Antique keys come in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed to open everything from suitcases to cabinets. Collecting and displaying antique keys is an interesting hobby. There are a number of creative ways to display your antique keys.
Shadow boxes come in different sizes, and are usually made of wood with a glass top. These can be displayed either by hanging them on a wall, or setting them on a table. When planning to hang a shadow box, display your antique keys by hanging them with small pins. For shadow boxes set on a table, you can simply arrange the keys in any way that you like. Depending on the amount and types of keys you are displaying, you may want to purchase several shadow boxes and arrange the keys by type. For an interesting visual, tie a satin or grosgrain ribbon around the keys and pin the ribbon. Consider tying tassels on the keys, or if you know a little something about a certain key, tie on a tag with information about the key. In addition, some shadow boxes come with partitions that allow you to display each key in its own space.
A display chest looks like a jewelry chest without partitions. It's a box with three, four or more drawers that you can pull open to reveal the contents. The drawers are usually lined with felt; display your antique keys by placing them directly on the felt. Secure the keys with pins since opening and closing the drawers may cause the keys to move from their position. Like the shadow box display, you can also arrange the keys depending on how you'd like to display them. For example, set a certain type of keys in one drawer, and another type in another drawer--or, randomly display the keys in each drawer.
There are two types of shelf displays. One type is a box frame lined with shelves that you hang on the wall. Unlike the shadow box, it has no glass cover. The other is a shelf that you hang directly on your wall. These two types of displays serve the same purpose; the only difference is how they look. With both types of displays, the antique keys can simply be set on the shelves in any order. Add extra touches such as ribbons, tassels and tags, as you would in other types of display cases.