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Metal Key Fan

Jan Loney shares this very original idea for metal art spread fan decorated with key imprints.

Jan Loney, a metalsmith who runs a small studio creating jewelry and metal works created from found objects, explains the steps for this project.

Materials and Tools:

galvanized sheet steel
sheet copper
hydraulic press
lots of old keys
liver of sulphur in a plastic tub
tub of water
hole punch
copper ovals
steel wool
soldering iron and solder
sheet cutters
center punch
brass conduit
mechanical fastener
letter punch stamp tools
disc cutter
safety gear: safety glasses, respirator and gloves

Figure A


1. Trace around a fan blade shape template with a permanent marker onto galvanized sheet steel. Cut out eight blades with sheet cutters (figure A).

2. Cut sheet copper to a size that will fit in the hydraulic press.

Figure B

3. Place old keys on the base plate of the hydraulic press, lay the copper sheet over the keys and press the imprint of the keys into the copper (figure B).

Figure C

4. Cut and trim the copper into blade shape pieces larger than galvanized steel blades (figure C). Note: Copper blades will be wrapped over the galvanized blades (step 7).

Figure D

5. Wearing rubber gloves, safety glasses and a respirator, dip the copper pieces in liver of sulphur to patina, then rinse in a tub of water. Dry with a towel (figure D).

6. Highlight the raised portions by rubbing with steel wool. Apply wax with a rag.

Figure E

7. Wrap the copper around the galvanized steel blades and burnish the sides (figure E).

Figure F

8. Punch a hole in the tapered bottom of each fan blade with a disc cutter (figure F).

9. Layout the keys on the fan blades. Mark a keyhole location of each key on the blade.

Figure G

10. Hole-punch and rivet the keys in place (figure G).

Figure H

11. Stamp copper ovals with "Can’t Find My Keys" using letter stamps (figure H).

12. Solder the ovals to a length of brass conduit (figure I).

13. Patina and highlight the copper ovals as above (steps 5 and 6).

14. Measure the center top of the fan blade. Center punch then hole punch.

15. Drill evenly spaced holes in the brass conduit to match the spacing between the blades.

Figure J

16. Pop rivet the conduit to the fan blades (figure J).

17. Solder the keys together to create a "tassel" for the bottom of the fan.

18. Attach a doorknob to the bottom of the fan blades, securing with a mechanical fastener.

Figure K

19. Attach the "tassel" to the doorknob (figure K).

Figure L

20. Hang keys from key chains and attach the chains to the ends of the fan (figure L).

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