Introduction: Zinc & Copper Pendant

Picture of Zinc & Copper Pendant

This is what you get when you hammer air gun BB’s in to a penny and then polish off the copper to show the zinc.

To do it:

Place several BB’s between two pieces of aluminum tape. Lay a penny over the tape and cover it with another piece of tape.

Hammer the BB’s into the penny. Remove the penny from the layers of tape.

Place the penny on a piece of wood and use the head of a carriage bolt to hammer in a convex shape.

Solder a nail to the back side of the penny and mount it in a drill press. Spin in round and use progressively finer sand paper to shape and buff it. Finish it off with polishing compound and a cloth.

De-solder the nail from the penny before you drill a hole in one of the divots.

Make a jump ring for it to place it on a chain.


dowd95 (author)2013-07-03

Okay, I'm working my way through this one pretty slowly. Got about a dollar's worth of misshapen pennies in the corner of my shop. But I've finally gotten one that is pretty and polished.

I've modified your process quite a bit at this point, and I'm also doing a different design. Instead of just a huge cluster of BBs, I've got them placed in the pattern of the little dipper. I'll be sure to post a picture when I'm done.

But since each divot is pretty important, I don't really want to drill a hole in one. I was thinking of soldering the jump ring to the top of the back of the penny. This is my first experience with jewelry. Is that a terrible idea? If not, when I solder, where should I position the break in the jump ring for maximum durability.

Transmutation (author)2012-10-04

You... are my new favorite Internet person since....well... ever. I'm already grabbing up my tools to start making two of your projects for my wife, and I've been awake MAYBE ten minutes! You rock, my friend, thou art mine Instructables guru.

I only wish I could repay the favor with any of the weirdo things I am ALWAYS building.... But you, sir, have an unabashed fanboy.

Thank you for giving an incredibly(read: no bank account, no car, no assets, when we say."We have nothing" it means, you know, "We don't eat today") poor but creative guy hope that there ARE,ways to do things.

Cheers, man, and thanks!

Mrballeng (author)Transmutation2012-10-05

Really appreciate your comment. Words like those keep me posting. Good luck with your projects. You know where to find me if you need any help. Brent

jafox9962 (author)2011-12-21

I haven't been able to get the nail soldered to the penny. Not sure if my technique is lacking, or if there's a particular type of soldering wire needed to bond the steel nail to the copper or what. Any tips?

P.S. I'm aware that many users have already asked you for a soldering tutorial, sorry to repeat the question yet again. I just came across this today, and I thought I'd try to throw it together as a last minute Christmas gift for a friend.

Thank you

Mrballeng (author)jafox99622011-12-22

As long as you have enough heat, solder, and flux you should do fine. Let me know if your still having problems after watching that video. Good luck.

jafox9962 (author)Mrballeng2011-12-24

Thanks, that helped a lot. It took me a few tries, but I got it right eventually. This was my first time doing anything remotely like this, and it's not very much, but I'm happy with it. Thanks for posting this and answering my questions. I look forward to attempting more of your projects in the coming weeks.

jafox9962 (author)jafox99622011-12-21

I would like to follow this up by saying that I came across your soldering video. I thought it might be helpful, so I'm posting the link here below for anyone else who comes across this great instructable. Thanks again.

black hole (author)2011-10-12

Wonderful! Simply wonderful! I made one and wear it every day!

lpatterson4 (author)2011-08-31

Love this idea! Your very talented and inventive. would love to see more things you make. I'm going to try this one soon.

AronWanderer (author)2011-06-30

Hey Mrballeng,

Love your work, we think along the same lines. Someday I'll find time to post my stuff. Anyway, I thought this was a really great idea for a short project, and I wanted to post what I came up with. I apologize for the poor picture, my camera is not meant for macro work. I haven't put it on a chain yet, but I ran a piece of hemp through it, just for demonstration purposes.

All the best,


Mrballeng (author)AronWanderer2011-07-01

Two thumbs up! Looks great and thank you for posting pictures.

AronWanderer (author)Mrballeng2011-07-01

No problem! I know how much fun it is to see that people are actually using your idea. I only wish I'd taken a picture after I finished the necklace. Gave it away this afternoon though, it's now adorning the neck of a pretty girl. As a side note, these make great pendants for beaded chokers.

taria (author)2011-05-30

please excuse my stupidity, but it's late and I love this idea, I just have one question, when the copper from the penny comes off the little holes/indents still have it right?

