Introduction: Five-Cent Wedding Band

Picture of Five-Cent Wedding Band

Tired of gold and diamonds? Perhaps you're a bit cool on that whole "diamonds are forever" bit? Maybe you're reluctant to prop up the De Beers cartel? Gold is nice, but doesn't it leave a bad taste in your mouth to be such a conformist consumer?

Well this is the project for you, the progressive, self-sufficient DIY'er! Show your love and lasting commitment in the way you know best: by making your own wedding band from a Genuine US Nickel! (or other coinage of your choice)

This is a great beginner wedding band project, suitable for a first engagement or wedding. By the time you're ready for your next wedding band, perhaps i'll have written up how to make something a bit fancier :)

Note: In all candor, I do not personally find this to be an especially attractive ring although I do wear it daily. I think it would be a lot nicer if you can find a thicker coin to use.

Step 1: The Parts

Picture of The Parts

You will need:

A nickel (or other suitable coin). You only want to use coins made from a relatively inert metal: Copper/Brass/Bronze, Silver and Gold are all fine. A US Nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel) will work for ring sizes 7-10 or so (see the comments about possible nickel allergies though). Most other US coins are not suitable because they have a Zinc core, which corrodes rapidly and is bad for you. The Sacagewea dollar is a bronze alloy, so that will work nicely for large fingers. Several of the EU coins are made of bronze alloys, and they come in quite a few sizes.

There are a couple of different fairly easy ways to make the band. You'll need: a vise, a dremel tool (small rotary tool), a drill and a small hand file. Nice to have but not required: a center punch, a reaming tool, a micrometer for measuring the hole size.

Step 2: Mark the Center of the Coin

Picture of Mark the Center of the Coin

Use a center punch to make a starting point for the drill. You can use a nail or other pointy thing. Just make sure you get the notch in the center! If you are off, start over on a new coin.

Step 3: Drill a Pilot Hole

Picture of Drill a Pilot Hole

Start by drilling a small hole through the center, this will keep any further drilling or reaming on-center. Use cardboard to sandwich the coin when gripping it in the vice to protect it from nicks from the vice.

Step 4: Enlarge the Hole

Picture of Enlarge the Hole

This is the trickiest part. You need to make the hole large enough to get the dremel tool into it. Once you can get the dremel tool in you make the hole large by grinding away with the dremel, but before you can do that you'll need to enlarge it enough some other way. There are a couple possibilities: you can drill it, use a reamer, or even an industrial hole-punch. Drilling it is a bit tricky because there is not much of the nickel to hold onto while you are drilling - but it is possible if you are slow and careful and don't go too close to the edge with the drill. It may take a few tries to get this done without mangling the coin.

Step 5: Enlarge the Hole More

Picture of Enlarge the Hole More

Use the dremel (rotary) tool with a grinding bit to enlarge and shape the hole to the proper size. Check the fit periodically.

Step 6: Round the Inside Edge

Picture of Round the Inside Edge

Use the small hand file to round the inside edge of the ring so that it goes on and off smoothly and doesn't cut your finger. You could probably do this step with the dremel tool instead.

Step 7: Buff the Ring to a Mirror Finish

Picture of Buff the Ring to a Mirror Finish

Use a buffing tip on the dremel tool to buff the ring to a mirror finish. You'll want to use buffing compound for best results.

Step 8: Done!

Picture of Done!

Marvel at your new look!

Note: In all candor, I do not personally find this to be an especially attractive ring although I do wear it daily. I think it would be a lot nicer if you can find a thicker coin to use, I'm currently looking for a thicker bronze coin to replace it with.


xucaen (author)2015-10-21

Comments are LOL.

mary hunt made it! (author)2015-08-11


kfarhaan (author)2015-04-09

Just a thought on that thicker coin thing, how about laminating several coins together before taking the file to it near the end?

oneilc818 (author)2010-03-21
  It is most defiantly illegal.  Title 18 United States Code, Section 331  Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or  Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened -  Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both  This statute can be found online on Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute website:
Re-design (author)oneilc8182012-11-04

Actually it's - Title 18, Chapter 17 US code. And it's only illegal if you do it to defraud or pass the coin for more than it's value.


Corinbw (author)Re-design2015-02-15

true dat

Southpaw69 (author)oneilc8182014-09-07

Wrong wrong wrong. First of all, the word is "Definitely". Not "Defiantly". What are you defying?

Second, the law refers to counterfeiting, and has nothing to do with making jewelry from coinage.

jarikcbol (author)oneilc8182013-02-23

It is illegal to deface a coin with the intent of continuing to use it as currency, If you are permanently removing it from circulation, as this coin obviously is, (its barely recognizable as a coin anymore, and is definitely a ring), then you are free to modify a coin to your purposes.

glotowle (author)jarikcbol2014-05-27

There you go!

