Removing minifigs from key-chains!

by admin on January 26, 2011

in Magnets & Keychains

LEGO has been regularly releasing cool key-chains for LEGO-fans. They usually have a LEGO brick or a LEGO minifigure hanging from the chain as a charm. The key-chains are of great quality and they are perfect to hang your keys.

The minifigs hanging from the key-chains are regular minifigures, with the addition of a metal loop at the top of their head to attach to the key-chain. The metal loop is actually the end of a long pin that goes through the minifigs headgear and head, all the way down into the torso.This assures that the key-chain loop is strongly attached, and also that the minifigure doesn’t come apart as people throw about their keys. For the same reason, the minifig’s legs are glued to the torso (the pin doesn’t reach down to the legs).

Some LEGO-fans are happy to keep these minifigs as key-chain charms, but others wish to remove them to use as regular minifigs in their creations. Key-chains, like magnets, are a cheap way to get really nice minifigures!

I will show you some of the methods that can be used to rescue minifigs from their chains. (Before making an attempt at any of these processes please read our Tutorials Disclaimer for your safety here.)

In any of these methods the first step would be to remove the chain from the loop. This can be easily done with a pair of pliers. Once the chain is removed you can choose which method to follows to remove the remaining metal loop:

1. CUTTING OFF THE METAL LOOP: This is one of the easiest methods to get rid of the metal loop sticking out of the head of the minifig. Simply use cutting-pliers to snip the metal loop off as close to the top of the head as possible.

At this point you can leave the minifig as it is, or if the metal bothers you, you can use hobby paint to cover the top of the remaining pin to hide the metal.

PROS: The benefit of this method is that it’s simple and doesn’t require any special tools. You will easily have a nicely functioning minifigure.

CONS: Unfortunately with this method the minifigure’s parts are still firmly attached. You cannot take the headgear or head off to change it according to your desire.

2. REMOVING THE PIN BY FORCE: Attach a heavy-duty paperclip or other strong metal ring to the exposed loop on the minifig’s head. Grab the paperclip with pliers with one hand, and the minifig’s body with the other (it is helpful to use some kind of cloth or other non-slip material to grab the minifig with, so it doesn’t slide out of your hand). Once you get a good grip pull the pin out of the minifig’s head. (An excellent tutorial of this process with step-by-step picture instructions is available by countblokula on his flickr gallery: LEGO Keychain Removal)

PROS: The method is simple enough, and if it works, you will have a pin-free minifig! You can easily take off the headgear and the head to change it! Also, if you use enough force sometimes the bond between the torso and legs get released as well, giving you a separate torso and leg assembly. A nice bonus!

CONS: This method requires using great force to pull the pin out. Although I know people who regularly use this method, I was never able to do it myself. I guess I’m a wimp! LOL! Also, your minifig will have a hole on its head. However this can be filled in with putty or glue and painted to hide the hole, or just change the headgear.

3. USING A SOLDERING IRON: For this method you will need to get a simple, basic soldering iron, available at pretty much any hardware or hobby store for around $5-$10. This is an electric hand-tool commonly used by electricians. The soldering iron has a heated metal tip to melt and weld metal parts together. (Craftsmen may also use it to burn designs into wood or leather.) Here is mine:

Soldering irons are made by several companies, and may have slightly different specs; some have interchangeable heads for different types of processes, some have temperature control, etc. For our purposes we just need the simplest kind. All we have to make sure is that the tip is small enough to fit into the metal loop on the minifig’s head.

1. Plug the soldering iron into an electric outlet. Wait until it warms up (couple of minutes.
2. Align the loop on top of the minifig’s head in such a way that it has the most clearance. (You don’t want the soldering iron’s tip to touch and melt the plastic.
3. Carefully insert the heated tip into the loop on top of the minifig’s head.
4. Wait a couple of seconds as the soldering iron’s tip transfers the heat over to the pin in the minifig’s body.
5. The heat will gradually release the pin and you can easily pull it out. This should take no mare then 1-2 second. WARNING! If you don’t pull out the heating pin immediately, it will start melting the plastic, so don’t linger. Pull it out as soon as you feel the pin is being released. And you are done! 😀


PROS: This is my favorite method for removing pins. It is simpe and fast!You have a pin-free minifigure with removable head, and headgear within a few seconds with little effort from your part.

CONS: If you have a shaky hand you have to be careful. You don’t want to touch the plastic with the tip of the soldering iron as it is hot and will melt the plastic! An other issue is that when you remove the pin your minifig will have a hole on its head. However this can be filled in with putty or glue and painted to hide the hole, or just change the headgear. The minifig’s legs remain attached to the torso.

LEGO Key Chain - Removed Pin

LEGO Key Chain Parts

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, or your own tips in the comment section below! 😉


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Starwars4876 August 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Thanks I think buying a keychain is cheaper that buying the actual figure


admin August 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Yes, in general, that’s case – especially from licansed themes. :)


#smiley face February 2, 2014 at 11:19 AM

thankyou, i have removed the keychain part fom many keychains but i have have never triend removing the pin, i look forword to trying this


admin February 2, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Have fun with it! One of the most interesting thing I have found after removing the pin is that some keychain minifigs have double faces! :roll:


Erin October 23, 2014 at 8:05 PM

I love that there are so many methods to remove the keychain part to have a custom minifigure, but I can’t seem to find a single tutorial about how to use the keychain part you’ve removed to turn a minifigure into a keychain. Does anyone have any suggestions about turning a minfigure into a durable keychain? Thanks for your thoughts!


admin October 23, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Erin, that’s an interesting question. LEGO minifig keychains have two basic characteristics; one is of course the pin that goes through their head all the way into their torso, and the other is that the bodyparts are glued. You can use any glue recommended for plastics, and you could easily drill a small hole through the head and neck of a minifig with a small drill, then insert the pin. The whole should be slightly smaller than the pin. The pin has ridges, so once inserted it won’t come out easily.


J Sanchez April 9, 2015 at 4:16 PM

i´ve been having success with using force. the trick is to apply continuos force rather than brute force, i usually put the ring around something than will hold my weight and then just bend knees and let gravity do the work.


admin April 9, 2015 at 5:44 PM

Thanks for sharing that. Good suggestion. Will have to give it a try. :)


maurey May 20, 2015 at 4:17 PM

where can I find the screw that goes into the head to make something into a keychain. or where can I buy the chain and screw together?

Thank you,



admin May 20, 2015 at 7:41 PM

Maurey, I don’t know any place where you could get them separately. Perhaps a hobby store, or hardware store?


Aubrey June 23, 2015 at 6:28 PM The candle method seems to work as well.


admin June 23, 2015 at 11:11 PM

That’s a great idea too! :Thanks for sharing! 😀


Aubrey June 25, 2015 at 3:26 AM

Won’t work for minifigs which have pointy headgear like batman or darth maul, though we can get replacements via lego service. Of course, the parts they send aren’t cheap so pick wisely or they’ll get suspicious and simply refer u to a third party site.


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