DIY Hide-A-Key

15 Sep

I don’t know about you, but I love it when my posts have a personal story to go with it. Not all of my projects have a long story or reason to accompany them, but when they do it is always a lot more fun to talk about. Lucky you (or not), today is one of those story days. Today, I’m going to preface my DIY Hide-A-Key tutorial with a recent ordeal that led me to make a homemade hide-a-key. Let’s get started, shall we?

By now you know, I have a 2 year old and almost 4 month old daughters. My toddler is a complete mommy’s girl. She follows me every where and wants to do everything I’m doing. I am guilty of sneaking downstairs for a drink while she’s distracted with a movie. That guilty pleasure of a 60 second break is no stranger to me. So when she handed me an old toy and asked me to get it to work again, I was kind of excited to take a trip to the garage for new batteries… alone. This happened to take place fairly early into our day, and I hadn’t yet gotten her or myself ready for the day. I had left my little-little one on the floor doing tummy time, and ventured downstairs. Our garage door entry from the house has one of those hinges on it that closes automatically behind you (do you see where this is going?). I had no idea that my little mommy’s girl was following behind me. I thought I had sneaked away to retrieve batteries. When the garage door closed behind me, I did not think anything of it… until Jolene started crying for mommy.

“Just a minute!” I kept reassuring her as I searched for the correct size batteries. Then, my heart sank as I heard a sound all too familiar- but usually I was on the inside and Daddy was in the garage. Jolene trying to open the door, she reached for the dead bolt lock, not the handle knob. I was now locked in the garage. In basketball shorts and a sports bra (guys… I’m not a skinny girl. No one could ever pay me to wear this outfit outside.). I started to talk to Jolene through the door in an attempt to coach her through unlocking it. Her voice slowly got further away from the door. I knocked to get her attention, unleashing a bottle of fear inside my toddler. She began to panic. PANIC I tell you. She heard the knock and thought a monster was now after her. Her faux attention-wanting crying turned into sincere terrified screaming.

Bare foot and half naked, I opened the big garage door and started to walk to the backyard. I knew the glass sliding door was easier to open and she’d be able to see me which might calm her down. We live in Arizona. Do you know what is popular landscaping in Arizona where growing grass is not only hard but expensive? ROCKS. It only took about 5 steps before I retreated to the driveway and began a hunt in our garage for something to cover my feet. It began with strapping bike helmets to my feet, until I noticed my husband’s golf shoes buried under the bike gear. With Jolene still screaming inside (and by this point I was pretty sure I heard Roslyn crying too), I quickly hit the shoes against the floor upside to check for spiders (duh, priorities people! 😉 ) and slipped them on. I ran to the back yard, and began tapping on the glass of the sliding door. She. Freaked. Out. More. Now her “monster trying to get her” was in the backyard and she couldn’t even bear to turn around and look. After several minutes of failed attempts at that, I ran back around to the front of the house. The front door has a side window, and I knew it would be in her view.

Still screaming, she found mommy at the window and stood there telling me how scared she was. I desperately tried to calm her down to get her to unlock any door at that point. We were reaching 45 minutes of being outside half naked with golf shoes on in 100 degree weather. Oh yeah, and my cell phone was inside of course. I tried to get Jolene to get mommy’s phone and call grandpa (she knows how to work my touch screen phone. I learned that after she called grandpa one time while I was in the other room with the baby. My dad thought something was wrong and began driving over to check on us). Nope, there was no getting the phone. She just wanted to stand there and cry to me through the door. Her booger collection was building on her upper lip. Did I take it too far? Let’s move on.  I ran next door to ask to borrow a phone. No one was home. This repeated to the other homes close to me until I finally found someone home. By now, I could hear Jolene screaming from across the street because mommy left her again. Without my cell phone and speed dial, I only had 2 numbers memorized. My dad, who was at the court house for a political thing, and my husband who was at work- both of which I knew wouldn’t be answering their phones but I hoped and prayed they’d check they voice mails promptly. I left messages to them that my mom has a spare key and to please get a hold of her asap. Little did I know, while my mom had a spare key, it was on her key ring which also had the car key on it, which was with my dad. She had no car. So now my husband and mother are panicking behind the scenes.

My sweet neighbor (who is also very new to the neighborhood, nothing like a first impression with attire, right?), offered to send her husband over with me to help me kick in a door. I was relieved for the help but was mostly embarrassed that now  two people would witness my outfit of choice for the morning. With failed attempts at kicking a door in, we had 2 more options we could think of as 1 hour rapidly approached us. Either call the fire dept, or break a window. I did a quick mental inventory of which windows I wouldn’t mind replacing, as my neighbor ran home to get a phone. He returned with a phone and 2 suckers and said “let’s try this approach and then we’ll call.” With him at the front window holding the suckers trying to bribe her, I ran to the back sliding glass door and began talking to Jo through the door. I calmed her down and told her there were no monsters after her. I said that is our nice nice neighbor and he has suckers for her if she can get the door unlocked for me. She cried and cried for mommy again. I said “Mommy’s right here, turn around” she wouldn’t. I said “Jolene, go to the backyard honey, where your swing is. You’ll see mommy back here”. She wouldn’t budge. I said “Jolene, where does mommy keep your donuts?” she answered me. This is progress. I said “That’s right, go to the kitchen where your donuts are” Our kitchen is right close to the sliding door. She began to turn around to walk to the kitchen for her donuts. That girl and her donuts, I swear. I should have thought of this sooner. She saw me and ran to the sliding door, tears pouring out all over again. I was trying to talk in a happy tone to let her know there was nothing wrong. I coached her through unlatching the sliding door, and BAM I was in. We ran to the front door and opened it for my neighbor. He handed her the suckers and looked at me saying “You might want to get one of those hide-a-key things.”

