Make a secret Picture Frame / Key Hanger

Using a picture frame as the basic design, we created a hidden key holder. Frame your favourite photos, or an image, while keeping keys in a safe place.




We made a picture frame from scratch and then used this to hide a key holder out of sight. Fill the picture frame with a family photo or interesting picture to complement your room decor. I finished the frame with a coastal theme to match the beach scene image I decided to frame. 





The frame and cabinet were whitewashed and then given an antique effect with Rust-Oleum Smoked Glaze. 






2 of 22 x 44 x 360mm pine - cabinet / box frame sides

4 of 22 x 44 x 320mm pine - cabinet / box frame top, bottom, supports

4 of 22 x 94 x 400mm pine - frame

2 of Moulding strips, 1800mm - frame - cut to length as required

1 of Moulding strip, 1800mm - cabinet / box frame - cut to length as required

1 of 3 x 330 x 355mm Evowood (Masonite), hardboard or supawood - backing

32mm coarse-thread pocket-hole screws [8]

Wood glue

Wood filler

240-grit sandpaper

Acrylic PVA, white and paintbrushes

OPTIONAL: Rust-Oleum Smoked Glaze

Slotted hangers [2]

Cup hooks

Door catch

Butt hinges [2] + 16mm screws

4mm or 5mm glass, cut to fit

No More Nails adhesive




Drill / Driver plus assorted bits

Kreg pocket-hole jig + pocket-hole plugs [8]

Quick clamp

Tape measure and pencil

OPTIONAL: Pneumatic Nailer + brad nails








1. Cut the pieces for the frame. Each section has a 45-degree (opposing) angle for the corners of the frame. Drill [2] pocket-holes at the ends of the side pieces for the frame.



2. Join the frame corners together with wood glue and 32mm screws.




Use a clamp to hold the pieces firmly in place as you join together.





3. Fill any gaps - front and back - with wood filler and leave to dry before sanding smooth with 240-grit sandpaper.





4. Cut the moulding into strips - with 45-degree angles at the ends - to fit around the centre square of the frame. Make sure to allow for the 5mm overhang to support the glass - see point 5 below.



5. Glue the moulding strips onto the front of the frame, placing them 5mm over the edge of the centre square. This will allow the glass to sit on top of the framing strips.






After gluing, I used my Aircraft Pneumatic Nailer to add a couple of brad nails to each strip. Click here for more information on this tool.





6. Cover the nails and any gaps with wood filler; allow to dry and then sand smooth.



BELOW: Close-up of finished frame front.



7. Paint the frame - front and back - with 2 coats of watered down acrylic PVA, white. Allow drying time between coats. Watering down the paint gives a whitewashed effect.




Click here for more information on whitewashing on pine.





8. For antique or Shabby Chic effect apply Rust-Oleum Smoked Glaze.



Apply Rust-Oleum Smoked Glaze with a thin paintbrush and immediately wipe away with a soft cloth. Re-apply for more effect.



9. Fit the cut piece of glass into the square opening and secure with a bead of No More Nails adhesive around the edge.



Fill pocket-holes with plugs. To match the finish, white plugs were glued into all pocket-holes.



10. Make the cabinet / box frame section by gluing together the individual pieces as shown below.





11. For added stability, two 30mm screws were driven through the sides into the horizontal pieces. The holes were covered with wood filler and then sanded smooth. Two coats of watered down acrylic PVA were applied onto the finished box frame to give a whitewashed finish.





12. Secure the backing board with brad nails. If you don't over a brad nailer, use a hammer and panel pins or a heavy-duty stapler. Allow a gap at the top for fitting the keyhole hangers in the next step.





13. Attach Slotted Hangers at the top of the backing board.





14. Cut moulding to fit inside the cabinet / box frame and glue in place.  





15. Screw in Cup Hooks. Cup hooks are available in assorted styles and sizes.





16. Place the cabinet / box frame face down on the back of the frame and mark with a pencil. On the back of the frame, mark at 60mm up from the top and bottom edge.





17. Use the drawn lines and mark to attach butt hinges to the frame back and cabinet / box frame front.



BELOW: Frame attached to cabinet / box frame with butt hinges.



18. Finally, secure a door catch to the frame and cabinet / box frame. For this project a double roller catch was used, but you can just as easily use a magnetic hinge catch.