Three Ways To Make Duplicate Keys

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

My bosom buddies and I had our game night yesterday, and our usual caffeine fuelled chit chat ended up on the must-know DIY life hacks territory. I learned everything from how to squint your eyes just right when taking a selfie for a genuine looking smile to how to waterproof my canvas shoes. My friend Casey shared a unique life hack that made my ears prick. She told us about  ways to make duplicate keys at home. I always have a bunch of keys with me at all times, sentries to what is most precious to me. Needless to say, I have a healthy fear of losing or misplacing them, which in the worst case scenario could render me homeless.

The most common way to get a duplicate key is to visit your local locksmith. But if you are thrifty you can duplicate your key right at the comfort of your own home and acquire a new hobby while at it. All you need is carloads of patience and some easy to use tools, and you will be on your way to locksmith status.

The filing method

This was how keys were duplicated decades ago before the ascent of key duplicating machines. It takes a bit of time to get your duplicate key by this method but done right the results are superb.

 Materials needed

  • A small hand file
  • A vice
  • Blank key
  • Original key


  1. Clamp and align your key with the duplicate blank key on the vice. Tighten them then start filing. Begin with the highest points and move downwards to the grooves.
  2. Smooth it out, then test it. File away the finishing touches, and you will have a new sturdy duplicate key.

The heat and clear tape method

This method is easy peasy as it uses a light material to produce the duplicate key.

Materials needed

  • Lighter
  • Clear tape
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Sharp scissors
  • A piece of plastic card or bottle or tin can lid


  • Subject your original key to the flame of the lighter till it forms a black coating on its surface. Give it a few minutes to cool down.
  • Place the sticky side of your clear tape atop the blackened key side, then peel off the tape gently to reveal the copy of your key indented on it.
  • Stick this piece of tape to your plastic or metallic piece.
  • Use the soot indentation to cut out your duplicate key using your pair of scissors or small knife. Ensure utmost accuracy when doing the cutting.
  • Time to test your duplicate key. Since it is made from light materials, it could break easily so when testing it, so use a flat screwdriver to support it in your keyhole. Wiggle it in gently while fine-tuning it if any flaws.

The photo method

You can take a photo of your original key, print it, and then cut it out. Stick this cut out print out to your plastic or metal can lid, and then follow the procedure above for a new duplicate key.


Video :