After seeing a photo Instructable by thegnome54 about a turtle pendant made from a nickel I felt inspired to create some turtles of my own and share the method I used. http://www.instructables.com/id/Turtle-pendant-from-a-nickel/
My first step was to create a template by drawing a little turtle, then I hammered some pennies until my template fit on the pennies. I used pre-1982 copper U.S. pennies. I marked around the template with a black marker and removed the blackened area with small files. I drilled a small hole in the turtle's head for the hook and gave it a rough sand with some medium grit sandpaper. Using some wire I stamped the shell lines into the turtles and followed that up with doming the turtles and fine sanding. After sanding I buffed out the copper for a little shine and added some french hooks.
Lets take a second to to talk about legality. I have read seveal Instructables about making jewelery or souvenirs out of coins, and there are always comments about how illegal it is. Mutilating coins is illegal in some places and many countries have laws about defacing and mutilating coins. I live in the United States and "a federal statute in the criminal code of the United States (18 U.S.C. 331), indeed makes it illegal if one "fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales or lightens" any U.S. coin. However, being a criminal statute, a fraudulent intent is required for violation. Thus, the mere act of altering coins into souvenirs is not illegal, without other factors being present." The statute does not prohibit the mutilation of coins, if the mutilated coins are not used fraudulently, i.e., with the intention of creating counterfeit coinage or profiting from the base metal. In the United States there are penny pressing machines in just about every museum, zoo, and amusement park. By putting a penny into one of these machines you can have a penny stretched and and embossed as a souvenir.
It is my understanding that it is illegal in Canada but not in the UK, do your own homework to be sure. If you are concerned that treasury agents will kick in your door over two cents then use copper blanks, they sell for $1.20-$1.60 apiece on amazon depending on the quantity you purchase.