A Crafty Mix


How to Make a Gigantic Rustic Key from Faux Metal The Easy Way

Have you seen those beautiful giant keys? Please tell me you have. They’ve been popping up on Pinterest and just last week, my favorite blogging couple over at the Navage Patch, shared how they made some for themselves. So clever, but with my limited wood working skills there was just no ways I could make something so gorgeous. And I really, really wanted one. A lot!! So I had to make another plan. If I couldn’t make a wooden one then maybe I could make this giant rustic faux metal key instead.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Our giant faux metal rustic key

How to Make a Giant Skeleton Key

Our faux metal key is about 50 cm long, or 20″ for my American friends and it was one of those projects that really frustrated me at times, but I am so happy with how it turned out. If you’d like to make one all you need is some cardboard, paint, coarse sea salt, nutmeg and expanding foam. That stuff you use to fill gaps with. Any brand will do.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

All you need

I found this basic key on the Graphic Fairy and used it to create a template for our key.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Cut a key template

I considered going for something a little more intricate, but I think this technique is more suited to something simpler. Once the key template has been cut out of the cardboard, grab some of that expanding foam and spray it all over the cardboard key, and wait for it to dry completely.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Spray on the foam

Ours took about a day. When it’s dry, use a craft knife to carve out the key shape. Start off by just cutting away large chunks of the foam and then whittle away the rest, little bits at a time. I promise it’s easier than it sounds and I found it very therapeutic. And if there’s any expanding foam left you can lways make this adorable fairy toadstool

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Carving the foam

Don’t worry to much if there are gaps or air bubbles in the foam, it will add to the faux metal effect later.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Gesso to smooth out the ridges

Adding the Rust Factor

We used some Gesso to smooth out any rough edges, but if your carving skills are better than mine, it’s probably not necessary. Gesso is the stuff artists normally use to seal their canvas before painting and you’ll find it at most craft stores or you can make your own. Paint the key in a copper brown color. You can use acrylic paints or spray paint, whatever you have in your craft cupboard. Once the paint is dry, spritz the key with water and then randomly sprinkle some coarse sea salt all over the key. The sea salt melts and creates a barrier for the next layer of paint. Wait a few minutes for most of the water to evaporate and then spray the key a deeper darker brown.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Add some salt

When the paint is dry, just brush the salt off and you’re left with this gorgeous pitted effect.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Beautiful pitted effect

Now for the nutmeg. Bet you were wondering what on earth that had to do with the whole equation 😉

Smile; it's the key that fits the lock of everybody's heartClick to Tweet

Add little dabs of glue or mod podge and sprinkle the nutmeg all over the key to create some yummy delicious rusty awesomeness.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog

Spice it up

Be generous with the nutmeg, especially in the air bubbles. That’s where rust would naturally form if the giant faux metal key had been lying in the rain and snow.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog #DIYHomeDecor #GaintKey #ExpandingFoam #DIYTutorial

Pin me please

And as they say in the classics, dat’s all folks. Or maybe it should be fee fi fo fum, I think I’m done 😉 What do you think of the giant rustic faux metal key? Would you add something like this to your decor?

Don’t forget to pin for later.

How to make a giant faux metal key using expanding foam. Full tutorial on the blog #DIYHomeDecor #GaintKey #ExpandingFoam

I’d really love to hear from you, comments always make my day.

Wishing you all a beautiful, loving week xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxxxooo

Made with love by a Crafty Mix




Oh before I forget, if you’d like to make something similar or prefer to buy rather than DIY,  we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more crafty ideas to share with you

Sale Large Iron Key, Skeleton Key Decorative Antique Style Decorative Wine Cellar Key Castle Key for Home Decor
Decorative Wall Mounted Cast Iron Key Holder - Vintage Key with 3 Hooks - Wall Mounted - Rustic Cast Iron Hanger- 10.8 x 4.7- with Screws and Anchors by Comfify
GSM Large Iron Decorative Skeleton Key

Categories:   Craft Tutorials, DIY Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts, Painting


  • Posted: January 29, 2019 19:55

    Dale Saksons

    is the key 3d or is it flat on the backside? or do you make 2 sides and glue them together?
    • Posted: January 30, 2019 04:47


      Hi there Dale, the key is flat on the backside, but your idea of making two and gluing them together will most definitely work too
  • Posted: January 29, 2018 17:27

    Gabrielle Mappone

    Can you use brushed on acrylics over the salt layer too, or does that need to be spray?
    • Posted: January 30, 2018 05:37


      I think the acrylic over the spices would either wipe the spices off or the they might dissolve. I'm afraid I've never tried it though. Sorry Gabrielle. If you do give it a go let me know how it turns out if you get a chance
  • Posted: November 21, 2017 01:22


    Did you get the Key template printed off at some sort of print shop to get the size?
    • Posted: November 21, 2017 04:16


