Basketball Tie Tack





Introduction: Basketball Tie Tack

About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

Pennies minted before 1983 are made of mostly copper. With one of those and a few tools you can make a basketball tie tack. Or I can make it for you.

Step 1: Get Your Materials

I started out by doing an image search on Google. Once I picked out the ball I liked I copied and pasted it to windows paint.

I resized the image a few times and printed it out. The goal here is to print out a ball the same size as a penny.

To find a pre-1983 penny simply pull out the pennies that are the darkest in the bunch. Of the three I pulled out, two were what I wanted.

Also grab 4 paper clips, some socket bits and, a pair of pliers.

Step 2: Paper Clip Seams

Take a socket and wrap a paper clip around it as shown in the picture.

You’ll want to make a series of bends that match the seams of the ball you printed. All I did was use small sockets for the smaller bends and larger sockets for the larger bends.

Use an individual paper clip for each seam. Check the wires against the ball until they match. To help match up the wires to the penny, mark registration lines where they meet the edges of the ball.  

Step 3: Emboss

Place the penny on a hard surface. Tape the formed wire over the penny using the registration marks as a helping guide.

Place a striking tool against the penny / wire and hit that with a heavy hammer. The thick metal rod, I’m using as a striking tool, is from a piece of construction equipment. It’s a pivot pin from a loader bucket.

Repeat the process until all the seams are embossed.

Step 4: Drill Press Mounting

Next comes the soldering of a wood nail onto the back of the coin. But, before you do this make the coin convex. Do this by striking the coin with the head of a carriage bolt over a scrap piece of wood.

Apply flux to the coin and nail head. Solder and mount it into a drill press. 

Step 5: Polish

Spin the coin round and use progressively finer sand paper to remove the penny’s features.

I started with 100 grit followed by 400, 1000, 2000, and then polishing compound.

Keep the sand paper wet to avoid clogging the paper with copper.

Step 6: Finish Up

Heat the coin up until the solder releases the nail. Apply flux to a pin backing and solder it on where the nail was. These backings are available at any craft store.

Use a black paint pen to fill in the embossed seams, wiping away the excess with a paper napkin.

The tie tack backings are also available at the craft store.

Thanks for reading.

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    Awesome project! Awesome instructables. I used the same steps to make a volleyball pendant for my girlfriend.

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    I love this instructable! I have made a few of your projects and each one has been a learning experience. I file the back off the penny before I emboss it. That allows me to skip the step of soldering the nail to the penny.(I use a buffing wheel) I am having an issue with protecting the copper from oxidation. Do you have any recommendations?

    I love this instructable! I have made a few of your projects and each one has been a learning experience. I file the back off the penny before I emboss it. That allows me to skip the step of soldering the nail to the penny.(I use a buffing wheel) I am having an issue with protecting the copper from oxidation. Do you have any recommendations?

    a great way to create a ball details

    I have to say MrBalleng, you really are a master craftsman, I work sheetmetal and hope one day i can be as good and as resourceful as yourself :) thanks heaps

    1 reply

    Thanks a million. I'll keep an eye out for your work. I know you have a trick or two we could all learn from.

    How do you solder the nail on the penny it so it spins completely centered? Ive been trying to help my teenage brother do this for Christmas gifts and we can't seem to get it completely centered. Close but could use some advice on how you do it the 'professional' way.

    Thanks for all the awesome Instructables. Im currently working on a few projects inspired by you. :)


    1 reply

    When I place the domed coin on my soldering surface it sits level. It looks like a little bowl. As long as the nail is centered in the bowl it will balance strait up. If it's not centered the nail and bowl will lean to one side or even tip over. Once the nail looks vertical and the bowl is level, I drop in a little piece of solder and apply the flame. Hope this helps. Let me know.

    Soft silver solder from the plumbing section at walmart.

    Ok, where do you come up with your ideas?? This is GREAT!

    3 replies

    I've always enjoyed making something out of nothing. Often when I look at at things I think "Hey, this would make for a good -fill in the blank-". It's really just how you look at things. The ideas are close behind.

    Nice idea of doming the coin.

    I also use your method of though for my project, I see most objects as just a series of less complicated components.

    I recently separated the real copper's from the modern pig iron coins by spreading them out on a table and using a magnet to remove the pig iron ones. 

    I set them aside to do some kind of artistic project with them, I did a bit of copper beating in my training days at technical collage.  I like the wire embossing method and i will keep it in mind when I get my creative head on.


    Heh... I can actually appreciate that. It's holding an object and thinking about not what it is, but what it could be. My husband and I have the hardest time shopping at Home Depot or Lowes, because we go in with an idea of the piece we want. Unfortunately, it's not necessarily what the item is actually made for, or if it actually exists!

    We end up wandering aisle by aisle, picking bits up, holding them up against each other, hoping to figure out if what we find might work for what we want! And the poor employees who try and help us!! They ask what we're looking for, and we can't really tell them because we don't know!

    I guess my ideas don't lend themselves toward this sort of jewelry... at least, not yet! ;) 

    ok this is just awesome how do you come up with these things great job

    1 reply

    Just look at things as what they could be. I have a neat one (I think) coming out tomorrow.

    Nice. Is that a chromelike mirror finish or just the lighting of the picture? I don't think I've really looked close at a polished copper surface and do you have to clearcoat to keep it from oxidizing?

    2 replies

    I did polish the penny to a mirror finish. A clear coat is a good idea. It will oxidize especially when finger prints are left on it. There is no coating in the picture though.

    PS. I thinks it's really awsome I got a comment from featured author "caitlinsdad".

    Methinks it is awesome of Mrballeng to maketh an instructable worth commenting.

    The tie chain kinda reminds me of the US Marines globe and anchor. You could probably expand on your technique and have a few hardcore customers in line. I'll just wait for the comments on people thinking it is illegal to modify money coins, hehe.