Picture of 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.
JeanW16 months ago

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!

mufcake8 months ago
ldaniel710 months ago
That is brilliant.
SparkySolar10 months ago

I love this instructable thank you so much

mslaynie2 years ago
This is such a good idea!! I may have to make a penguin one using my pretty penguin duct tape!
Sally Wally3 years ago
Followed :)
Sally Wally3 years ago
Looks really cool! I am looking for pennies right now!!!!!!
I made one on the clear tape for my husband and he likes it. Great idea that works.
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 (author)  saitaiable child3 years ago
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.
agis683 years ago
cool...you can use it as defence weapon too!
skipro4 years ago
It works great! I love it!
Photo on 2011-08-25 at 11.30.jpg
susanrm (author)  skipro4 years ago
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. :-)
keithdbrown4 years ago
Great Tip...I don't have duct tape but Gorilla Tape does the trick too!
skipro4 years ago
That's so cool! I must try that!
offseid4 years ago
Just caught this on Lifehacker. Fantastic instructable!
susanrm (author)  offseid4 years ago
Thank you so much - and for telling me about the repost!
dmgilbert364 years ago
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 (author)  dmgilbert364 years ago
No doubt!
mole14 years ago
This is one I'm definitely going to do! Thanks for posting this!
susanrm (author)  mole14 years ago
Great! They are so easy - and so functional, right?
mole1 susanrm4 years ago
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 (author)  mole14 years ago
Awesome! You can find it at AC Moore, sometimes Home Depot, Walmart, and elsewhere.
bajablue4 years ago
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 (author)  bajablue4 years ago
Awesome, and thank you! I love the colors too. :-)
sunshiine4 years ago
This inspires me to make my daughter a few! she would love them. Thanks for sharing!
susanrm (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
Thanks, Sunshiine!