Picture of Embossed Keychain Monster
Made out of 3 Nickels and 3 paper clips.
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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

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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.
Evil and cute I like it
0xCyrusx03 years ago
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.

ablasi3 years ago
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.
mchs60chip4 years ago
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
taria4 years ago
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)  taria4 years ago
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 Mrballeng4 years ago
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.
Mrballeng (author)  taria4 years ago
taria Mrballeng4 years ago
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.
TheGeek19844 years ago
Congrats on second place! Your 'ibles are always my favorite to read!
Mrballeng (author)  TheGeek19844 years ago
spiderham4 years ago
You do some incredible work! This is one I'm definitely gonna try. My wife is going to love this. Thx
Here it is, finally. Wife loved it. Thx!!!
zack2474 years ago
i thought this was made with sheet metal or something, coins were the last thing that came to mind!

definitely a summer project!
scoochmaroo4 years ago
This is adorable and I really really want it,
Sunbanks4 years ago
Wow, I never would have guessed you made this out of coins! Its so cool, I want to make one now :D
chicopluma4 years ago
looks great
papris4 years ago
St Jimmy4 years ago
Gah! Simple! Elegant! Brilliant!
BrandonZV4 years ago
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.
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 Dee4 years ago
What did you use to make the first cuts?
Mrballeng (author)  Natasha Dee4 years ago
Sorry about that. Use tin snips, also known as metal shears. You could maybe even use some heavy duty scissors. I add some pictures.
Thanks! Also, to grind them down, do I need a cordless drill or do you think a dremmel will work?
Mrballeng (author)  Natasha Dee4 years ago
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.
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!
It looks like the pieces were grinded down to size with some kind of sander
Mr.Sanchez4 years ago
Betcha U r gonna win... luv Key chains
tirpider4 years ago
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)  tirpider4 years ago
Really appreciate the comment, thanks.
aspen424 years ago
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)  aspen424 years ago
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.
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)  prototype22134 years ago
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.
jringling4 years ago
This one has my vote, but I cannot find a place for it! Has the contest closed?
It hasn't opened yet.
username2524 years ago
By embossing, you mean that you hammered in the design, right?
Mrballeng (author)  username2524 years ago
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.
username2524 years ago
What do you mean a stencil? Does the tracing transfer onto the nickle or something, like a tatoo?
Mrballeng (author)  username2524 years ago
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.