy novel and/or RPG, but it's just the handle and the sticky-out part.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Supplies

  • Key(s)
  • Bottle opener
  • Sharpie
  • Safety goggles
  • Dremel
  • Vise
  • Frosty beverage

Reluctant to (possibly) destroy one of my personal keys, I used a few discarded keys from the local hardware store. Just ask. They'll probably have a few cut keys that don't work for whatever reason. Or you can just jump in and try it with your house key.

You'll probably want to use a regular bottle opener as a template for the shape of the cut you'll make in your key. It really helps to have a pattern to follow.

Safety goggles are a must for this. You'll be staring intently at your key. Bits of brass will fly at your eyes. Cover them up. I ended this project covered in brass shavings. I looked like a four year old after an unattended arts and crafts class. But my eyes were mercifully brass glitter-free.

For the Dremel, you'll need a cutting disk and a sanding wheel. You could do this with a grown-up grinder, but it'll require a very deft touch. Use the Dremel. Keep your fingers.

Speaking of finger safety, use a vise. You might be able to get away with a pony clamp, but you will definitely not want to just hold the key in one hand and the Dremel in the other. Unless you are a cyborg.*

For the frosty beverage, I recommend a Mexican Coke. The kind that uses real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Or just get the tamarind-flavored Jarritos. Or, you know, a carbonated hops-based alcoholic beverage. 

*If you are, in fact, a cyborg, you may skip all of these steps and just use your metal claws to unbottle your drinks.

Step 2: Prep

Using the Sharpie, trace the shape of the bottle opener onto your key. Be sure to leave enough bow on the key to attach the key to your keychain. And be sure that you are marking the key on the flat side of the blade. If you cut the other side, you'll end up with key teeth digging into your hand every time you want to open a fresh drink. [I made this mistake in my prototype. It's unpleasant. Big thanks to thartley for noticing the notch placement and pointing it out. You owe your pain-free fingers to him.]

Set up your vise on your work surface.

Get those glasses on.

Plug in/charge your Dremel.

Put the key into the vise with the Sharpied side visible.

Place the frosty beverage in a safe place within view of your work space. You'll want it on hand for motivational and testing purposes.

Step 3: Cut and Grind

With your Dremel's power set to about 1/2 speed, start cutting along your marker line. Go slowly and err on the side of caution. Crank up the Dremel's speed once you've got an idea of how easy it is to cut through the key.

When your cuts are as close as possible to the pattern you drew, test your key on your bottle. Does it seem like it'll fit beneath the bottle cap? Is there sufficient room for the key to bite into the top of the bottle cap? If so, you're good to move onto the finishing step. If not, compare and contrast with your bottle opener template. Redraw your lines and cut some more.

Once you've got your basic cuts made, it's time to switch to the sanding wheel. Pick something that'll fit nicely inside your freshly cut key. It'll smooth it out, make it look properly round, and grind down any sharp edges that'd ruin your pockets. You can make the negative space a bit bigger without jeopardizing your basic shape if you are judicious with your sanding.

Step 4: Pop Bottles

Use your key to open the bottle. This is the moment of truth. It may take a few tries, but that's what you get with such a tiny lever. The end result is worth it. An always-with-you, low-profile bottle opener.

Drink up.

Summer Camping Challenge

Participated in the
Summer Camping Challenge

2 People Made This Project!


  • Indoor Lighting Contest

    Indoor Lighting Contest
  • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

    Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
  • DIY Summer Camp Contest

    DIY Summer Camp Contest

52 Discussions


6 years ago on Introduction

Boom! Amazing and well written. Took me just under 10 minutes.
Couple of tips:
Since its a very detail specific project and i used a dremel cutoff wheel (which comes in one size) i just ran it against a rock until it was 1/2" diameter.
If you can get a key that has the 3 triangle holes (kwikset ) it'll make this a bit easier.
I didn't have a vice, so just put the key on an ice-cube on top of sandpaper so the key wont over-heat. BEWARE: this is not the safe way at all!

I popped 2 beers during, 1 after the initial cuts, the 2nd after detailing and finishing.


Fantastic idea, thanks a lot - finally a good replacement for my key chain bottle opener - a real key bottle opener! I used the left hand design, and it works well. You're right it is a little ugly (and rather sharp before it was sanded) but it works! Thanks a lot, great idea! :-)

If you're in downtown San Francisco, you could always swing by our lab and pick one up from the deli just below us on your way in. And a few large-chain grocery stores also carry Coke with real sugar, but finding them can be hit or miss. If you encounter a consistent supply, announce it to the world (or just to Instructables.) I'm sure you're not the only one who'd like to find a steady supply of sweet, syrupy sugar water.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Sam's Clubs have Mexico Coke. I've also heard that Costco has it as well. The small "Mexican" grocery stores and restaurants have them as ryanmercer stated.

If you do have Kroger's in your area it'll be in their 'ethnic' or 'international' aisle. Same goes with most big chain groceries really, but your best bet is a Mexican grocery.

Find a Mexican grocery in your area, they almost always have glass bottled coke and other glass bottled sodas (, also if you have Kroger's in your area they'll have some generally as well as other Mexican sodas)


8 years ago on Introduction

As a previous comment mentioned there are two different styles of cuts shown in the top image. The one on the left is the one in the movie. This one works. The one on the right is pretty useless. I doubt if it ever works. There is nothing to leverage against. I think you should get rid of that one and only focus on the one on the left to avoid confusion. It means aligning the "church key" handle appropriately when you use it as a template. You might show that too. But it is a great idea. I'm just bummed because I just made the useless one on the right and now I can't open my beer.

2 replies

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Yeah, sorry if the picture was misleading. I had hoped that the design on the right would work a little differently by placing the notch over the bottle cap with the key all the way over the bottle (rather than next to it as shown in the video.) I thought it might be neat to have one that you push down on rather than lift up. Turns out... that's a no-go.

Unfortunately, I gave the best example of a bottle-opening key to the guy who sold me all the bottled beverages that appear in this project. If you (or anyone else, really), have a good photo of a working model of this, include it in the comments and I'll switch the main image of the Instructable to your image.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

wilgubeast, I've attached some images of the key-opener I made that uses the "push down" method for opening. It works great! The trick is to save the nub at the base of the long part of the key. The "nub" (probably called the shoulder) will be the pivot that you lever against. I've attached some pictures. I hope they help. Let me know if you want a better "action" shot.


This also looks like something that could be done with a jeweler's saw, for people with a little more time on their hands. I have a dremel, too, but I think I'll try sawing first.

I just cut an opener out of my garage door key with the jeweler's saw - shown here with the opener on my Utilikey (which is OK, but has to unclipped from the keyring to use).


Nice job of your Key Opener, thanks for sharing.
You've been patched and awarded a 3-month Pro Membership to the site!


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen, my collaborator on the project... Mr. Mikeasaurus! (applause and screaming) He did the video and the photos and helped prototype a working template. He also drank that beer in the video.


8 years ago on Introduction

For those of us who are married, a wedding ring makes a nice bottle opener too. I suppose any ring will work, but I find my tungsten-carbide ring is perfect for popping beer tops!


8 years ago on Introduction

You can make one that's more interesting looking and durable out of a bit key (popularly known as a "skeleton key"). The blanks are made of cast iron and won't wear out as fast.


8 years ago on Introduction

i did this with a ring ---in fact i kind of copied thinkgeek's idea's---(go see on in "geek tools" and search for a ring with a bottle cap beside it)

1 reply