      Hey there Ariel, I used a free online tool called blockposters.com. It allows you to create a big sized poster on different A4 pages. Once it's printed on your home printer you can just sick the pages together. Hope that helps
  • Posted: October 7, 2017 11:47

    Donna Crozier

    I used your awesome key idea to make a sign for my nieces “Secret Garden” wedding. I’d love to send you pic.
    • Posted: October 8, 2017 04:54


      That would be so lovely Donna. I would love to see it.
  • Posted: August 25, 2017 21:07

    Joyce Scott

    Awesome accent piece. Love it!
    • Posted: August 26, 2017 08:07


      Thank you so much Joyce, I appreciate that :D
  • Posted: May 24, 2017 02:15


    I just discovered your blog, from Sadie Seasongood's Talk of the Town. I am in LOVE with your suitcase parts embellished chest of drawers, and thought I would look around your blog to see what other clever things you have here...this foam key is amazing! I'm subscribing and looking forward to future posts!
    • Posted: May 24, 2017 07:54


      Thank you much Linda. I really appreciate it. I must admit I'm terrible at sending out newsletters, I just can't seem to find the time to put them together but i so appreciate you subscribing and hopefully on day I'll get my act together
  • Posted: May 13, 2017 05:56

    Pippie B

    Absolutely amazing Q: What fixture is used on the foam key to get it to HANG-UP on a wall?
    • Posted: May 13, 2017 11:09


      Thanks so much Pippie. We just screwed in two small hooks at the top of the key and hung it up with a rope. Let me know if that helps, I can always take another photo ;-)
  • Posted: March 13, 2017 14:38

    Michelle - Happy Heart Made

    Finally had a moment to check out how you made this key! I love anything and everything rusty so this caught my eye when you first posted it. I LOVE IT...it turned out sooooo AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing...I will definitely be making one of my own!! :)
    • Posted: March 13, 2017 15:02


      I'm so glad to hear that Michelle :D
  • Posted: March 8, 2017 06:40


    Wow Michelle your key is amazing, what a brilliant take on the wooden ones you saw originally. I think you have done a fabulous job here, it looks so realistic. You must be delighted with the result. Thanks for sharing your step but step instructions too. I will add this to my 'Must Try' projets list :) I will head back to your blog now to read and see more of your ideas.
    • Posted: March 8, 2017 08:43


      Thank you so much, I really appreciate that :D
  • Posted: March 8, 2017 03:04


    Love it So realistic, aside from the size. Thanks for how to. Maybe some day I'll make one.
    • Posted: March 8, 2017 08:46


      Thank you so much Cath, I hope you get to make one someday
  • Posted: February 15, 2017 04:29


    So cool! I was wondering it it would be possible to make a large key because I wanted one as a photo prop. Thank you!
    • Posted: February 15, 2017 05:58


      Thanks so much Natasha. This one is quite big, about 50 cm long, if I remember correctly. How big does your key need to be?
  • Posted: February 13, 2017 10:13

    Danielle Le Chat

    Michelle! This is amazing! I had no idea you could use spray on foam to carve things! Now my DIY senses are tingling :) Lovely tutorial - and so smart with the nutmeg! Lots of love, D x
    • Posted: February 13, 2017 13:25


      Hello Dani, how you doing? I'm so glad you like it, that spray foam is amazing. I need to scratch around in hubby's garage more often ;-)
  • Posted: February 13, 2017 01:52


    How weatherproof is the key after you have applied the nutmeg? Im thinking some glues and podge may not be entirely waterproof?
    • Posted: February 13, 2017 07:20


      Great question Chasey. We had a huge thunderstorm last week and the key blew off the wall (expanding foam is really light) and ended up in the garden. The paint, the nutmeg, the mod podge all held up and our key is back on the wall. You can apply a clear matt outdoor varnish over the key if you're worried.
  • Posted: February 11, 2017 22:47


    Wow! You've done a fantastic job with the key Michelle. I actually didn't know they were popular, though I must admit I love old(fashioned) / skeleton keys and use them quite often in my jewelry. Imitations, that is - not real keys :)
    • Posted: February 12, 2017 06:02


      Thank you so much Maya. I've seen all the beautiful things you've made and I'm so envious of your crocheting skills. Your work is lovely
  • Posted: February 10, 2017 22:24

    jodie filogomo

    Wow...I didn't realize you could make your own key like that! It turned out fabulous!! jodie www.jtouchofstyle.com
    • Posted: February 11, 2017 07:14


      Thanks so much Jodie
  • Posted: February 10, 2017 18:15

    Sara @ finditfixitorbuildit.com

    What an original and amazing idea! Love this!
    • Posted: February 11, 2017 07:12


      Thank you so much Sara
  • Posted: February 10, 2017 13:29


    Michelle no wonder why you won the first spot on the Best 2016 South African blog, this is amazingggg!! I'm speechless, it looks beyond awesome with that texture.
    • Posted: February 10, 2017 13:38


