How to Hide a Key, Effectivley




So, my house got broken into over the summer. Since then, we've been changing locks and such, until we got to a door with a huge window in it.
It's the door that goes outside to our firewood storage area, and we use it regularly. Only issue is, any lock we put on it can be opened by just breaking the glass, and putting your arm through.
We narrowed our options down to two, get a new door without glass, or a double locking deadbolt.
So, after hours of battling with the lock, one side one side working, and the other not, (Bought at home depot, figures) we had to make the tough decision about what to do with the key. We couldn't just leave it in, or put it anywhere close by. That would defeat the purpose.
We decided to disguise it. Read on for details, if the picture isn't enough.

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Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Tools

There's not a lot you need.

For parts, you need a spare light switch plate, a dimmer knob, and obviously, a key.

For tools, you need a torch (lighter works, torch better), a pair of pliers, and a 4 sided square file, a glue gun, and hot glue sticks.

Step 2: Make the Knob and Key Assembly

Honestly, I didn't do this the best way that I could have done it. It still works, but, I suggest using better methods. Perhaps using a dremel or milling out the space for the key, instead of how I did it. But I didn't feel like breaking out any tools, so, bear with me.

First, grab the key with the pliers. You wouldn't want to get a severe burn. Then start the torch up, and proceed to heat the end of the key that'll go into knob. Check every few seconds for when it's hot enough to melt the plastic ring type thing in the middle of the knob. Once it's at that point, turn off the torch, and melt yourself a groove in the knob where the key will reside. Push it down with the pliers until it hits the bottom, then stop and hold the key straight up till it cools. I wouldn't recommend dipping it in water, since the plastic may crack.

Once that's cooled, grab your glue gun, and fill in the area around the base of the key. This isn't completely necessary, if your key is held in good enough by the melted plastic, but I did it for added strength.

Step 3: Take Care of the Plate

Depending on which kind of key you have, it might be larger than the hole in the plate. If it is, then take the 4 side file and sand the top and bottom. Continually test the key, to make sure you have a good fit. Alternatively, you could use a dremel.

Once that's done, you want to mount the plate on the wall. You need to make sure it's NOT on a stud, just in drywall. This is so the key can go in without any issues. Don't forget to use a level!

Step 4: Make the Key Fit

Simplest step. Just push the key through the drywall in the hole of the plate. Do it slowly, so it's just a hole, not a crater.

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    76 Discussions


    3 years ago

    great clever...will do it as soon as I get home

    If you're worried about someone breaking the glass to reach for the lock, doesn't that just mean they could make a bigger hole in the glass and walk right through?

    7 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Just FYI, those are called mullions. Here's another idea: get a piece of plexiglas (perspex) about an inch bigger then the window in the door (those are called lights). Mount it with screws and dome washers. It will make it REAL hard to bust through the window and also adds insulating value, like thermopane. If you wanna be real flash about it, cover it with picture frame molding and paint it-it'll look like the door was made that way.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Better yet, use 1/4" thick Polycarbonate (trade names Lexan (U.S.) or Merlon (United Kingdom)) for a frustrating surprise for the burgler.

    Also how about a key outside, knob inside dead bolt located more than an arm length below the window.
    In an Altzhimer's ward the exit doors had a second knob above head height (and eye level) on the theory that the patients would not see and thus not turn the knob.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Polycarb is good, if somewhat spendy. Be aware it's not real hard to scratch.

    True enough about Alzheimer's patients, but you want the stress evenly distributed if someone tries to kick the door in. That would be about 1 meter above the floor, or else one installed 1/3 up from the floor AND one installed 1/3 down from the header.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Sandwich 1/4" (or even thicker polycarbonate) between sheets of normal window glass. Clean glass well before making sandwich. The window glass prevents scratches on the pc. In this case, use the existing pane as one side of the sandwich. Crush some very dry silica gel dessicant into powder and put on bottom inside sandwich on either side of the PC where is will be invisible behind frame; this will keep moisture down should any get in. Seal the edges with high grade silicone sealant. Modify the frame/door to accommodate the extra thickness and reinstall any mullions removed previously. It would look great and make a would-be thief look like an idiot trying to break through. If you really want the full monty, replace the mullions with steel look-a-likes that project into a steelcase door several inches.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Your glass-polycarbonate-glass sandwich would just yeld two broken panes of glass and a pain to clean up.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That kind of goes without saying, doesn't it? The point is that polycarbonate scratches very easy so the glass would allow you to clean the exposed surfaces without scratching the poly. Note that the post I was replying to pointed out that it scratches easily. Read much?


    7 years ago on Step 4

    It's not a bad idea for that situation deevoid mentions, but for outside personally I like to hide a key *far* from my door, so people will never figure out it's for my front door! Even if your in a big city, using a magnetic key holder several doors down in a hidden location is much better then having it nearby. Someone can accidentally find it. Just if your in an apt, do not hide it on your floor as someone may find it and decides to start testing the key on all the doors.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    this is a good idea but an easier way to do it would be to get one of those outlet wall safes which are just little compartments that look like wall outlets.
    you can get one here for 8 bucks

    9 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    That would take too much effort to get the key, for my specific use. Plus it's more expensive. The door the key opens goes out to the firewood storage area, so when I'm carrying in a load of wood, I'd only have 1 hand for dealing with the key. That would be a great idea for other areas, though.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    also, now that i think of it. they have key holders that can hold a key or two that mounts to the wall or the outside of your house, and all you do is punch in a little code and you get the key


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    if you remove the battery on these and apply 110VAC to the contacts it will open reveling the key.....sometimes


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    ya they have those things on the show "It Takes a Theif" on the discovery channel.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I love that show too! :) go to and they have free tv+movies legally so try to see it there


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The "It Takes a Thief" on is a drama from the late 60's.
    Pretty sure its not the same show.