Taking “Steps” to Prevent Lock-Out: A Secret Key Hider

Taking “Steps” to Prevent Lock-Out: A Secret Key Hider

Getting locked out of the house is not fun at all, is it? It happened to me once, and that was all it took…from that day forward, I decided to “take steps” to ensuring that it would never happen again (pun intended). But, hiding a key under a rock wasn’t good enough for me- where’s the DIY/repurposing fun in that??

Creating mosaic concrete stepping stones has been a popular DIY for a while now, so that in itself is nothing new. But I had this idea that I wanted to try out- What if I created a DIY mosaic stepping stone with a key-hiding pill bottle embedded in the concrete??

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Video Tutorial

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Full Tutorial: Stepping Stone with Key Hider

And to test my theory out, I needed an inexpensive cake pan from the thrift store that would serve as my concrete mold/mould. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. 

Cake pans at thrift store to be repurposed as DIY stepping stone molds / www.sadieseasongoods.com

A thrift store staple!

Once I found the perfect cake pan (those handles really come in handy, BTW)- I assembled a few other components that I would need:

  • Push-down child-safe pill bottle (not the “pinch-from-the-sides” kind…) that is big enough to hold your house key;
  • Clear laminating sheets or contact paper (by clear is key); and
  • Mosaic “bits” like sea glass, broken pottery, small tiles, and/or glass gems.

    Repurposed cake pan DIY stepping stone with secret key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasogoods.com

    Some stepping stone goodies…

Creating a Mosaic Design

The clear laminating sheets (leftover from last year’s Christmas lantern project) will be used to create the mosaic design, because it needs to go on the bottom of the pan (and the sticky sheet will hold the “bits” in place). So, I traced the bottom of my cake pan on a sheet, cut out the circle, and checked that it fit in the bottom of the pan.

Using clear laminating sheets in a DIY mosaic stepping stone secret key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

To hold my mosaic design in place…

Then the fun part- creating my design! I used the border/frame of my laminating sheet as a guide to design my mosaic. First, I created the circular design…

Using clear laminating sheets to create a DIY mosaic design with broken pottery and glass gems by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Even the scraps come in handy!

And then I peeled off the paper from my circle, pressed it on the colorful mosaic pieces and made sure it look a-ok! (This is why I recommend clear- so you can see your design!)

Using clear laminating sheets to create a DIY mosaic design with broken pottery and glass gems by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Looks about perfect to me!

Creating a Stepping Stone with Secret Key Hider

Now for a critical, can’t-miss step: lubricating the cake pan! Using non-stick cooking spray from the kitchen, I gave my cake pan a healthy coating on the interior- bottom and sides.

Repurposed cake pan for DIY stepping stone with secret pill bottle key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Greased lightning!!

Once the pan was sprayed, I laid my mosaic circle in the bottom of the pan: colorful tiles facing the bottom of the pan, non-pretty sides of the tiles facing up to meet the concrete. Speaking of which, I mixed up a small amount of Quikcrete and began filling my lubricated cake pan.

Repurposed thrift store cake pan for DIY concrete mosaic stepping stone with secret pill bottle key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Adding the concrete “batter”…

Because this is a decorative “stepping” stone that will never be stepped upon, I didn’t add any metal mesh re-enforcement inside the concrete. Instead, I filled up the pan with my Quikcrete, and tapped it on my workspace counter to remove air bubbles (like it was cake batter- ha!).

And then my last step- and the true test of my theory. I took my empty pill bottle, and carefully screwed it in to the center of the wet concrete. And as you can see, I only screwed it in to near the lip of the cap, but didn’t go over (important!).

Repurposed thrift store cake pan for DIY concrete mosaic stepping stone with secret pill bottle key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Putting my theory to the test!

I let everything sit for a day or two, and then the big moment arrived- did my theory work?

The Big Reveal

First, I unscrewed the pill bottle first and the cap remained firmly embedded in the concrete- YES! Then, I carefully turned my pan over and my stepping stone popped out with ease. THAT’S why the non-stick spray is so important. And then I simply peeled off the laminating sheet circle that had kept my mosaic bits in place.

Repurposed thrift store cake pan for DIY concrete mosaic stepping stone with secret pill bottle key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

SUCCESS!!!

Before placing it in the yard, I coated the exposed concrete with polyacrylic to seal out water and weather. Then, we dug a small hole in a flower bed for the pill bottle to hide in.

See? It looks like a regular ole’ decorative stepping stone! Nothing fancy here, right?

Repurposed thrift store cake pan for DIY concrete mosaic stepping stone with secret pill bottle key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Just an innocent decorative stepping stone, yes?

But the secret is underneath with the pill bottle key hider- how cool is that?? And you’re really repurposing twice, right? First with the cake pan and then with the pill bottle. And if you’re really industrious, you can make your own recycled mosaic bits by taking some glass nippers to pretty plates and dishes from the thrift store.

Repurposed thrift store cake pan for DIY concrete mosaic stepping stone with secret pill bottle key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Someone’s got a lil’ secret!

And if you’re worried about security (i.e., leaving a key outside), here are some alternative ideas:

  • Make two stepping stone key hiders, one for you and one for your neighbor. Keep your house key in the stepping stone key hider that’s in their yard and vice versa.
  • Use your stepping stone key hider to hold a different key- maybe to your garage or shed- and hide your house key inside one of those places.
  • Put a lock box key in your key hider, hide the lock box somewhere else (where you won’t forget it), and put your house key in the lock box.

