December 19, 2010

Key to my Heart - Anniversary (or Valentines Day!) Gift

My anniversary is in just a couple of days - and with the whirlwind of Christmas, and traveling to see family, I was a little behind on my anniversary gift (aka, had NO IDEA what I was going to do) :)
I had seen a similar idea to this one once upon a time, and it has been percolating in my mind for a while now.
The great thing that made it possible though, was this spectacular stash of antique keys!
My mom and I have a favorite antique shop in Concord, MA, which generally has a bowl FULL of unique and wonderful antique keys in all sizes and shapes. We have other fun plans for them, but the great thing about this Key to my Heart print, is that the keys are completely re-usable after you are done!
"But, what happens," you say, "if I don't have a spectacular stash of antique keys?" could use regular house keys - or even if you only have 2 or 3 antique keys, you can use the same ones over and over again, and just point them in all different directions. Frankly, you could probably find fake antique keys in the jewelry department at the craft store. No matter what, I am sure it will turn out great:)

You will not believe what kind of "fabric" I used...(well, maybe you will).  This is a little square cut out from a canvas drop cloth!  Just a few bucks at the hardware store, and it works like a charm!  It is fairly thin, looks kindof like burlap to me, and has a thin plastic backing - great to keep the paint from soaking through. 
I cut mine about 9" x 11" so that I could trim it down to fit into an 8" x 10" frame if I wanted.  I made a heart shape in Word on the computer, nearly big enough to fill the page, and traced it very lightly with pencil in the middle of my fabric. 
 To imprint the keys onto the fabric, first lay down some squishy, soft fabric, like fleece, and then lay your canvas square on top of it.  That way, when you press the key down, the fabric will have some give, and conform around the bumps and shape of the key. 
With a paintbrush, spread on a generous layer of acrylic paint (I used black).
 Then, set it within the pencil outline of the heart.  Make sure that there is no excess paint on your fingers while you press.  I had a stack of baby wipes right next to me, and wiped my fingers in between setting the key down and pressing it in. 
 Carefully lift the key up, and immediately rinse it off with water.  The paint should come right off, making the key as good as new (or as good as old...hmm..).
 I wanted to put my husband's initial, and my initial, within the heart, so I used some rubber letter stamps for that.  I also added the year we were married, after adding a few more key imprints. 

 Sometimes I set down a few keys together before painting them, to make sure they were in a pattern I liked, but mostly I just winged it.
After I was finished, and the paint was dry, I erased the pencil tracing I had made of the heart.  The paint drys very quickly, and is permanent. 
 It looks great in a black frame, and I can't wait to give it to Sean!  Happy Anniversary to all, and I hope that maybe this will save some of you, trying to come up with a sweet, (last minute), home-made anniversary gift:)

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  2. that is super cute! if you have a chance come link up to handmade tuesdays @

  3. I love your anniversary key art! So unique, creative, meaningful and chic! Great job and thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh my gosh, LOVE this! Such a creative idea and it's such a sweet gift!

  5. I am your newest follower, and guess what?! It is linky party day on my blog! Please come enter the giveaway and link up to my Strut Your Stuff Party! I love your blog!
    -Dana, Saturday Mornings

  6. It makes me want to make one for my anniversary, too. What a great gift to give your hubby!


  7. That is SUPER duper cute!!! I LOVE the vintage look of the old keys! I love the heart shape and the initials and date you added... everything is so prefect! What a brilliant idea! :)
    I have a few keys I am going to HAVE to do this for my Vday Decor! :) Thanks for the idea!
    Youre Newest follower! :)

    (Agape Love Designs)

  8. well, isn't this great! I love how it all came together, and how brilliant to "squish" your keys to make the imprint!
    thanks for linking up and linking back!

  9. I featured this today on my blog - todays top 20! I'd love for you to stop by! :)


  10. Fantastic idea! I love how you went a step further to stamp the keys instead of just gluing them on! Great job!

  11. This is so cute!! Love it and may have to do something similar to this. I am now following you.

  12. You were featured on Saturday Mornings today! Come check it out!


  14. I Love this!
    Where can I find skeleton keys so I can make this?

  15. I featured your lovely art today on my blog!

    Feel free to check it out!


  16. This is so cool! Makes me want to find some keys! Thanks for the tutorial!
    Erica @