DeathBunny2000 (author)oneilc8182012-08-06

OH for goodness sakes, nobody cares about the illegality of messing up a stupid NICKLE.

What about all those machines at the zoo and other amusement facilities that you can place a penny inside of it, and it will flatten the penny and emboss a cool design into it?

I mean they have MACHINES publicly that you pay to have your money 'stamped up' - so seriously - I thought eveyone knew it was illegal, and when it comes to penny's and nickles NO ONE, probably not even the national 'mint' cares.

wlaraby (author)DeathBunny20002014-03-21

Actually you can flatten a penny. If I recall the information (Abe and such) must remain visible. If you look at the pressed coins the original images are still visible. (at least they are on all the coins I've ever done. It remains as kind of a ghost image.)

You are not allowed to melt down pennies (at least until they modify the amendment) and likewise you cannot (to the best of my recollection)remove legal currency from circulation through it's destruction. All destruction of legal tender must be done through official channels.

On a side note... No one cares, as was mentioned before, what happens to a few pennies and nickels. Oh well lol.

Sccrfreek92 (author)oneilc8182010-12-12

What about the machines that press pennies into fun designs? I have some that are from the us mint! :) went there and defaced money right in front of them

gafisher (author)Sccrfreek922010-12-12

Wait until they offer to sell you the negatives. (-:

lunius (author)gafisher2011-01-05

That's epic XD

doughnutguy1 (author)oneilc8182010-12-13

that sucks. Remind me not tp do this and then show it off to a lawyer that hates me. That would really suck. I can always use sheet metal though :D or like abvnatter said some washers.

abvnatter (author)oneilc8182010-12-13

if anyone is worried about getting in trouble just get a bag of washers and go from there. nice thing is there is a pilot hole drilled to guide you in your quest for a well centered hole.

redseafrog (author)oneilc8182010-12-12

that is only applicable if you are going to USE it AS currency.

Galonii (author)oneilc8182010-07-07

As a Judge I can tell you your not going to be arrested for defacing US money. You would only get into trouble if you were to deface US money to make is appear worth more than the amount it is worth. like making a one dollar bill worth ten. or taking US money defacing it so it's not worth the amount is says it is and spending it as such. Title 18 United States Code, Section 331, was a law put in place when quarters and dimes were silver. people would run a knife along the outside of the coin and keep the silver shavings, then spend the quarter or dime. well at the time a quarter or a dime was a quarter of a dollar's worth of silver. if you shave some of the outside of the quarter off it's no longer a quarter of a dollar's worth of silver. that is what this law represents, also that is why there are ridges along the quarter and the dime. so if one was to shave some off, you could tell.

White_Wolf (author)Galonii2010-12-12

That is so cool.... I love learning history. Thank You. I remember somewhere about they stamped a lower % of gold on a coin to avoid taxes too.

origami dude (author)Galonii2010-11-02

wait, would it be illegal to make money appear less than its value? although im not sure why someone would do that i am only curious.

Galonii (author)origami dude2010-11-06

only if you try to spend it or pass it off as the 'real' thing

tinstructable (author)Galonii2010-07-16

haha... you are awesome... : )

kyismaster (author)oneilc8182010-12-12

Not Illegal, in one part it states "Unless used in form of art, or otherwise."

stray_bullet (author)oneilc8182010-12-12

Defiantly?!?!? Ok then, count me in.

enginepaul (author)oneilc8182010-12-12

"Whoever fraudulently alters" Look up "fraudulently." Nobody making this ring ids trying to defraud anybody. Just reading the law about making the coin lighter give you a tip to the reason behind the law.

"Currently in circulation in the United States"...I've NEVER seen a British pound, other than in collections. I tried using a Euro coin, and the cashier freaked out.

Pryo Chain (author)oneilc8182010-05-08

 Mhm, KnifeKnut's right here...  the key word is, in fact, fraudulently.  Basically, it just means that you can't do anything to a coin or dollar bill, then try to spend it. Basically, you either have currency, or scrap.

KnifeKnut (author)oneilc8182010-04-06

It is legal. The key word here is fraudulently. There is no fraud being committed. As precedent, I cite the continued existence of souvenir penny squashing machines.

glotowle (author)2014-05-27

This is NOT illegal. What is illegal is to alter a $ 0.25 coin and make it pass for a $ 0.50 or a $ 0.5 and alter it to look as a $ 0.25.

