Key to My Heart

Instructions for making a large, antique looking key to my heart, from paper mache. Attach a special poem and give as a romantic valentine gift or use it as a stage prop.

Age: 12 and up

Difficulty: Medium

Time scale: 2 out of 5 (not including drying time)



  • Scissors
  • pencil
  • newspaper
  • old fork
  • paper mache paste (quarter the recipe)
  • plastic container
  • cereal box board
  • masking tape
  • glue gun/hot glue (can do without but makes it a bit easier)
  • medium paint brush
  • small pounce brush
  • matte finish spray sealer
  • key pattern ( coming soon) or your own
  • craft paint:


gun metal (dark silver)

raw sienna

 Key to My Heart How to


Print the key to my heart pattern on to white paper or draw out your own. Adjust to the size you like. This one is almost 11 inches long.

Cut out and then trace the pattern on to a piece of cereal box board. Cut this out. If you have a good printer, you can possibly print the pattern directly on to the cereal box board. This can save a bit of time, or not. Jamming the printer is a big pain! If you wreck your printer trying this, Please don't hold me responsible. It was ONLY a suggestion.

Tear newspaper into strips about 2-3 inches wide.

Mix up paper mache paste in a plastic container. I don't think I have ever mentioned this before, but for small batches, I use an old fork for mixing. It helps get the lumps out, so the paste is nice and smooth. When I am mixing a large batch, for a really big project, I use an old mixer.


Begin by adding shape to both sides of the top part of the key, near the curved parts. Use small, crumpled bits of newspaper. You can attach them with masking tape or use a hot glue gun. I had to use masking tape because I didn't have my handy dandy glue gun with me. At home I have at least a half a dozen of them, but I am not there right now. The glue gun makes it easier. There is also the option of gooping the newspaper  bits on with the paste, but then it will take longer to dry.


Dip a strip of newspaper into the paste and wrap it all the way around the cereal box board shape. Cover with 3 layers of newspaper. Let dry.

Add 3- 4 more layers, refining the shape as you go. After this has dried, it should be fairly sturdy. If there are still bendy parts, add more newspaper, to firm it up.

Always make sure that it is completely dry before moving on to the next step. Having a successful paper mache project ALWAYS depends on proper drying. Okay, are you sure it is dry? Not sure? You can read more about drying paper mache.


Paint on a layer of black craft paint. Let it dry. Somehow I got so involved with the painting, I forgot to take more pictures. So here you have it, in plain old black.

Now add the gun metal color. Add in random spots, using a pouncing motion with the brush. Leave some of the black showing through.

Let this dry.

Use raw sienna, to add a touch of rust here and there. If you want the key to be really old and rusty, add more raw sienna paint.

After the paint has dried completely, spray with 3 coats of spray sealer.

Now that you are finished, what will you do with it? Is it a key to my heart gift for your valentine? Maybe, it is to a magical fairy tale castle in the forest?

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