Let's get the legality out of the way, first and foremost.
The process of creating elongated coins is legal in the United States, almost all parts of Japan, South Africa and parts of Europe. In the United States, U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 17, Section 331 prohibits "the mutilation, diminution and falsification of United States coinage." The foregoing statute, however, 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 (the pre-1982 copper U.S. cent which, as of 2010, is worth more than one cent in the United States). Because elongated coins are made mainly as souvenirs, mutilation for this purpose is legal.
Thank you, Wikipedia. Nothing fraudulent going on here. Now, back to the fun.
Whether you want to invest a lot of time and materials, or create a simple project with only a few items, this Instructable will provide the how-to, you provide the creativity and a few supplies.
A basic, lightweight, dainty chime can be assembled and hung the same day. Grab a few handfuls of pennies, some fishing line, a stick, and a drill bit. The rest is up to you. Add beads, sparkling things, copper adornments, these are just a few ideas. Although the pennies do not have to be pressed, they do make a lovely sound. They can otherwise simply be drilled, and suspended.
Come along, and let’s have fun while making a quick treasure for the garden, front porch, deck, or window. Hang one from a limb of a tree in your back yard, front yard, or both. Make them as gifts. Start now, and by the time the holidays arrive, you'll have plenty to give away.
The Horizontal Piece – Cost: free for the searching
You’ll need a stick, a length of bamboo, or other item to serve as the support for all of your wind chime strings. For this project, I chose a piece of driftwood, found lying on the shores of Lake Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
Look for a piece that is long enough to hang pennies that, when spaced close together, will touch one another, resulting in a chime. Pennies hung too far apart will depend on a strong breeze to make noise, which may result in a tangled chime you may not have the patience to straighten.
Fishing line, or invisible thread – Cost: Low. Likely in your tackle box, or sewing kit
Provided you aren’t hanging hundreds of pennies on your chime, a simple roll of 10 pound test fishing line should suffice for stringing the pennies. A stronger line is advised for the hanging of the chime, as it will be supporting the entire weight of the chime.
Invisible thread may also be used, though be sure it is strong, and consider doubling it for the weight of the entire chime. A single strand should be fine for the strands of pennies. You could also use nylon-coated craft or beading wire.
Pennies, pennies, pennies! – Cost: 1 cent per penny. This project uses 45 pennies, thus 45 cents.
Whether you hand smash your coins, or use a press, any coins will do, but consider using pennies with higher copper content. Pennies minted in the years 1962 through 1982 are great for projects like these, as their copper content is 95%, with 5% zinc. Curious minds, you may want to visit Penny Collector's page for additional information on metal content in pennies.
Is smashing / pressing / squishing a penny legal? Yes - Penny Smashing Legality
Beads, baubles, and bling! – What is a project without a little sparkle? Perhaps you have junk jewelry, boxes of beads, or other trinkets lying around the house that would work wonderfully in this project. Glass, or even faceted plastic beads will work beautifully, as they will reflect sunlight.
TOOLS & other components of the project:
If using a sledge hammer to press pennies, please wear ANSI-approved safety glasses.
Look for safety glasses that feature the ANSI title
ANSI - The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. (Thank you, Wikipedia)
Please be extremely careful when using tools. Just one small incident could cost your vision.
Be smart, be safe, and wear the right safety glasses.
Hand-held sledge hammer (about 10 pounds), anvil or other thick piece of steel