I now have 4 kryptonite keys on my key ring that I carry around for my family. These are the ones with a black plastic bulb on the key's bow. In order to make my life easier, I would like to paint it for easy identification. What type of paint do I need to use along with techniques or other advise.

  • 1
    An alternative to paint/polish might be to get locks keyed alike either by a locksmith or by the dealer. That way you all have one key only. No paint required, and a smaller cluster of keys too.
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 20:27
  • 1
    @Criggie often bike locks are a specialist thing that locksmiths won't have the tools or parts for. Abus bike locks, for example, can't be re-keyed in Australia.
    – Móż
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 22:50
  • 2
    I prefer to cut off part of the handle to make each key a different shape. That's permanent and easy to detect in the dark or by touch.
    – Móż
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 22:52
  • You should be careful with how much you cut off, esp. if you live in a place where locks are prone to freezing, though.
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 1:13
  • 3
    I don't know where to get them, but I have stretchable plastic things that fit around the head (handle) of the key. They are not only different colors, but have different patterns of bumps on them.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 3:00

3 Answers 3


I used nail varnish, it sticks well to the plastic and is very tough. It's easier to apply than spray paint, but a bit more fiddly and forms a thicker layer of paint. I also used it to mark the locks. You get bottles in the most absurd colours in a 1-pound shop in the teenage cosmetics section.

  • 1
    I've used nail varnish (aka Fingernail Polish as it's known in the US) to paint my kryptonite keys. Prep the surface well the first time. Some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover with some friction will clean and evaporate quickly. Paint just the rubber part with a couple coats. I've done this with a couple keys, and while it eventually did chip off quite a bit, it left the keys identifiable for quite a long time. It's easy to touch up by just painting on some more on after it gets chipped all to hell.
    – Benzo
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 17:23
  • +1 for nail polish. I have access to hundreds of bottles of it, and the other half wouldn't notice. Consider stripping the plastic bit off the key's handle too, and just using the metal key part. Makes your keyring lighter and smaller. Sand the bit to be painted before applying. Also put some of the same polish on the locks, so you simply match colour for colour instead of remembering who is what colour.
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 20:24

Paint (and even nail varnish) will chip off the plastic sooner or later. The important thing is to get the paint into the grooves where it's protected. On my recent series 2 this means the logo on one side, the key number on the other. I've got an older series 2 with a slightly different key body, and the grooves on that aren't as deep (and in the case of the logo they're wider) which wouldn't be as good.

An alternative: buy a pack of coloured cable ties, put one through the hole on each key, with colours to match on the locks themselves.

My adventures with a failed Abus were the result of attempting to avoid having identical keys. When buying new, it's possible to get keyed alike Kryptonite locks (in some countries), but they won't sell a lock to match an existing key.


So long as you cover the metal part of the key (i.e. the part that goes into the lock) with some tape (e.g. painter's tape), painting is easy.

You may want to roughen up the surface of the plastic a bit with some sandpaper. Then, you could use spray paint (there are ones which are marked as specifically good for plastic -- some of the ones which aren't marked this way will peel off), or if you go to a crafts/hardware store store there will be paints specifically marked for plastic use (but crafts store paint is likely be less durable in the long run than the others). Krylon sells suitable paints under their Fusion for plastic line.

Alternatively, you could just put colored pieces of tape (e.g. colored duct tape) on each bulb.

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