old & new: vintage hotel key rings

confession: i have a key problem. i pretty much carry my life around in my bag (to the detriment of my right shoulder!) so in order to accommodate everything, i bought the largest bag i could find. which means, i can never find my keys. i shouldn’t blame it on the bag. i actually can never find my keys anyway! so last weekend, when grace and went to the flea market, and we spotted a box of vintage hotel key rings, i knew that had found my solution!

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!

materials needed:

  1. vintage hotel room key fob (if you can’t one at a local flea, there are plenty on ebay!)
  2. large key ring

It’s a super easy project! Once I got home, I gave my room key fob a quick wash in hot soapy water, then I headed over to the hardware store where I picked up a larger than usual key ring.

i figure if the key ring worked for years of hotel patrons, it should work for me! here’s hoping i’ll now be able to find my keys!

  1. Love it! Great quirky look and functional too!

    Thanks for the fun little post.

  2. MARii_MUNiiEKA says:

    I love the key tags! But will it really help in finding keys in large messy bags like mine??

    Very cute and clever!

    P.S. i have the same key problem even out of a large bag… :(

  3. susy says:

    love this! the shape of the fob is really, really great and hand-friendly too!

  4. JayTee says:

    Oh, that’s so brilliant. I have to confess, I have a thing for old keys–these key tags would be great to carry around as a quirky accompaniment to my every day set. I should be on the lookout for some.

  5. Rosebud says:

    Didn’t find anything cute on ebay, so will have to search flea markets this weekend. Great idea!

  6. Bee S says:

    That looks like a cowtag. They hang them on cattle’s ears to identify them. We used to make crafts out of them in high school. If you were dating a football player, he’d buy his number for you and you’d paint it up and add pretty cords and ribbon and wear it on gameday.

    Completely hick, I know…but that’s what this reminds me of.

  7. amya says:

    bee s- love, love the cowtag story! i went to high school in arkansas and we had plenty of cows (and hicks) ;) but no cowtag crafts! i’m going to have to look into it! thanks!

  8. shannon says:

    aaahhh ha haa…. i love the cowtag/football player reminiscence Bee S… you just made my day!

  9. simone says:

    i love these keys. that was my bedroom key as a little girl…

  10. katherine. says:

    I love this idea. I think I may have to be a copy cat.

    1. grace says:


      you can join my copy cat club- as soon as amy picked these up at the flea market i felt like such a dork. i was like “wait, i want one too now!” ;)


  11. What an awesome idea!! I bet I could find something cool in Paris in a few weeks… another thing to add to the list!

  12. ak says:

    The key idea is so cute- but I have a question about your awesome purse! Is the strap long enough to wear across your body? A lot of purses say that- but sometimes it’s a lie! :) I want it in purple!

  13. grace says:

    hi ak

    which purse? i can check with amy about this…


  14. Jennifer says:

    What I want to know is – do you have a connection to the number 37?

  15. amanda says:

    I have rings on the inside of most of my bags and a carabiner on my keyring so I can always latch my keys to someplace near the top of my bag.

  16. amya says:

    travelingmama-paris! i’m jealous! be sure to check out my favorite flea-the porte de vanves http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/tag/porte-de-vanves

    ak- i think you’re talking about the hayden-harnett bag that i linked to above. it’s definitely long enough to wear across your body. it’s huge! i actually think grace has the same bag!

    jennifer-no connection to the number 37 (except that one day i’ll be 37!) i couldn’t really find a number that i connected with, so i just bought one in a color that i liked!

  17. ak says:

    Hi Grace! The “largest bag” that she links to above. Thank you so much! I have been looking for a nice size travel-ish purse.

  18. grace says:

    thanks! well until amy weighs in, i can add my 2 cents because i actually have this bag in black :)

    i’m only 5 feet tall but it’s wayyy long enough for me to wrap around my body and wear. it’s pretty long if i do. but amy is way taller so i’ll let her answer from a tall-person perspective ;)


  19. ak says:

    Amya, I didn’t see your reply until I sent mine. Thank you!!

  20. b. says:

    what a cute idea… unique!

  21. rebecca says:

    totally a cow tag! that’s cool – another new discovery. i just started looking on ebay and found a handful of cheap (great) options.

  22. I love this tag too, and I have one but never thought to use it as a key tag! I bought mine on Etsy from gleancreativereuse but currently the shop is in vacation mode


  23. Fifi Flowers says:

    Ooooh I have knobs like those in half of my home… I sooooo need more… hard to find! If you have a source… would LOVE to know!

  24. This is such a fun idea! They’d make great necklaces as well!

  25. hey this is very cute.vintage things makes me feel very good. its so simple and that is what makes it so attractive.

  26. Gillian says:

    My mom has had an old hotel key fob on her keys since I was a kid. It has the most distinctive metal on metal clang when it hits the keys.

    Our dog recognized the sound immediately and was ALWAYS racing to the front door when he heard her coming home. :)

  27. ...ruby says:

    cool idea! i did a search on etsy for ‘cow tag’ and came up with several different colors, and metal ones too.

  28. kyleak says:

    my family has been doing that for a long time. those are cowtags.

  29. Erin says:

    I love the old hotel key fob. :)

    for finding keys in a big bag: Cut a piece of ribbon about two feet long, fold it in half and tie it to your key ring. Voila! you have two feet worth of ribbon to feel for in your purse. MUCH easier to find in a flash.

  30. rita says:

    I have used my carabiner, and a small measuring tape, a doll, and a little flashlight on my keyring…can you imagine how heavy mine is, and I still loose my keys. We as ladies need to invent something so we won’t loose those darn keys.

  31. Lisa Hamlyn says:

    I have a collection of old fashioned keys on one large key ring, like a jailer, and have kept the hotel keys of every place I’ve ever been on it as well. I hole punch the new keys and put them on the ring. It hangs on a small nail and is a great reminder of all the places to which I’ve traveled.

  32. Rebecca Farrington says:

    I did the same a couple of years ago at a vintage fair, but mine has broken and I am struggling to replace it. And I can’t find any on ebay. What did you search for so they all came up on ebay? Alternatively any idea where else I could get a replacement?!

  33. JS says:

    Good stuff. I love vintage keys. If you ever want to look at vinatge Las Vegas keys, I am slowly posting my collection at http://sites.google.com/site/saltvegas/.

    Luv Keys


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