DIY Medal Key Chain and Magnets

Reader Contribution by Courtney Denning
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I’ve been on a de-cluttering rampage this year! I’ve gone through my wardrobe and gotten rid of clothes that don’t fit well and clothes that I don’t love. I’ve sorted through my book and DVD collection; keeping only cherished books and movies we’ll definitely watch over and over. My parents have emptied their attic and my sister and I have sorted through childhood treasures to be trashed, recycled, sold at a garage sale, donated or kept.

Along the way I have unearthed a large collection of old trophies and medals from my elementary years playing soccer, junior high basketball camp and junior high and high school Science Olympiad competitions. I had too many to keep, but I but I didn’t want to get rid of them all. I came up with two craft projects to repurpose these medals into objects I would see often, but that wouldn’t be cumbersome to move or take up too much space: key chains and magnets.

Before embarking on these projects, I set aside my favorite medals. I also put all of my medals and ribbons together and photographed them. A photo takes up so little space on my computer, and is an easy way to remember my accomplishments. Then I selected my favorite medals to DIY with. The rest I mailed to Bling for Bravery, an organization that takes medals from marathons and triathlons, which are repurposed into medals for children fighting cancer. I contacted the organization before mailing my medals to see if they would take my academic, non-athletic medals, and they were happy to have them.

How to Make Medal Key Chains and Magnets

To make your own medal key chains you will need:

  • Old medals, the smaller the better!
  • An existing keychain or a metal ring (if making a single keychain and not attaching to an existing one)
  • Staple remover

They key chains are simple enough to make that they don’t really need DIY instructions. I simply cut off the fabric ribbon and used a staple remover to pry open my keychain so I could slide the small metal ring, which held the fabric ribbon onto the keychain. Super simple! I had four medals of a smaller size so I made four key chains and gave them as gifts to my sister and husband, who were also in Science Olympiad with me – it’s how my husband and I met!

To make your own medal magnets you will need:

  • Old medals, larger ones work well!
  • A nail
  • A strong adhesive, preferably one that is meant for use on metal. I used Permates Steel Weld
  • Strong magnets
  • Something to protect your work surface (I used a piece of cardboard from my recycling bin)


The magnets take a little bit more work, but not much. I removed the fabric ribbon from the medals I wanted to turn into magnets. I also used a nail to bend open the small metal rings in order to remove them. I then scratched up the back of each medal with the nail. A rough surface makes it easier for the adhesive to stick. Follow your adhesives instructions, some, like the one I used, require two different liquids to be mixed before applying. Use the adhesive to attach a magnet to the back of each medal, set aside for the adhesive to cure.


That’s it! These very simple DIY projects are an easy way to keep a treasured prize from school or a sporting event without storing them in a box for years (and possibly forgetting about them!).

If you’re feeling particularly crafty and have more old medals and trophies to repurpose, you might be interested in one of these DIYs:

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