I recently bought a console table for an empty spot in the house – it was a wall crying out for something – of course this meant I then needed things to put on it….sigh…
I remember seeing some cool glass domes in Restoration Hardware catalogs with scrolls and keys in them and I thought a few of those would look nice along with some crapola I already had – like a nice wooden horse and silver tray that were in need of homes.
I guess I had never checked the price on these splendiferous glass “cloches” – the one I particularly liked full of vintage keys was $395 – WTF? If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would never pay 400 bucks for a bunch of old rusty keys in a glass dome! Even the empty ones were $70 – 100 – not happening!
Outraged, but still wanting my fancy “objects d’art” – I decided to take matters into my own hands. I ordered 3 varying sizes of cloches from Amazon – do yourself a favor and search for glass display domes – they are automatically half the price of a glass “cloche” LOL. The largest most expensive was under $40, the other two were $20 and $14 all on a nice walnut base – just like the Restoration Hardware versions :)
I also ordered some old keys online for $15 and then hit JoAnnes and Michaels to pick up a few more old keys, some carved wooden eggs and a pad of that paper scrapbookers use with old letters, sheet music, maps etc printed on them I may have spent all of $30
Once I had all my ingredients on hand, I started with the easy stuff. The tallest “cloche” I wanted to fill with scrolls – similar to the expensive inspiration but since I was doing it myself, I was able to personalize – I rolled up a map from the scrapbooking pad, leaving Ireland visible – tied it up with a piece of canvas that came with some of the JoAnnes stuff and added a small key with the word “Journey”. Since I moved from Ireland to the US many years ago I thought this was appropriate. I made another scroll from a piece of sheet music and added a key with the word “Heart” on it – I did find my wonderful husband here after all – then I used a few more vintage looking letters and tied them with the ribbon that held some of the keys together and “Voila” for $25 bucks I had recreated a pretty cool piece.
Even easier was filling the smallest dome with a bunch of carved wooden eggs – I thought that would be kind of fun, since, we amazingly enough, have chickens who lay a bunch of actual eggs – this was a quirky nod to the life we have today and love. This one may have cost me about $35
The final one was more of a project – I really wanted that damn cloche full of keys!!! The Victorians were on to something – you can put any old crap under glass and it instantly becomes fascinating and fabulous – part of an exotic collection. I needed one of these so bad – I just refused to pay a fortune for it!
I used some dark bronze wire I bought in JoAnnes to make hooks. I have some pliers from a jewelry making hobby I had back in the day that let me easily form the shape I wanted and I just made them in varying heights and arranged the keys in a way that made me happy. I used a piece of styrofoam to get the general layout and then marked the base of the largest dome with a sharpie in the approximate layout of the hooks in the styrofoam.
My teen, who loves to help out on projects and build things (wonder where he gets that from?) used a fine drill bit to drill holes straight down into the base. Make sure you mark your drill bit with tape so you don’t go the whole way through – just 3/4 of the way is what you need.
Once he did that, I started to assemble the hooks into the base. I discovered that the weight of the keys made them swivel so I used a hot glue gun to put a bead of glue on the bottom of each hook before inserting it into the base – this held them securely where I wanted them, then I could hang the keys knowing they wouldn’t shift around and get tangled.
Finally, I put the glass dome in place and stood back to admire my handiwork. OK I may have spent $70 all told on this one, but it is a far cry from the $395 that Restoration Hardware wanted – of course they may have been drunk off their asses when they came up with that price point LOL