Vehicle Key Safe




Introduction: Vehicle Key Safe

About: I make and create anything that comes to my mind from skateboard hooks to garden rooms. And I footle around with electronics and instruments at night....and I have a passion for reducing waste packaging by m...

I headed off to go my new to me van has a door lock button and wouldn't work well after being tucked inside my wetsuit!

Grab an old bike frame and make a super easy vehicle key safe...

Step 1: Bits + Pieces

Just a few materials -

An old steel bike frame, large enough for the key to fit inside.

A long shackle combination lock

Vinyl adhesive paper for stencils

Spray paint - colour of choice [Montana 94 cans are my preferred for stencil spraying due to the low pressure spray]

Clear metal lacquer

Welding wire or rivets

Tools -

Angle grinder and cutting + grinding discs


Metal files


Drill - slightly larger than padlock shackle

Metal countersink

Welder or pop riveter

Step 2: Clean Up the End

Cut the frame to make sure that the key can fit easily inside...

...and grind off the paint to the end

Step 3: Flatten

Hammer the end flat, leaving the corners open so that any water that may get into the key safe will run out.

Step 4: Cut to Length

Work out the length that you need, allowing for a key fob if you have one...

...rough cut to length

Step 5: Weld

Weld the flattened end to stop the metal being prised apart.

Remember to leave the ends open for water to run out in use.

I was fortunate to borrow a friends welder though if you don't have the use of one pop rivets would work well.

Step 6: Clean Up

Clean up all of the outside of the frame section if you have not done so already

Step 7: Final Cut to Length

Make a nice end cut allowing for the key and the hole to be drilled for the padlock...

...clean the cut end with metal files until nice to the touch

Step 8: Drill a Hole

Drill a hole slightly larger than the padlock shackle right through both sides of the open end.

Check before drilling that the key will not bypass the padlock shackle.

Countersink the holes a little to clean them up.

Step 9: Stencil + Paint

Cut out some cool graphic stencils from some adhesive vinyl...

...stick on...

...and spray with your colour of choice

Step 10: Final Coat

As the bare metal was left by the stencils I added a clear lacquer coat to the key safe, both inside + out...this will help prevent rusting.

Step 11: All Ready to Use

Pop in the key...

...padlock to the underside of the vehicle...

...and go and enjoy the surf, canoe, run...

Step 12: Looking Good

This is a super easy little project that looks cool, I really like the ground metal stencil against the spray paint, and allows me to go surfing in the knowledge that the van was safe.

I am entering this project into the Vanlife Competition. If you have enjoyed this project, I would really appreciate your vote. Many thanks.

This project is part of my YouTube channel where I try to make cool and interesting projects.

Please check out my channel if you want to see more of the projects, if not there will be more coming to Instructables soon.

Why not check out what I am up to with

And also catch me on Facebook + Twitter

and now on Instagram!

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52 Discussions

Not bad, but he kinda locked it in plain site. Why risk it when you can put it up higher or closer to the middle of the underside of the car.

1 reply

He had to lock it somewhere noticeable for the picture. He probably moved to a more hidden location later.

Unique! Got my vote!

Does it fill with water when it rains? or when you wash the car? Is there a way to prevent that? Nice job either way


: D


1 year ago

A lot of time and trouble when you can buy a Master Lock magnetic key holder for $3.52 from Amazon.

7 replies

I see those lying in the road all the time. All it takes is one good pothole to knock them loose.

If you're driving along with this in place, something has gone very wrong. It should only be locked onto the van when it's parked AND you can't reasonably take the key with you.

cheap ones and those installed on a dirty surface or a place that's not flat may fall off. The one I mentioned by Masterlock has a very strong magnet. I've been using these for years with great success.

and then some guy saw you putting it on your car, he walkes to it grabs it and drives off. And you insurance says well yeah no money for you mister, no keys no money.

No one will see me install it. I work in my garage.

and how exactly do you plan to put the key in there then? He made this for when he go's surfing or to a beach. You cant take those electrical keys with you in the water. So you plan on throwing that key away and then when you get back use the 1 from the magnet box? I dont really see how this is the same as the lockable box from this instructable.

I put a spare key in my holder. You're right, wouldn't be to safe to step out your car and place it on the car in full view of everyone.

Great idea! I like some of the ideas about just using conduit too - easier to find for those of us that don't have extra bikes laying around. Any workarounds for someone without welding equipment? Do you think something like JB Weld could make a permanent bond?

Great Idea to solve a common problem. What if you don't have an old bicycle frame to scavenge? What else might you use?

4 replies

Electrical conduit. Cheap, readily available.

or go by the recycle yard see what piece o steel tube is lyin around.

I would use a small piece of copper plumbing pipe. Very easy to flatten one end and you can solder it closed instead of welding.

copper is a bad idea, its so easy to cut with a simple saw, and you might even be able to just twist it off the lock.

Heck, just get a short length of PVC or galvanized pipe. Threaded @both ends. Plus 2 threaded cap-ends. Bury it (wit the keys) in the sand somewhere. Remember where you left the key (very important), dig it up & start your car.