Keyrings: What They are Used for and Why People are Collecting Them

A keyring may seem like an insignificant object to some, but they are also keepsakes with sentimental value to many others, often obtained as souvenirs from trips to far-off places or received as gifts at memorable moments.

We often don’t realise how frequently we use some sort of keychain in our day-to-day lives. We all have keys around us, whether it may be a house key or a car key, and a keyring not only makes them look more appealing to the eye but also makes our keys stand out so it is easy to locate them. The keyring is probably the first thing we reach for when looking for our keys daily.

Keyring collecting, also known as Copoclephily, has been a popular hobby amongst many people both young and old, over the years. The word Copoclephily originates from the Greek word Kope; which means handle, Kleis; which means Key and Phile; which means ‘one that is attracted to’.

So if you consider yourself a keen copoclephilist, or want to know more about this unique hobby, then read on…

What are the Different Types of Keyrings?

There are several different areas that keyring collections cover, including types of cars, different countries, food and drink as well as sports and keyrings from famous events and brands.

Handy gadgets make for another type of popular keyring collection. There are keyrings attached to almost everything, from bottle openers and torches to tiny notebooks and nail clippers.

Why Do People Collect Keyrings?

Keyrings are commonly bought as a nostalgic reminder of holidays and travels and often feature famous monuments and characters. Due to the huge variety available and their lightweight, keyrings are the obvious choice for taking back home to friends and family as small token gifts.

They are often collected by teenagers as part of a fashion trend, to be used for locker keys or hung on bags to make an expressive statement and as a display of flair and individuality. All in all, they are an excellent way to express your style.

The type of merchandise targeted towards the younger generation often features the names and images of popular music bands, cartoons and very often the designs include lanyards and oversized plush toy keyrings which look cute when hung from the zippers of backpacks.

Some other people keep collections of keyrings for resale at a later date when they will have added value for being ‘retro’ or antique.

What are keyrings made of?

Metal and Acrylic are among the most popular materials used for keyrings. There are also leather key fobs and some other types of keyring designs that are made out of rubber or even wood.

A multitude of novelty keyrings are made from other materials available on the market, such as the latest trend of the ‘fluff ball’ pom pom keyring which comes in all sorts of different colours and sizes.

Luminous keyrings are great for when you need to find your keys at night as they glow in the dark, as well as light-up ones that can be switched on and off, which are also very impressive.

Mostly, keyrings have an attached split ring that is made of metal which is used to attach keys, however, some keychains have a clip instead which can be attached to a belt to ensure that keys don’t get lost when out and about.

As well as the mass-produced variety, keyrings can also be personalised with pictures of loved ones and pets or company names which can be given out for marketing purposes.

What are Keyrings Used for?

Keyrings are the most popular promotional items and the most common of all souvenirs.

A decent keyring will keep your keys gathered together and secure, they also provide ease of access to your keys when reaching into your bag for them. You are more likely to easily locate your keys when an attractive key chain or fob of some sort has been attached to them.

They are lightweight, small in size and inexpensive which makes them great for advertising companies and charities and giving out as gifts to large amounts of people. Whether given out to groups of children on a school trip or distributed freely to potential customers for brand recognition purposes, keyrings are an affordable solution worth considering.

Keyrings used for corporate gifts would typically include the company logo, business name and address, telephone number, email address and quite possibly a slogan.

Practical Uses: How Keyrings Affect People

Not only are keyrings extremely useful for locating your house or car keys, due to their striking designs and eye-catching colours, but they also come into practicality almost every day for some people who have to use them as security fobs for entering buildings.

Another practical design is the shopping trolley token keyring which has a small metal disk attached that is the same size as a £1 coin. You will never be lost without a pound coin again when you quickly need to grab a trolley at the supermarket with this innovative key ring.

Keyrings can also be found attached to larger items such as purses and USB sticks.

Keyrings as Wedding Favours

Keyrings make wonderful wedding favours that your guests can continue to use for a long time after your big day. These can also be customised with the names of the bride and groom as well as the date of the wedding.

Novelty items such as magnets and key chains can be used as party favours for all special occasions including baby showers, birthday party bags and novelty hen night gifts, or even at Christmas parties.

Keyrings From Around the World

No trip to any major city of the world would be complete without acquiring a keyring that features either a famous landmark or some sort of iconic symbol. The top twelve iconic keyrings from around the world include:

1. A Big Ben key chain from London – Get the London look with an item that features one of the world’s most famous clock towers along with the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Nelsons Column and a red bus and telephone box.

2. An Eiffel Tower from Paris – Not only is the Eiffel Tower the most visited monument in Paris, it is one of the most renowned monuments worldwide.

3. A Yellow taxi from New York – No trip to the Big Apple would be complete without a souvenir of one of the famous icons that can be seen on the streets of New York City.

4. A Kokeshi doll from Tokyo – They are Japanese dolls which originate from northern Japan and are made out of wood, and they are adorable.

5. A Sphinx from Egypt – After walking the streets of Cairo, it would be a shame not to pick up some sort of Sphinx replica.

