Introduction: 35-cent Book Weight/Bookmark

If you, like me, are a big reader, you may have between one and five books going at once, on various subject matters, both fiction and non-fiction, both paper and e-book. Even if you don't love reading, you probably have to read paper books or magazines from time to time.

Therefore, you know the value of good bookmarks, and I have even bought leather book weights in the past. These are great for holding books open while your hands are occupied. But they are bulky, and if you close a book with one inside and place any weight on top of the book, the binding can break.

So I was excited to hear about the penny bookmark as described by Amy Sedaris in an interview when she was promoting her book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. The concept was simple: sandwich pennies between layers of packing tape, and you have an instant book weight and bookmark!

I immediately made one for myself, and it quickly became my favorite reading tool. However, packing tape, even though it is pretty good quality, is not very durable, and before long, the pennies started wearing through. Plus the tape was slippery enough that if I picked the book up, the bookmark would slide right out. It was time for an upgrade.

Having discovered the wonders of duct tape, I realized I could make a beautiful, functional book weight using the same concept. Not only that, but it serves these other purposes:
  • What to do with those gazillion pennies you have lying around. You know, the ones where the metal is worth more than the coins themselves.
  • It's an easy craft to do with the kiddos, either at home or in the classroom.
  • Your Christmas/birthday/whatever gift needs have answered. These are awesome, and you can make them really pretty and cool looking. A recession-proof gift!
  • Security. It's a great way to hide your stash of gold bullion from prying eyes if you need to.
So here it is: the 35-cent* bookmark, your recession-proof, upcycled gift needs answered. You’re welcome.

*Cost is approximate and is based on 28 cents in pennies, and about 7 cents in everything else.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:
  • Pennies (I raided my broken bookmark and my old bank for some)
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Paint (optional)
  • Other decorative stuff (optional)

Step 2: Put the Pennies on the Duct Tape

I used 14 rows of pennies. You can decide how long you want yours to be. If you read massive tomes, magazines or coffee table books, make it longer; mostly paperbacks, shorter. Remember, though, the expense will go up with the length! 

Lay the pennies side by side in rows of two on sticky-side-up duct tape.

Step 3: Cover and Trim

Carefully cover the duct tape strip with another one. You can use a contrasting color, if you like.

Press the tape down so it seals on both sides.

Trim the ends so they are even, and take off any part of the sides where sticky tape is showing.

If you're just looking for a basic bookmark, you're finished!

Step 4: Optional: Decorate

Now you can customize it any way you like. This is especially good if you are making yours as a gift, or if you just like to look at pretty things.

I added silver tape to the ends of mine. Then I used paint markers to add a message to one side. Finally, I added a stick-on rhinestone for a little sparkle.

Yes, I have the same kind of rhinestone on my fingernails. Why not?

They do make clear duct tape if you want to see your pennies.

Please to post photos of your awesome bookmark creations based on this idea. And for more crazy midnight projects, be sure to follow me!


samthor made it!(author)2016-02-07

instead of coins, I scrounged in the basement to see what else I could use. Found some orphaned keys and random belt buckles.

KathyR27 made it!(author)2015-10-17

What's the trick to not have any sticking edges or corners? Thanks!

susanrm made it!(author)2015-10-20

Just go as slowly and carefully as you can, but keep in mind you can always cut off edges that don't line up perfectly.

JeanW1 made it!(author)2015-02-13

Just saved myself $12 from buying a book weight that does the same thing. Made mine a few pennies longer to continue 3 penny rows longer on each side. Holds my very stiff 8.5 x 5.5 in., 380 p. paperback perfectly flat. Thanks so much for a great idea!

mufcake made it!(author)2014-12-15

ldaniel7 made it!(author)2014-11-03

That is brilliant.

SparkySolar made it!(author)2014-10-22

I love this instructable thank you so much

mslaynie made it!(author)2013-07-02

This is such a good idea!! I may have to make a penguin one using my pretty penguin duct tape!

Sally+Wally made it!(author)2012-06-28

Followed :)

Sally+Wally made it!(author)2012-06-28

Looks really cool! I am looking for pennies right now!!!!!!

saitaiable+child made it!(author)2012-06-10

I made one on the clear tape for my husband and he likes it. Great idea that works.

saitaiable+child made it!(author)2012-05-10

Mmmm. Thinking. Tumble the pennies first and use see-thru tape for a decorative effect. Do they make see-thru duct tape? Yes!
Clear Duct Tape Duck® brand, found with a quick Google.

susanrm made it!(author)2012-06-10

That could be good! I like the decorative effect of the pretty duct tape. I made it first with packing tape, which is clear, but it fell apart too quickly.

agis68 made it!(author)2011-09-22 can use it as defence weapon too!

skipro made it!(author)2011-08-25

It works great! I love it!

Photo on 2011-08-25 at 11.30.jpg
susanrm made it!(author)2011-08-25

What a pretty bookmark! And when you did this, I discovered that you can space your pennies out a little more for a longer and just-as-effective bookmark. :-)

keithdbrown made it!(author)2011-08-25

Great Tip...I don't have duct tape but Gorilla Tape does the trick too!

skipro made it!(author)2011-08-25

That's so cool! I must try that!

offseid made it!(author)2011-08-24

Just caught this on Lifehacker. Fantastic instructable!

susanrm made it!(author)2011-08-24

Thank you so much - and for telling me about the repost!

dmgilbert36 made it!(author)2011-08-21

great idea, i have lots of pennies that are all scruffed up. i bet flat washers would work just as well, if you had some laying around.

susanrm made it!(author)2011-08-24

No doubt!

mole1 made it!(author)2011-08-20

This is one I'm definitely going to do! Thanks for posting this!

susanrm made it!(author)2011-08-21

Great! They are so easy - and so functional, right?

mole1 made it!(author)2011-08-22

Right! And I just saw decorator duct tape at the drugstore today. Zebra stripes, leopard spots, tie-die etc. Stocking stuffers will soon be in the works.

susanrm made it!(author)2011-08-22

Awesome! You can find it at AC Moore, sometimes Home Depot, Walmart, and elsewhere.

bajablue made it!(author)2011-08-20

I love the colors you chose... heck... I love the whole project!

I'll take this idea down to Baja next month. The kids will really enjoy it! (and I'll make a few for myself, too.;-)

susanrm made it!(author)2011-08-21

Awesome, and thank you! I love the colors too. :-)

sunshiine made it!(author)2011-08-19

This inspires me to make my daughter a few! she would love them. Thanks for sharing!

susanrm made it!(author)2011-08-20

Thanks, Sunshiine!

About This Instructable




Bio: Teacher, tutor, trainer, author, and creative person; if I can do it or make it myself, I will! Jewelry & websites at ... More »
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