Sugru Key Head

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About: 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 science in general, I'm a passiona...

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

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

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

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.

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48 Discussions

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atokad33

3 years ago on Introduction

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

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starphireatokad33

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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S189atokad33

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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sarawelder

2 years ago

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

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DavidK75

2 years ago

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)

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sarawelder

2 years ago

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!

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DonnH1

2 years ago

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.

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RastaWife

2 years ago

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?

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bruce.desertratRastaWife

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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sharpstick

2 years ago

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.

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hammer9876

4 years ago on Introduction

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?

2 replies