6. A Castle from Scotland– A replica of a historic Scottish fortress is a must-have keepsake to bring home from a trip to Edinburgh.

7. A Windmill from Holland – The ideal Dutch souvenir from a trip to the Netherlands.

8. A Day of the Dead Skull from Mexico – These colourfully designed skulls are all the rage and would look fantastic on your keys.

9. A Decorative Elephant from India – These are great for giving an ethnic and hip look to your key chain collection.

10. A Cute Panda from China – Because they are the national animal of China and who doesn’t love pandas?

11. The Dubai Skyline – A souvenir that distinctly says Dubai would serve as an excellent reminder of your superb visit.

12. A Clover from Ireland – A four-leaf clover is an iconic symbol of the Emerald Isle.

Flags are also a great choice for keyring collections of the world, so be sure to pick up a Union Flag keyring during a visit to England.

How to Start a Keyring Collection

Key chains are fun to collect and your collection would be a great conversation starter as each keyring has a memory and a story to tell with it.

Here are a few points you may want to keep in mind when starting your collection:

1. Decide on the theme – Think about whether you want to build up a collection of random keyrings that catch your eye or if you want to select a specific theme, such as countries of the world, or a type of animal that you might love, for example; dogs, cats or horses.

2. Starting your collection – Have a look around the house, perhaps in cupboards or drawers, you may already have a few keyrings to start your collection simply laying around.

3. Where to keep them – Choose a nice box that you like the look of or some kind of display where you will be able to protect your collection and enjoy viewing it whenever you want to. To keep all your keychains in good condition it’s best to keep them out of reach of children and pets, especially the key rings that cannot easily be replaced. Your collection can also be added to one or more carabiners that can be hooked on to wherever you wish to display them.

4. Have a budget in mind – This is particularly useful if you are planning on selling your collection later on so you can have an idea of how much profit you will make.

Also, do you want to build up an assortment of cheap and cheerful novelty key rings or do you want to go for the more expensive, branded varieties? Over time, your keyring collection could end up costing you a fair amount and it is easy to overspend if you don’t set a limit to your budget.

Where to buy Keyrings

Keyrings are available from all sorts of shops and nowadays they are now easier to obtain than ever as they can be purchased online.

Personalised keyrings are ideal gifts for friends, relatives and colleagues and can be customised and engraved with names and messages.

Free keyrings are also available from various websites and business events. Take advantage of these freebies to boost your key chain collection without spending a penny.

How to make your own Keyrings

Making your keyrings is fun and kids will love to join in too. To design your keyrings, you will need around three parts which can be obtained from craft shops or online.

You will need:

1. A loop, known as a split ring, or a hook – The essential part of every keyring to attach your keys to.

2. A large jump ring and an optional piece of chain – The jump ring will be used to attach the ornamental part of the keyring to the loop. The chain can also be added in between the loop and the jump ring for added length and ease of use.

3. A decoration – This is the main item you have chosen for your keyring. Go for something with a hole in it so the jump ring and loop can be easily attached. Several pendants and beads are also available in craft stores and online for this purpose.

Handmade keyrings make great gift ideas as they have that added personal touch. There are various keyring-making tutorials online to help and give inspiration with this.

The top ten ideas for handmade keyrings include:

1. Tassles

2. Braided Ribbon

3. Braided Faux Leather Cord

4. Pretty Beads

5. Kitsch Plastic Animals or Food

6. Colourful Feathers

7. Pom-poms made out of wool

8. Fimo clay decorations

9. Sailor Knots made with thin rope

10. Felt animals and characters

People often receive keyrings as gifts so you might find that you already own a few even if you haven’t consciously gone out and purchased one. Does the keyring you use daily say anything about your sense of style and personality? Why not take the time out to treat yourself to a new keyring that you like? Whether you are looking for one that is made out of metal, plastic, rubber, wood, leather or even crystal, we are sure there is a keyring out there to suit your needs.


  1. Birgitta Bylander
    March 1, 2020, at 1:31 pm REPLY

    What to do with a big collection of keyrings from our son that passed away 4 years ago?

    • Cheryl
      March 5, 2020, at 9:28 pm REPLY

      I am so sorry to read about the loss of your son, perhaps you could donate the keyring collection to a charity or a fund raising event for a good cause.

    • bebe23
      September 29, 2020, at 8:02 pm REPLY

      You could give them to a thrift store that takes items like these.

  1. printlandokhla
    March 17, 2020, at 4:56 am REPLY

    Nice article keep it up like this in your future.I hope you do best afford and make future bright.

  1. Amanda Mitchum
    March 26, 2022, at 2:05 am REPLY

    This was a fantastic read! I'm in the keychain business and there aren't many articles out there with original ideas. I tried to share this content to my Facebook page but the image for posting was missing. Love your work!

  1. Cindy
    August 3, 2022, at 4:41 am REPLY

    That is awesome information about keychains. I just started a business in keyrings and I will definitely share this article on my facebook page.

  1. Julieann
    August 18, 2022, at 7:15 pm REPLY

    I hav over 800 key rings displayey in framez at home