Unlocking Your Creative Side is the Key to this Artwork that Re-Purposes Door Hardware



Finished project hanging just inside our front door.

As most of you know, I like to cruise the thrift stores looking for projects that spark some imagination inside. The only thing that revs me up more than a trip to a thrift store is going to an architectural salvage shop. I’ve been to Second Chance a time or two, but always leave feeling unfulfilled. They have some great stuff there, but I always talk myself out of a purchase because things are either to big or to expensive. Sometimes I just go to look.

2ndlogolAbout a year ago, yes another project that took a while to get off the ground, I came across some old door locks. I thought they looked really cool. I was just unsure what I could do with them. After walking through the store a bit, I had the idea of making a wall hanging. I thought it would look good if I just put a bunch of them together.

I think they were priced at $5.00 and  $7.00 each. I grabbed 34 of them and if I remember correctly, I got 2nd Chance to priced them all at $5.00 (I was buying in bulk after all). After spending $170, I was now committed. Maybe that is why it only took me a year to get this done.


Reclaimed locks, complete with patina, and supplies

I started with my 34 locks, some luan, black paint, and some heavy duty epoxy.I laid out the locks in a random pattern to get a free form flow. Random was not really the way to go. Just laying out the locks, they either did not line up just right, or there were to many locks of the same color next to each other. It took some work till I found an arrangement that looked random with the varying sizes, colors and shapes. Some were right-side-up, some upside-down.


The Final Layout

Yes, you are seeing that correct! The best pattern was 5 rows of 7 locks a piece. If you are working ahead, you’ve realized that 7 x 5 = 35, NOT the 34 locks that I purchased over a year ago. All I could do is hope that I could go back and find another lock. In the back of my mind, I imagined having to hunt one down on E-Bay and pay about 10 times the price.

I began construction by cutting out the luan to a rectangle just slightly smaller than the lock layout. I then used some flat black spray paint to coat the front of the luan so that any cracks would be dark and not stand out. Next, I mixed up small batches of epoxy and glued the locks on in order. I’d show you some pictures of the process, but once the epoxy was mixed, I had to move fast, I also did not want to get any of that nasty stuff on my camera phone.

brassThis all worked well and I was able to mount 34 of the 35 locks in about 30 minutes. For more interest, I glued 2 of the locks with the bolts out. I let it all dry and then I picked it up to store inside over night. I am not sure if you have though about this yet, but yes, this was getting very heavy. Now I had to start worrying about how I was going to be able to hang this thing. (Maybe I should have thought of that first). I put the artwork on the scale and it registered 15 lbs. I used some brass binding Chicago screw posts for the mounting. I put them through one of the mounting holes for two different locks and used some hanging wire around them on the back. After putting a 50 lbs. hook in the wall, it was ready to hang.

If you were following along and wondered about the last lock, I went back to second chance and founds all kinds of locks, but not the kind I was looking for. Just before I left, I went down this last aisle that normally just has lighting and I found a small pile of them. I picked up a nice looking one and went home to install it. Thanks for reading!


Second Chance from the outside. You can;t miss it as you come to Baltimore from the south.

About brainstormrodeo

Engineer, Craftsman, Tinkerer
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