Easily Copy A Key With The Help Of Spray Paint

Some keys are cheap to copy at your local hardware store, and others can be fairly expensive. Some you're not supposed to copy, too. As Instructables user Brna points out, with the right tools you can easily copy most keys yourself.

All you'll need is some (dark) spray paint, a vice, and any fine grinding tool. Here's how the process works:

  1. Put the key you want to copy in front of any blank key or an existing key that's bigger.
  2. Spray the front of both keys with spray paint.
  3. Remove the original key (that you are copying) and you'll see the key behind it will be darker in some areas, making an outline of the key ridges that need to be cut.
  4. Use your fine grinding tool to remove the painted parts of the copy key.
  5. Sand down any rough/sharp edges before using.

That's it. It's a pretty nice solution if you need to copy a key and don't want to pay.

Easy way to copy a key [Instructables]


    It probably costs more for a can of spray paint, a key blank and a grinding tool than it does to copy a few keys. Nice idea but I'm not sure how you are saving any money here unless you happen to have all this just laying around.

      I've certainly got spray paint and a Dremel lying around. But I don't think the whole point is to save that much money, it's about copying keys that aren't supposed to be copied.

        or copying keys that say do not copy because the owners of the key license charge $200 just for a copy.

        The difficult thing about copying keys that aren't meant to be copied is getting hold of the blanks in the first place. It is possible to make your own blanks, but it is rather fiddly.

          Not neccessarily. Me and another teenager friend walked down the local hardware shop the other day and they sold us blank keys for less than if they were cut for us.

    If you copy a "do not copy" key with this method, won't the spray paint on the original be a dead giveaway that you did something that wasn't supposed to be done with it? Even not knowing this technique, if you return a post office mailbox key (for example), you'll have some serious explaining to do.

      wash it off before it dries.

        or possibly even wrap it extremely tightly in some plastic wrap/cling wrap.

        (I don't know if that would actually work, or whether it might cause the key to not turn in the lock properly, but it's an idea :D)

      Or just use some acetone or methylated spirits etc.

    Seriously, Lifehacker?

    Today, I decided to visit you, but all you offer is reminders of why I stopped coming here in the first place:

    "Easily" copy a key (requiring parts, tools and time well in excess of what going to Bunnings would be).

    Putting a QR code on your keys on the off-chance someone between the ages of 16-35 picks them up and just happens to know what to do with it (as opposed to just having the phone number attached.)

    The startling revelation that USB plugs have the logo facing up. Who here doesn't actually know this already?

    Sorry guys, but you've really dropped the ball. You won't be seeing me again.

      Hi Chris, welcome bac...oh

      Bye Chris, See ya next time.

    Google lock bumping if you want to see just how useless most standard external latchsets are, there is alot to be said for upgarding to non standard keying systems or biometric latchsets

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