Introduction: Embossed Keychain Monster

Picture of Embossed Keychain Monster

Made out of 3 Nickels and 3 paper clips.

Step 1: Draw It Out

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Draw out what you think looks like a monster. Once you settle on your design, make an exploded drawing of your monster.

Step 2: Hammer and Smooth

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Nickels work great because they are mostly made out of copper which hammers well. They are also the same through out. If you use a quarter, you’ll have a two tone monster. But that would be cool too.

Hammer out nickels so you have enough to make all the parts for your monster. Once you have the desired size, use a sanding disc to smooth out the surface of the nickels.

Step 3: Trace the Shapes

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Using a ball point pen trace the shapes of the monster with moderate pressure. This will cause the pieces to cut away from the paper leaving you with a stencil. Trace the shapes onto the smashed nickels.

Step 4: Shape the Pieces

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Cut out the pieces with tin snips. Leave plenty of room to work in the shape. Use a fine grain grinding attachment and mount it into your drill press. Grind the shapes down to size. 

Clamp the head piece down and use what ever size you want to make monster eyes. Drill the eyes out.

Step 5: Polish & Poke

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Use a scouring pad to help remove tool marks. Use 1000 grit sand paper to further smooth. Because the pieces are so small I found it easier to place them between two pieces of sand paper and rub that together.

Finally use polishing compound to shine up you pieces.

You can use a drill bit but I used an awl. Tap holes enough to connect all your pieces together. Use your grinding wheel to remove the exit burrs on the back side.

Step 6: Emboss Your Monster

Picture of Emboss Your Monster

Needles are made out of a denser metal then nickels so they work well.

Form the embossing shapes out of the needles. Place the nickel on a hard surface and tape the embosser on to the monster piece. This helps the embosser to stay in place for multiple strikes.

Fill in the relief lines with black marker and wipe off the excess.

Step 7: Connect

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Use a paper clip and wrap it around a round shaft to make rings. Cut the rings apart and use them to connect all the pieces together.

Make a chain

Make more rings and connect them together. Compress the rings so they are oval shape and less likely to become unlinked.

Make a key ring out of another paper clip and connect it to the chain.

Connect it all together. Attache your key.


Dusk Shadows (author)2012-07-13

Evil and cute I like it

0xCyrusx0 (author)2012-01-10

I'm about 5 hours into making one for my ex girlfriend (hoping that changes).

I got everything done but the arms, mine's a little different. <3 on the stomach and vampire teeth mouth. Pictures in a few days.

ablasi (author)2011-09-18

This is an adorable craft - I wish I had the tools required to make it, because it's probably the cutest thing I've ever seen made from nickels. No. Not probably. DEFINITELY.

mchs60chip (author)2011-07-05

Great instrucable. I just finished making one. Though I used pieces of a drum cymbal that my drummer broke to make it instead of nickels

Mrballeng (author)2011-06-12

We would all like to see pictures. I bet you did great. Good going for trying your hand at it.

Mrballeng (author)2011-06-11

I was at Lowes and I saw the same kind of shears I use for about 10 bucks. Tin snips cost about the same but I like the shears better. And ask all you want. I'm happy to help. 

Mrballeng (author)2011-06-10

To flatten a nickel you need two surfaces which are harder then the coin. First make sure your using a steel hammer (the striking part of the hammer is surface #1). Then make sure the coin is on another steel surface (I use the head of a 5 pound hammer as surface #2).

If you hammer a coin against conrete or wood, those surfaces will absorb a lot the force your putting in your strike.

If your having trouble keeping the coin in place, tape half of the coin down and strike the exposed side. Once that section is flat, rotate the coin, tape it down, and continue hammering.

Mrballeng (author)2011-06-10

Have you checked this out? It should help. Let me know.

taria (author)2011-05-31

how strong is the nickels after you do all this stuff to them? like this little guy which is soooo cute btw, and the rings and the charms? how strong is it, will it bend? will the rings be squished up if you bump them? I'm just curious, don't get mad at me for asking...

Mrballeng (author)taria2011-05-31

The nickels are great. The little guy is holding up fine.

I keep my cell phone on a ball chain with these same time of paper clip rings at the ends. Two years of pulling on the chain and the rings have not failed me yet.

taria (author)Mrballeng2011-06-04

see now that would be cool, I have a cell phone charm and this would be cool to have dangling out of my pocket. I have an Asian butterfly right now. (the thread kind.) Maybe you can make a cell phone charm out of a nickle that looks like a butterfly. I'd love to see that one.

taria (author)Mrballeng2011-06-04

I'm sorry, I meant for a cell phone charm, I saw that one. I meant smaller. :) that one is gorgeous as well but it might be to big for a cell phone charm.

