DIY Color Coded Keys

The invention of Pinterest has affected my life in a number of ways, most of which I consider quite negative. From its ability to trump both my Facebook and StumbleUpon usage in regards to valuable-time sucking, to its capacity to make me believe I am planning a wedding (that is simultaneously designer, DIY, and under $5,000), I am left powerless by my addiction and see no hope on the horizon. The most detrimental effect I have noticed thus far, however, has been the great loss of creativity I once harbored. No longer, it seems, can I bang the hell out of my own drum, without seeing 54 other people having pinned the same beat (while 17 other people half-heartedly “like” it). I now constantly find myself wondering if I came up with a certain idea on my own or if I saw it on Pinterest first. These nail polish keys are no different. I truly thought in my heart of hearts that this project illuminated my head with its cartoonish bulb, BUT NO. A handful of stay-at-home moms and a sprinkling of college girls came up with it first. Or at least they pinned it first. I’m not bitter, in case that tone has been blaring between the lines of this post…

Regardless (seriously, guys, stop being so petty), I recently found the alliterative need to color code my keys and decided that my extensive nail polish collection would do the trick. Whether some of your keys look the same, or your bejeweled lanyards and neon key chains aren’t cutting it in the spicing-things-up department, this DIY project is for you (and the rest of your Pinterest followers).

What you need:

1. Keys. I painted both my metal door keys and my plastic-topped car key. My car key was a copy made at Pepboys where their key cutting machine pops out rougher plastic than the original smooth and shiny mama key. I think this made a huge difference in how the polish stuck to the plastic.
2. Nail polish
3. Painter’s tape or masking tape

What to do:

1. Tape off each of the keys to create a straight edge for your paint. The tape will also help each key to stick to the edge of the table so both faces can dry at the same time. Leave extra tails of tape to stick to your surface and hold the keys in place.
2. Paint each key as many coats as it takes to cover the metal or plastic (I did two and three coats depending upon the color and consistency of the polish). Allow time for the paint to dry in between coats so bubbles won’t form.
3. Tape the keys to the edge of a surface and let them dry overnight.

I suppose I cannot take credit for this (BOO HISS). Really, though, I need to get over it. If anything, this method is a little faster than others because you won’t have to wait for one side to dry completely before flipping it over to paint the reverse. In the time you save, might I suggest you follow me on Pinterest and support my addiction/ hypocrisy? Thanks, people 🙂


8 thoughts on “DIY Color Coded Keys

    1. LALALA Post author

      i’ve had them painted for about three weeks now and the only one that chipped at all (and it was only slightly) was the car key on plastic. all the metal keys are in PERFECT condition. I am so pleased at how well they’ve lasted so far

    1. LALALA Post author

      THAT is an excellent question! I live in an apartment and will also be returning my keys eventually so I went to Home Depot and had copies made so I could just paint the copies. However, I will take an old key, paint it, then try to remove the paint and tell you how it goes! I’m thinking a nice soak in nail polish remover should do the trick, but I’ll get back to you on that!

  1. tylar

    Thank you so much! I only have this dorm key and it cannot be duplicated so i have no way to test that out myself 😛 thank you so much


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