Death Bunny is totally correct. If it were illegal, then all the machines in Disneyland would be confiscated and people would be in jail and that's not the case. Just FYI

Mongoose13 (author)2012-12-28

I wonder if a diamond could be mounted on this ring...Anyone know?

tkemp2 (author)Mongoose132013-04-02

you could do a hook setting by drilling a hole about a half mm deep with the width of the base of the diamond then solder the silver/gold wire for the hooks

hocngiap (author)2013-01-05

this instructable costs 5 cent.. :)

m.e.h (author)2010-12-12

How much does this ring cost? :))

Thundermoon99 (author)m.e.h2012-07-27

oh uhm $500 :)

reganbella (author)2012-03-21

Thank you paqrat. I was about to start making this. Then I was reminded I am allergic to nickel. You just saved me from a big finger rash.

lkuziez9680 (author)2012-01-30

do you have any idea what ring size this would be?

legless (author)2010-12-13

Just reminding people that this ois probably not legal in Australia and the UK as you can't deface things with the Queen's head on them.

No, it's perfectly alright to destroy the Queen's head anywhere(on the coin, not literally) otherwise all the penny token machines would be illegal.

Penny token machines are fake... You insert your penney and it triggers a manufactured one then does what it does to it and your's safely goes into a bin, tough typically i see them for 25 cents now...

... You see the penny roll into the slot, and then you see the hammer flatten the penny, and if you put it in right, you can get the same date on the back.

Well I don't know where you live but it is illegal to deface coins in Australia. As for "penny token machines" I doubt their legality here for that reason. Also we do not have "penny" or 1 cent coins or 2 cents. Defacing our currency can get you in trouble.

Section 16 of the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 ("the Act") prohibits the deliberate defacing or destroying of Australian coin or banknotes unless consent has been given by either the Reserve Bank or Treasury. As a general rule, such consent is not given on the grounds that banknotes or coin should not be destroyed or defaced. The legislation covers all Australian banknotes, both present and past.

It is also an offence to sell or possess current coins that have been defaced. Defacing a coin includes coating the surface of the money with any sort of material. The penalty for defacing coins , or selling or possessing money that has been defaced, is $5,000 or imprisonment for two years for an individual (or both), and $10,000 for a body corporate. You may also be guilty of the offence of making counterfeit money if you alter a genuine coin.

7daytrial (author)2011-06-03

Per Legality-- Two words: Penny Loafers.
Wait, I have more.

Where's George.
Dollarbill Origami. (3 words, but whatevs)
Franklin Mint
Coin Jewelry

sokamiwohali (author)7daytrial2011-12-07

Where's George is legal because law prohibits writing anywhere on the bill BUT the borders. plus they cant prove that your the person responsible for writing on the border anyways. for all they know it could have been on the bill for weeks.

7daytrial (author)sokamiwohali2011-12-07

Thanks, I know. I was responding to someone that said making jewelry out of money was illegal. I was point out that it is legal and often done. :D

sokamiwohali (author)7daytrial2011-12-07

haha, i was just adding on to your post :D

7daytrial (author)sokamiwohali2011-12-07

Ohhhh, Okay! The way I read your comment made it seem like you thought I was saying Where's George is illegal. :D Re-reading my original post I discovered that I didn't really make my stance clear.

sokamiwohali (author)7daytrial2011-12-07

lol...its all good. hindsight is always 20/20. i do the same thing around here...and its usually @ 0200 in the morning where i live. i will see a post and i will comment on it and not fully understand whats being said n i look at it after someone gets offended or decides to try and one up me n im like nooo...i didnt mean it like that haha.

Maker Mark (author)2010-12-13

The Henry Ford and other museums I have been to would be in some hot water if this was illegal. Most of them have a machine that will take a penny and squish it into a shape and then stamp it.

zer0_da_hero (author)Maker Mark2010-12-13

US CodeTitle18, part 1, Ch 17 U.S.C. §331:

Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled or lightened - shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. (Emphasis added.)

It is indeed illegal but the key word there is "fraudulently'

According to The New York Times, it cost the US Mint 1.73 cents for every penny and 8.74 cents for every nickel it makes. In 2006, in addition to the law already in the books, congress passed a ban on destroying US coins where the metal will be serve other uses. So maybe those museums are in violation of the laws but may have an exeption within the law that we private citizen does not.

negu74 (author)zer0_da_hero2011-10-03

key phrase is in 'actual use or circulation as money'. You own the nickle by your possession of it, and therefore it is not being used as money and when you deface it, you are defacing your own money and taking it out of circulation.

in other words, it's legal to do this. people, please. Don't automatically assume you are doing something wrong just because the government languages things to scare you.

Clearly you're in hot water if you go hammering pennies or ripping or writing on dollars you intend to use as money. the moment you spend that money, you are breaking that law above.

About This Instructable




Bio: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.
More by dan:Giant Xylophone made from Bed SlatsEasy Mothers Day Fudge (with small child)Mosaic Tile Pixel Art Car
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