      Ahhhhh Pili, thank you soooo very much. We're still sitting on Cloud nine right now about the award. It feels so unreal
  • Posted: February 9, 2017 16:15

    [email protected]

    That looks a-ma-zing! I especially like the texture and the color. So real! :-)
    • Posted: February 10, 2017 06:28


      Thank you so much Ana
  • Posted: February 9, 2017 16:06


    That looks so real!
    • Posted: February 10, 2017 06:29


      Thank you Kellie ;-)
  • Posted: February 9, 2017 15:25


    This is very cool and super creative!
    • Posted: February 10, 2017 06:29


      Thank you Kim :D
  • Posted: February 8, 2017 22:08

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    This is so cool Michelle! You come up with such amazing ideas. I love the key, and I can't get over how real it looks. You did a fabulous job on it.
    • Posted: February 9, 2017 06:37


      Thank you so much Linda, I really appreciate that :D
  • Posted: February 8, 2017 18:36

    Jas @All that's Jas

    You are a freak and I mean that in the most endearing way. How do you know the science behind it? Salt, nutmeg... I'm once again blown away.
    • Posted: February 9, 2017 06:38


      LOL, Jas you just made my day. That's what happens when you can't cook, spices become something else entirely ;-)
  • Posted: February 7, 2017 14:51


    I love how you made something gorgeous with such simple materials! I never would have thought that it was made from foam in those images. It looks gorgeous! And the nutmeg sure does spice it up. ;) Haha I love it!
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 15:48


      Thank you Gina. It's the only way I know how to use nutmeg ;-)
  • Posted: February 7, 2017 13:41


    Wow, that is SO cool! I would never have imagined that key was made the way you did it. I love you style and creativity! And your dogs are really awesome, too ;)
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 14:00


      Awww you saw our fur babies. They are such a big part of our lives Julie. Thank you so much
  • Posted: February 7, 2017 09:29

    Sadhna Grover

    OMG how did you get this idea, it looks so real, I can't believe, it is made like this. It looks rustically great. The Copper brown colour is awesome. Great project dear.
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 09:50


      Thank you so much Sadhna, I'm so glad how it turned out. Getting the right color was probably the hardest thing to do.
  • Posted: February 7, 2017 06:19


    Fabulous! that's what I say to all of your creations Michelle! It looks so real, it's crazy! I had no idea that that foam existed!
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:26


      Thank you my friend. We use the foam quite often to patch or stop the leaks in our garage roof. It's amazing stuff. You should be able to get it at most hardware stores
  • Posted: February 7, 2017 03:44

    Annelize van Rooyen

    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:27


      Thank you Annelize ;-)
  • Posted: February 7, 2017 03:26

    Brooke of Passport Couture

    I haven't heard of spray foam, it looks like a fun product that can give you lots of fun crafty ideas! The texture of it really adds to the final look of the key.
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:29


      Thank you so much and the nice thing about spray foam is that it's water proof too
  • Posted: February 7, 2017 01:27

    Angie ~ ambient wares

    YOU HAVE BLOWN MY MIND! I don't know what else to say Michelle...really, I'm speechless and you are the most clever person EVER!! Looks like it would weigh sooo much too ;) Beautiful!
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:31


      Oh Angie, thank you so much :D The key is as light as a feather ;-)
  • Posted: February 6, 2017 20:30


    Wow, that looks stunning!
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:34


      Thank you fwendsus :D
  • Posted: February 6, 2017 19:57

    Mary-the boondocks blog

    Michelle this is such an unusual decor item. Says the lady who has a whole bunch of keys hanging from her ceiling. I cannot believe you made this out of thin air! The imaginative places your mind goes. It looks rustically great of course. I have really come to appreciate rust in all its' glory and this key has tons of it. Great project and it should definitely be displayed.
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:34


      LOL Mary, I was actually thinking of you while making the key. Long live rust!!!
  • Posted: February 6, 2017 15:16


    What?!!!! Michelle, you never cease to amaze me!! Seriously this is so awesome! How did you even think to make a giant key like this? This key looks so awesome and so real! Wow!!!
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:41


      Thank you so much Keri. I'm not really sure where the idea to use foam came from, but I had loads of fun making it :D
  • Posted: February 6, 2017 15:11

    Handan Navage

    Oh wow! That is just amazing! Seriously so amazing that now I want to make one like yours too!! :-D
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:42


      Whoop, whoop and it's all your fault Handan. Those wooden keys that Greg made for you were super WOW
  • Posted: February 6, 2017 15:05

    Greg Navage

    Wow, that looks awesome! I like it better than my wooden ones! Great job, Michelle and Shaun!
    • Posted: February 7, 2017 07:43


      LOL Greg, those wooden keys you made are awesome beyond.

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