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Frame those memories

Make a metal key holder which also has space to disply photographs.


By Roelof Strydom


Welding machine and electrodes

Tape measure


Angle grinder

Drill and drill bits




1.5m of 3mm x 30mm flat bar

620mm of 8mm round bar

480mm of 5mm round bar

380mm x 190mm Masonite

Six 4mm screws

Project guide

Difficulty: Easy

Estimated time: One morning

Cost: R50

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Cut the following lengths of material: From the flat bar cut 2 x 400mm, 2 x 200mm and 2 x 140mm. You need a 620mm length from the 8mm round bar and from the 5mm round bar cut six lengths of 70mm each and one length of 60mm.


Step 2: Take the two 400mm and two 200mm pieces of flat bar; the ends of each of these four pieces need to be mitred at 45 degrees. Take all the flat bar pieces, including the two 140mm pieces and, with a bench grinder, grind the edges nice and smooth so they can be welded.


Step 3: Now it is time to weld. Place the mitred ends of the outside border (see the pictures) against each other, making sure each corner is perfectly square before welding.


Step 4: The three openings where the photos will be displayed each need to be 93mm in size. Therefore measure 93mm from the inside from both sides of the frame to get the positions for the two pieces of flat bar on the inside of the frame.


Step 5: You need to make six hooks for hanging your keys. One at a time take the six 70mm pieces of 5mm round bar and place them in your workbench vice, allowing 20mm to protrude beyond the vice. Use a hammer to bend this 20mm 90 degrees to form a hook.


Step 6: To attach the hooks onto the frame, first drill six 5mm holes in which the hooks will go. Then weld the hooks to the back of the frame, leaving the front clean from any welding.


The marks for the holes are as follows: From both sides measure 45mm inward, these are the positions of the most left and right holes. For the position of the other four holes, start from the left hole and measure 62mm between each hole. After you have all the positions marked out for the holes, you can drill them.


Step 7: To make the key holder/photo frame more appealing, take the 620mm piece of round bar and bend it into a decorative curl. Then weld this onto the top of the frame.


Step 8: In order to hang the key holder/photo frame on the wall, take the 60mm piece of 5mm round bar and bend it into a small circle. Alternatively, you can use a large washer. Finally, weld the round bar circle or washer in the centre of the decorative curl.


Step 9: To keep the Masonite backboard in place, you need to drill six 4mm holes in the frame. Drill these holes in the centre of the 30mm flat bar in all four corners and the centre of the top and bottom 400mm flat bar.


Step 10: Now that all the welding and drilling is done, you can grind the welds down and sand the metal to prepare it for paint.


Step 11: Cut the Masonite backboard to 380mm x 190mm. You will see the backboard is smaller than the frame, but still big enough to drill holes in without running the risk of the holes being too close to the edge and tearing out in future.


Step 12: Attach the Masonite backboard to the frame with the six 4mm screws and insert some photos. 

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