DIY KeySmart/Key Organizer





Introduction: DIY KeySmart/Key Organizer

About: Hi, I'm Mark! I make Instructables of things I find cool so follow me and check my stuff out! :)

So, I was browsing the internet and came across a couple of key organizers such as these: and

These are pretty cool right? What's not cool is their price tag, so why not make one that is just as effective and durable for a fraction of the cost? This project in all of its entirety costs ~$6.80 (not including keys). That's more than $38 dollars less than the name-brand key organizers!

Today, I have the honor of showing you how to make your very own KeySmart/KeyBar/Key Organizer. It keeps your keys all organized, easy to use and take out, and no more key "jingle"!

Step 1: Materials

So here's what you'll need for this project:

Keys (Preferably 3+)

2 Mending plates

Metal Washers

2 Bolts

2 Nuts

Key loop ♦

*Using all the items on this list will cost you about $6.80.*

☺I used 3.5" but these 3" ones should work just as fine.

☻Amount of washers needed depends on how many keys/key loops you want to store

♥ I used hex bolts but these are fine

♦ You can make a key loop out of a soda tab. I'm not sure what this piece is called though.

Step 2: Beginning Your Key Organizer

Start by inserting your bolts to the end holes of one of your mending plates. Then, flip the whole thing upside down so that the threaded end of the bolts face up. Slide two washers down the bolts.

Step 3: Key Placement

Place two keys on the bolt over the washers you recently placed down. Then place another washer over each key, to provide space for the next key. Repeat this process until you have all your keys placed, spaced by washers. I like to place the keys in which the "teeth" of the keys face inward. Also stagger the stacking of each key so that one key from the left lays on one from the right making it so that when the keys are stored in, they all fit nicely together. Use washers to make sure that you use as much of the bolt thread as possible (I will say why in the next step). When you're finished, place two washers on top.

*Check out the pictures for clarification.

Step 4: Finishing Your Key Organizer

Make sure there are washers on top of the last set of keys/key loop. Also, make sure you have a little thread left showing on the top of the bolt. This will minimize the excess thread left showing that might catch on clothing or cause discomfort when stored in your pocket.

Then, place the second mending bracket on top of the keys, aligning the bolts to the correct holes. Then, place a nut on each end of the bolt and tighten.

The more you tighten the bolt, the more tightly the key will be held in, but it will also be more difficult to pull the keys out. Vice versa for not tightening the bolts as much.


Yay! Now you have completed the DIY KeySmart/KeyBar/Key Organizer and saved yourself $38+! No more key jingle, fumbling around for keys, porcupine feeling in your pocket due to bunched up keys, and now you have a really awesome way to hold your keys! I hope you enjoyed my "ible" and I look forward to seeing everyone's take on my key organizer.

Make sure you share your experience and pictures with me if you decide to create this project as well.

While you're here, may I ask that you vote for my "ible" in the contests in which it is entered in. I would appreciate it immensely.



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39 Discussions

I love the fact that you used Meccano. Ingenious!


2 years ago

that is one super compact tool!

What is it called?

To make it even nicer use Chicago Screws instead of the nut and bolt.

I think i just found a use for that erector set the kids keep leaving out......

anyone know where to get a keyloop? is there anything that can be used besides the soda tab?

Thanks for the instructable. I made two, one for my wife and myself. I got the mending plates and attachment loops at Lowe's for less than $5, and that's for enough plates for six organizers. I chose to get bolts at Ace because they have a much better selection. These things really cut down on the jingling and binding of keys, but adding or removing keys isn't as easy. I think that's a small price to pay, though.

2015-08-11 15.49.06.jpg
1 reply

I am not from from US

Can you tell me what is meant by by mending plate.

Is this a readily available part?

I would like to have a drawing for the that I can make it.


4 replies

A mending plate is just a piece of metal with holes drilled at regular intervals. It is used for things like cracks in wood. It spans the crack or break and pulls the pices togther. They do the same thing with badly broken bones in your body.


Of course I see this after spending $25 on a manufactured one! Will be making some of these as gifts. A note: one cool thing I found out is that these are great for people with MS or arthritis in their hands. It's much easier to grip than a single key and can actually use the whole device for help with leverage.

I have some advice that you might find useful.

I built my own from scratch and went through a few iterations before I settled on a final design. The main issues I had when I was mucking about with it were that 1) no matter how much I adjusted the bolts, they would always loosen in my pocket and let the keys swing around and get caught on everything, and 2) I had to space out the keys more than just one washer (I was using 1/16" washers with #8 bolts) because the keys I was using were 1/8". I also found that the keys scraped against the washers and plates of the device. I tried using LocTite, and that was a terrible idea. I tried nyloc nuts, and they were too bulky when I went down to 11 gauge aluminum plate. I ended up tapping the opposite plate and using low profile machine screws, and that streamlined the device. What I did to fix the key scraping issue (because I had actually cut the blades off of the keys and drilled holes in them) was to make some plastic washers and put them in between the keys. I like your design, and I think it's a better choice for having more than two keys (all I need for now). I hope this info helps you and any others out.

Another suggestion: nylon washers. They are a bit more slippery than metal ones and are a bit more forgiving when tightening.

awesome. you can make it even less expensive if you use that metal strap plumbers & AC people use to tie pipes. i though that's what you had used. also, to make room, the key ring loop can be made right on one of the side plates instead of using an adapter that takes space that can be used for a key. good job man. voted.

1 reply

pipe strap is meant to be somewhat flexible, probably too flexible for this kind of application.