Plenty of options and you’ll never get locked out again. And besides, making mosaic stepping stones is an awful lot of fun.

Craft on!

S

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PIN ME!Repurposed thrift store cake pan for DIY concrete mosaic stepping stone with secret pill bottle key hider by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Comments

  1. Fabulous, creative and so useful too!
    Pinned.
    Thanks for joining us at TOHOT!
    Jemma

  2. Smart! Nobody would ever guess. 🙂

    Happy Thoughts of Home.

  3. Gilmer Gal says:

    Cute and clever!

  4. Now that’s a great Idea! I may have to try it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. sticksnpins says:

    Great idea and very doable for the not so adept crafter 🙂

  6. Such a great idea!

  7. It is cute and I absolutely love the idea ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

  8. Fonda Rush says:

    As I started reading this entry, I had an idea. I think it’s something Tuula would do. (At least, I think that’s who would do it, although I can’t remember the blog name right now. She makes wind chimes out of all kinds of vintage goodies.) Anyway…It would be interesting to make a wind chime out of keys, but only the homeowner would know which one to use to open which door!

    I haven’t locked myself out of my house, but it still might be a good idea to have a key outside the house…just in case!

    I like your idea, too…it adds a decorative touch to the garden or the yard. Thank you for sharing!

  9. What a great project! Clever.

  10. What a cute and clever project! I love it. Pinned.

  11. You always have such unique and fantastic ideas Sarah! I haven’t worked with concrete yet, and your instructions are super clear and easy! Love this idea!

  12. LOVE this idea! And I love how you made your design on the clear sheet first. Much easier than playing with wet concrete. I’ve been thinking up ways to leave a key outside and this is great. Visiting from Inspiration Galore party.

    • sarahwpb@yahoo.com says:

      Thank you so much!!! Yes, I agree- a LOT easier than designing directly on the wet concrete…I’ve done it that way, and it’s messy plus the pieces can sink in a little.

  13. Now that is a clever idea!! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party-and don’t forget to leave a comment at the party – Next week’s features that also leave a comment get pinned and tweeted!

  14. Wow, this is a great idea. Cleaver and beautiful. Thank you for sharing at Dishing it and Digging it link party. It’s great having you.

  15. Great idea for hiding a key outside and a fun project to boot. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm.

  16. Super fun! Love this sneaky idea girl! Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Sharing on Fb & Pinned! Have a great week!
    Kim

  17. Sarah, what a clever and very useful idea. We have a fake rock for our key. I’ve done a lot of mosaics and it’s a wonderful art medium. Thank you for sharing at Your Inspired Design.

  18. Oh this turned out so cute!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  19. Genius!

  20. Love this DIY! Your being featured this week! Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight Pinned & sharing

  21. But why not reinforce this concrete to make real stepping stones? My question is…how would you do that? Would you use wire mesh after a layer of sac-crete that’s even with the reverse side of the mosaic…then another layer of sac-crete, then another circular wire mesh…then another layer of sac-crete, then the last wire mesh level with the pan edge (with a center circle cut in one of the stones’ wire meshes to hold the pill bottle)? What kind of wire reinforcement? How many layers of reinforcement? Would the perimeter of the sac-crete along the pan need reinforcement? Or would the stone do better with a steel cross-bar, for instance, like a lug nut wrench? Or maybe a different concrete mix? Or would the stone just crack if I walk on it, no matter what I do? I would be making a walk-way of about 20 stones…

    • sarahwpb@yahoo.com says:

      Mine are decorative, with no need to reinforce- so why would I waste materials like that?. Google will lead you to all sorts of options. Happy crafting!

  22. Gonna do this. How many stones can you get out of a bag of quickcrete?

  23. Will be doing this! How many can you get out of a bag of quickcrete?

  24. Margie Rossman says:

    How do you keep cement from covering the design. I used the half marbles and somehow they get cement over them. I have made 6 of these and have the same problem,

    • sarahwpb@yahoo.com says:

      Margie, did you see the part about using clear adhesive paper (like laminating sheets or contact paper)? As long as your cement isn’t too watery, that’ll keep the design intact.

  25. Love this idea, the design, your detailed instructions And your safety tips! Bravo 👍🏻

  26. This is a great idea. I’very used something similar to this and in addition to adding a single key… I coated it in petroleum jelly to prevent rusting. My first key rusted and wouldn’t work!

    • sarahwpb@yahoo.com says:

      Oh wow, I’ve never heard of that happening! But how awful…just when you think you can get in your house, only to be denied again!! Grrrr

  27. Ok, LOVE this idea. But, as I am sitting here reading this in Minnesota, middle of winter, everything outside covered with snow & ice (including flower beds), I am wondering what could be done to make and use these without making it obvious there is something special about them because they are the only thing NOT covered with snow & ice.

  28. Cute! Just to clarify, the contact paper is in the bottom of the pan with the tiles placed on the adhesive side, colorful side DOWN!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      You got it!!! Think of it this way- you’ll be carefully turning the pan over to remove your stone (like a cake) and will just peel the contact paper off the now-top of the stone!

  29. Very clever Sarah, and so pretty! I love how it turned out. Thanks for the tutorial, I believe I could do this! Pinning!

  30. Cher curtis says:

    Have a pill bottle glued to a rock,I love your idea and can’t wait to make some.

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