Taking the advice of my neighbor who has seen more of me than I would ever wish on anyone in the neighborhood, as soon as I got dressed and got a hold of my mom and dad I headed to our local hardware store to look at hide-a-key options. They had the basic black box for $3. I wasn’t convinced a little black box was really hiding my key. I mean, it said right on it in gold lettering “hide-a-key”. That’s like inviting unwanted guests into my home when I’m away. The next option was a faux rock that is hallow inside. “Brilliant!” I thought. Buuuut it was pushing $10 and the rock was not the same color or kind that we had as landscaping. The deal breaker was after further inspection of the piece, I saw that it was not sturdy made. You could easily step on this and break it to get the key out. It was then that I ventured to make my own hide-a-key. Here is how I did it:

Hide A Key Supplies - Small Fine Print

E-6000 Glue (or other epoxy glue)

Empty prescription bottle (you can actually just walk into a pharmacy and ask for one, but I had an empty one on hand)

A rock big enough to cover the lid of your bottle

A spare key

Pretty straight forward, right? I glued the rock to my Rx bottle. I let it dry over night. Put the key in the bottle, attached the rock lid, and bury the bottle in the ground leaving only the rock exposed. Obviously, I can’t show you the after picture. You’ll know where my key is! So, I’ll show you what it looked like before I buried it, and I’ll use a background that doesn’t give away where it is buried 😉

Homemade Hide A Key


8 Responses to “DIY Hide-A-Key”

  1. Erin September 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Oh my goodness, what a story! I was on the edge of my seat reading it. Thank you for sharing this. I was literally about to look to buy a hide a key online after some blog reading, but you’ve changed my mind. We’ve locked ourselves out three times in the last month (after never doing it before). We’re on a roll and something must be done! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  2. laura September 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    what a great idea for the hide-a-key

  3. kristen May 20, 2013 at 3:23 am #

    Hello, I saw this on pinterest and had to read your story. How utterly terrifying and hilarious (after the fact). your rock idea is brilliant, and I too live in AZ so can vouch for the annoying rock landscapes lol. I so wish I would’ve been your neighbor because breaking into a sliding glass door is so simple, depending on the style. I’m assuming its a latch like mine and not key lock. I too was recently locked out because I forgot I had LOST my house key, spent all day/night out just to remember when I pulled up at home…at 1am! Way to look like a thief. Luckily, I had my phone, but my parents with the spare were out of town. So I googled how to break in, its true they have everything on there. After 30 mins of trying to pick a lock and getting nowhere but hot (damn az heat even at night), I googled the sliding glass door one. No joke, tried it, boom in the house within 2 mins. Ugh. Should’ve tried it first. Not gonna lie, now I know how easy it is I get super paranoid lol. Luckily they make extra locks for them. Anyway, if you EVER need to break in a sliding glass door with a spring latch, not a key one idk if it’d work the same. Try this: lift the door up which will move it up out of its track, you’ll feel it and hear it, then just tap/hit around the handle latch part and the spring will pop because it now unaligned. The door will sweetly slide open. It won’t look unlocked, so you’ll have to unlock it, close it, lock it again once in. Then check it 50 million times out of paranoia lol.

    • Mandy May 20, 2013 at 8:50 am #

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! lol That’s great to know about sliding glass doors!

  4. Trish March 10, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    OH WOW!
    WHAT a story! And God bless your sweet lil Jolene…tears, donuts, mountain boogers and all. Sweet baby! I just wanted to sit down and cry with her. Monsters are just awful. LOL!

    We were just locked out of our house last week and nearly late for church because of it. (the last person out the door…..uhhhhh that would be *me*…….hahhahahhah) forgot to bring the car keys and house keys with them and we were locked OUT of the house AND we couldn’t go on to church either.


    Thought about breaking through the sliding door….but I would have had to climb “over” the back fence to get to it….and again…..I was ready for church. Uhhh yeah, *that* wasn’t happening. LOL

    So I did the next best thing. I broke through the garage,
    it worked fairly well. (ow ow) destroyed everything in the path of the garage door. double drat!
    But….we got through… those doggoned keys and made it before the choir geared up that first chorus of “hallelujahs”

    People did ask about my sweaty appearance though.
    I told them I’d had a personal experience with God that day….. (not far from the truth)
    I did ask for HELP to get there, after all….as I was crawling out from under the stuff that crashed on me in the garage. LOL!!!!!!
    I think I NEED your version of the hide-a-key …..THANKS!!!! 😉

    • Mandy May 15, 2015 at 10:37 am #

      well that is quite the story yourself! lol I’m glad you continued on to church after all that- i think most people would have given up on their day’s plans after a rough start like that 🙂 Let me know if you make the hideakey! I’m always curious if it turns out well for readers

  5. Joyce Flannery July 4, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    You poor dear. I to have empathy for you. I’a 70 year old grandmother/ retired teacher. I watch my youngest og 5grandsons while the other four attend the school that I retired from some 10 years ago. Any way I decided to. Let the little one play outside. I of course went out with him and locked the door. I immediately grabbed my 30 lb. toddler and we walked to the school. I to was not dressed appropriately nor was I washed and combed. I was a mess and did not relish my journey to school and back. Let alone being seen by the office staff that I knew from my earlier day of teaching. I signed in and requested my smallest grandson to return home with me so we could break a window for him to crawl through to let us back in the house. I wish these old bone would let me climb into a window when necessary but on the bright Sid the baby enjoyed his trip to school and his brother enjoyed his break from class and breaking a window for nana. PS I now have a hide a key. I only hope I will remember which rock has the key. Thanks for sharing your story.

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