Mrballeng (author)taria2011-05-30

Your exactly right. The sand paper doesn't reach the indentations made by the BB's so the copper is left behind.

taria (author)Mrballeng2011-05-31

oh okay. thanks for the reply.

yugnats (author)2011-05-28

Awesome! Thank you for posting your ideas Mrballeng :)

Asmodeous (author)2011-05-06

Nice job man. Will it turn the skin green?

Mrballeng (author)Asmodeous2011-05-07

I think you'll be alright. I once made a copper wire ring that turned skin green after two days. This isn't up against your skin so snug and you probably would'nt wear it more than a few hours at a time anyway. Thanks for the comment.

Madrigorne (author)Mrballeng2011-05-20

you can spray it with clear coat varnish on both sides - I am highly allergic to metal, but love to wear jewelry, and it works well for me (or clear nail polish)

Londonbrig0 (author)2011-05-18

Also, What's the back look like, did you sand that as well or just leave it? And where do you get your chains?

Mrballeng (author)Londonbrig02011-05-19

The back looks like the tails side of a penny with a little solder on it. I left it as is. It give people something extra to look at to show them it used to be a penny.

I think this chain came from the jewelry section at target.

Londonbrig0 (author)2011-05-17

I love the look of the copper in the polished zinc. I'm going to try making a design by embossing crossed lines with a needle like you did on your leaf pendant. Please keep posting your great ideas!

Mrballeng (author)Londonbrig02011-05-18


lyonpridej (author)2011-05-16

You are so creative! I agree, where do you come up with these ideas?Do you just look at things & see them differently?
Either way, I love this. I was a Cub Scout leader for several years & I know my scouts would have loved to make this. My own 2 boys are teenagers now,but I know they are going to want to make this when they see it! Thanks!

mslaynie (author)2011-05-07

Where do you come up with these?? I love this, and I even have most of the stuff around to make it with! I'm just utterly speechless over this one...

You would giggle if you'd seen my husband and me walking through Lowe's last night, looking at all the different metal pipe fittings and so on! I grabbed a couple of copper pipe sections for a dollar each to make pendants from, and now I can't wait to get started!! :D

Thank you again for all the inspiration, as well as the reassurance that this really can be done!

Mrballeng (author)mslaynie2011-05-07

Don't forget to post pictures! And if you get stuck on a step, I'm just a click away. Good Luck. Thanks for the complement.

Mrballeng (author)mslaynie2011-05-07

I thought this up for the cub scouts to make pendants for mothers day. They used BB's, pieces of wire, and screw threads to make the indentations. I helped them on sanding off the copper.

ArtfulAl (author)2011-05-06

do the bbs need to be hard steel? or can they be ceramic or something like that? also, im in need of a flat, hard, anvil-like surface, and my dad is tired of me chipping the garage floor. any suggestions?

Mrballeng (author)ArtfulAl2011-05-07

And the BB's. I would only use steel BB's. I paid less the $2 for the pack of 350.

Mrballeng (author)ArtfulAl2011-05-07

It would be loud but you could get a worn out brake disc rotor from an auto shop. They may just give it to you.

wobbler (author)ArtfulAl2011-05-07

Ceramic would just shatter, but any metal alloy should be ok. For an anvil, just use a club hammer or a sledge hammer in a vice. Use safety glasses too just to be on the safe side.

damascus freak (author)2011-05-06

would duct tape work?

Mrballeng (author)damascus freak2011-05-07

Yes. I use aluminum tape because it's what I have on hand.

paganwonder (author)2011-05-07

WOW- just WOW! Thanks for making jewelry-making accessible to us club-fisted neanderthals!

emilygraceking (author)2011-05-06

This is so inventive!

scoochmaroo (author)2011-05-06

This one might be my favorite so far.

gmoon (author)2011-05-06

Great photos, great process.

I'd call for a "true" instructable, but it's pretty easy to follow from the photos alone...

SHIFT! (author)2011-05-06

I know what I'm making my mom for mothers day! Awesome!

Dr. Pepper (author)2011-05-04

Another beauty!

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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