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Thrift Store Updated Key Holder

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Creating an updated key holder was my challenge for this month’s thrift store makeover. I was needing a place to store my keys and sunglasses, so when I came across this worn key holder I knew it was begging for a makeover. Here is what I started with.

key holder from thrift store

Nothing too exciting, but I liked the size and I knew with some paint and a cute new font I could transform this thrifted find.

Supplies Needed:

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Fixing the Corners

When I found this thrift store gem I noticed that one of the corners was damaged. You can see that the edge was a little crushed. I debated cutting about 1/2 inch off the top of it, but decided to try to fix the edges using a sander first. I used an electric sander (quicker) but you could just use some sandpaper and your hands to smooth out the corners. I took the sander to the damaged corner and gently rounded the corner to remove the damaged area and smooth it out.

removing hardware and cleaning

Then I used the sander on the other corner to match the look I created on the other side. Once I got the look I wanted I gave the key holder a good wipe down with a wet paper towel before moving on to painting.

Paint The Key Holder

The finish of my keyholder was a little rough to begin with, but if yours has a slick surface, you might want to give it a light sanding if you aren’t using a chalk paint. Chalk paint will stick to almost any surface. I used a milk paint that I already had on hand. I used it to paint my DIY Milk Paint Wood Lamp a few years ago. It’s a beautiful light blue green tone.

1st coat of milk paint

Milk paint is a thinner paint that took a couple coats to cover the black paint I was working with. I love using a foam paintbrush. I grab them at my local Dollar Tree and just throw them away when I’m done with it. Super easy! So I painted 2 coats of paint to cover the black paint. Milk paint dries pretty quick. I let it dry 3 hours between each coat, it was a warm day though.

I let the second coat of paint dry overnight before moving to the next step, creating a cute wording of Keys.

Adding a Cute Font with Sharpie

I knew I wanted to add the word keys to the front of my key holder. So after the paint had dried completely, I sketched out with pencil how I wanted it to look. I played around with some fonts on my computer and got the look I liked.

writing keys with pencil

Then I freehanded the wording with pencil. Once I got it how I liked it, I traced over the pencil with a black sharpie pen. This was so easy and simple! Now you definitely could use a small paintbrush and paint (which I’ve done before), but right now in life I’m about what looks good and is easy!

using a sharpie paint pen

Then I hung my updated key holder on the wall near the exit to my garage. I added my keys, sunglasses and a cute faux plant. It’s got a spot I can put outgoing mail in too. I love how it turned out!

updated key holder with paint and new font
cute updated key holder
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hand written with sharpie paint pen

Now make sure you check out the rest of the inspiring thrift store makeovers from the team!

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thrift store updated key holder


  1. Maryann,

    That’s a great (quick) makeover. I love that it says keys instead of mail. I’ve been looking for something like this to hang by my door. I like that yours could easily hold more things that we need as we dash out, like a phone! lol Or even a dog leash hanging from one of the hooks.
    great job!

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