TheGeek1984 (author)2011-05-23

Congrats on second place! Your 'ibles are always my favorite to read!

Mrballeng (author)TheGeek19842011-05-23


spiderham (author)2011-02-06

You do some incredible work! This is one I'm definitely gonna try. My wife is going to love this. Thx

spiderham (author)spiderham2011-05-16

Here it is, finally. Wife loved it. Thx!!!

zack247 (author)2011-03-04

i thought this was made with sheet metal or something, coins were the last thing that came to mind!

definitely a summer project!

scoochmaroo (author)2011-03-03

This is adorable and I really really want it,

Sunbanks (author)2011-02-19

Wow, I never would have guessed you made this out of coins! Its so cool, I want to make one now :D

chicopluma (author)2011-02-19

looks great

papris (author)2011-02-14


St Jimmy (author)2011-02-12

Gah! Simple! Elegant! Brilliant!

BrandonZV (author)2011-02-10

Would you ever be thinking about taking requests or selling any? I would love to have something like this, but simply do not have the tools to make it.

BrandonZV (author)BrandonZV2011-02-10

Sorry about that, didn't notice you were the creator of this too. I've already asked you if you'd be selling. Nevermind. :P

Natasha Dee (author)2011-01-31

What did you use to make the first cuts?

Mrballeng (author)Natasha Dee2011-01-31

Sorry about that. Use tin snips, also known as metal shears. You could maybe even use some heavy duty scissors. I add some pictures.

Natasha Dee (author)Mrballeng2011-02-04

Thanks! Also, to grind them down, do I need a cordless drill or do you think a dremmel will work?

Mrballeng (author)Natasha Dee2011-02-04

I used a scouring pad. See the 3rd picture on step two. But you could get away with using some 1000 grit sand paper by hand. All my supplies come the auto section at Walmart.

The key is to use a smooth faced hammer on a smooth surface. If you hammer on concrete you'll mar up the surface too bad to smooth it by hand.

Natasha Dee (author)Mrballeng2011-02-08

Sorry; what I meant was after you cut it with the tinsnips, to grind it to the shape you want. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, btw. I'm really looking foreward to giving this a try!

username252 (author)Natasha Dee2011-01-31

It looks like the pieces were grinded down to size with some kind of sander

Mr.Sanchez (author)2011-02-07

Betcha U r gonna win... luv Key chains

tirpider (author)2011-02-05

I simply love this.
Your results are great looking, and you didn't have to resort to overpriced methods or materials.
Thanks for brightening my day.

Mrballeng (author)tirpider2011-02-06

Really appreciate the comment, thanks.

aspen42 (author)2011-02-03

This looks great. If you have the time more details in the instructable would be helpful (as you can probably tell from the comments). People familiar with metal working wouldn't have a problem at all but with a little more detail this could be a really fun first project for someone. Great idea tho and super-cute finished product. Now I just have to come up with a good monster design!

Mrballeng (author)aspen422011-02-04

Thanks. I know what I'm thinking while I'm typing but I'm unaware of what's "lost in translation".

By all means, let me know. I would appreciate it and would love to provide more detail wherever you want it.

prototype2213 (author)2011-02-01

How did you hammer the pieces? Did you heat them, or just smash them 'till they became 5 cent pancakes. Also, did you use American nickels or Canadian, because they might be made differently. Anyways, great Instructable, its going to be the first on I do this year.

Mrballeng (author)prototype22132011-02-03

I just hammer away on American nickels without heating. They're mostly made out of a copper alloy so the work well. Thanks for you comment.

jringling (author)2011-02-01

This one has my vote, but I cannot find a place for it! Has the contest closed?

mg0930mg (author)jringling2011-02-01

It hasn't opened yet.

username252 (author)2011-01-31

By embossing, you mean that you hammered in the design, right?

Mrballeng (author)username2522011-01-31

Yes. I hammerd in the design and then blacked it out with marker. When you wipe off the excess your better able to see the embossing.

username252 (author)2011-01-31

What do you mean a stencil? Does the tracing transfer onto the nickle or something, like a tatoo?

Mrballeng (author)username2522011-01-31

I put a pink post-it note behind the paper for better visibility. When I traced the parts out on the nickels I simply put the nickel behind the paper and ran a marker on the outline. You can see how the marker bled onto the paper.

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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