Introduction: How to Make a Coin Ring From a Quarter

In this Instructable I will show how I was able to make a ring from a regular US quarter. I have done a previous Instructable making a silver spoon into a ring as well. This process could work with a steel washer but takes a significant amount more time as a regular quarter is made from copper and nickel. I didn't come up with the idea of making rings from coins, this is just my take on the process.

Aside: It is fine to use a US quarter to make jewelry, what you cannot do is alter us currency and pass it off as another denomination.

Step 1: The Tools

The tools I used are:

  • Drill and Drill Bits
  • Step Drill Bit
  • Center Punch
  • Ring Mandrel
  • Blow Torch
  • Pliers
  • Nylon Hammer
  • Plastic Pipe
  • Sandpaper of various grits
  • Round File
  • Sharpie
  • Digital Caliper
  • Polishing Compound for Metal

Optional:

  • Doming Block
  • Dremel and Polishing Tools

Step 2: Watch the Video

Here is a video of the the whole process. The written instructions will follow.

Step 3: Get a Coin and Drill a Hole

I'm using a quarter and I marked the center of the coin with a sharpie after measuring with a digital caliper. Then I center punched the coin so the drill bit would not skate when drilling the pilot hole. To make drilling the center hole easier I took two pieces of aluminum bar stock and using a small Dremel cutting wheel I notched out a spot so the coin could be clamped in a vice without damaging the embossing of the coin. Then I drilled out the hole using a step drill bit and cleaned up the hole with a round file.

Another option is to use a metal punch to punch a hole in the coin. I don't have one so I am using a step drill bit instead.

Step 4: Annealing

Next to make the coin easier to work and to relieve any stresses you need to annealed the coin by heating it up and quenching in water. This does not harden the coin, that only applies to ferrous metals that have a high carbon content.

Step 5: Working the Coin

Place your "washer" coin on your ring mandrel and start tapping it with a nylon hammer. You want to use quick and firm but not overly hard taps. Work slowly and move the mandrel around while tapping. You can also work the coin against a piece of wood while tapping to help keep the coin on the mandrel. Slowly the coin will start bending down around the mandrel.

Using a piece of plastic pipe you can smack the coin down around the mandrel to help speed up the process.

If the coin becomes hard to work with, anneal it every so often.

Eventually you will want to flip the coin around and start working it on mandrel facing upwards. See the pics.

It will start looking like a ring.

You work the ring down on the mandrel with the plastic pipe to the size you need.

Step 6: Doming Block

An optional step is to use a doming block to round the edges of the ring. You put the ring in the doming block and apply pressure in a vise. You will want to make the ring one size larger than the final size., as the doming block will make the ring smaller. Take your time with this step as if the ring is not centered it can make the rounding of the edge unequal, ruining all your hard work.

If you need to adjust the ring size you can use the ring mandrel to make the ring larger.

Lightly sand the ring to take off any sharp edges.

Step 7: Polishing

Using some metal polish and Dremel with a polishing wheel, polish the ring until it shines. Repeat as many times as needed.

You can also polish by hand if you don't have a Dremel, or use a drill with a buffing wheel.

Step 8: Finished

Comments

author
Coolmatt4321 (author)2017-04-12

What did you use to heat the coin up?

author
jaxboy (author)2017-03-30

Very nice job! You have given me the bug, and I have ordered the necessary specific tools to make my own. I also use Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish, and love it. One bit of advice about it: you are using way too much polish! I have the same bottle I bought 10 years ago, and I use it regularly! A dab about twice the size of the lead on a sharpened wooden pencil is all you would need to polish that ring for each of the 2 polishing sets. I also use that polish to repair scratches on cd's and dvd's. Again, very complete and well explained 'ible.

author
emorycwyatt (author)2016-02-18

I believe it is against Federal law to 'deface' or 'deform' currency. You might want to check in on this, before they may be coming knocking on your door, just saying.

author
NateHoy (author)emorycwyatt2016-03-01

It is only illegal to fraudulently deface a coin (or bill, for that matter, but that is under a different statute). The key word that is often missed when citing these statutes is fraudulently.

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/17/331

There's nothing at all fraudulent about making a quarter into something that cannot be mistaken for valid US currency. Otherwise those people who make the "penny smashers" that turn a penny into a tourist trinket would be in serious trouble.

It's your money. Turn it into a ring, hit it with a sledgehammer, burn it, smelt it and turn it into a Buddha statue, anything goes as long as you don't try to pass it off as currency afterward.

author
JohnathanK1 (author)NateHoy2017-02-14

Thank you...to the first comment to so quickly want to try to point out someone doing something illegally....I guess they never went to a themed park or zoo and put a penny in the machine....man, imagine how many little kids would be arrested.....

author
MichaelW157 (author)NateHoy2016-12-27

If you all are worried using an American coin, use a Canadian coin I doubt, anybody from Canada will come looking,.. but pre 1968 are all silver and the newer ones, are steel cores. Which will probably not work...

author
MaxPower1977 (author)MichaelW1572016-12-29

Interesting to see all the comments on my Instructable. I'm in Canada and I purposely used an American quarter to make the ring because the writing looks cooler and because of this from the Canadian Mint:

Is it illegal to melt or deface Canadian coins?

"The Currency Act and The Canadian Criminal Code
clearly state that no person shall melt down, break up or use otherwise
than as currency any coin that is legal tender in Canada."

My research on American coins is as long as you don't alter one denomination and pass it off as another it's ok. But the lawyers and Uncle Sam may interperate otherwise.

author
KenF9 (author)emorycwyatt2016-02-18

Actually - there is a loop hole that allows for 'artistic' uses of coins and currency.

But artistic uses can be in the eye of the beholder. In any case turning a quarter into a ring would fall under the artistic clause. BTW - I don't believe anyone has ever been fined or jailed for melting down tons of silver coins (still legal tender) over the years, and that would definitely fall under the 'deform' part that is clearly against the law, but people do it every day.

author
DIY-Guy (author)KenF92016-02-18

The "code" only applies to Federal Reserve Notes.
Not united states currency, which does not say "Federal Reserve Note" on it.
Also, the law is in regard to modifying bills for the purpose of committing fraud (such as changing the value of a bill from a 10 and a 5 to cut and paste a 50.)

author
KenF9 (author)DIY-Guy2016-02-18

There is a way to split a bill a part so you have two complete halfs - a front and a back. Do that to a $20 and a $1. Then put the back of the $1 on the front of the $20 and the back of the $20 on the front of the $1. Thus you can turn $21 into $40. That is one reason why cashiers are suppose to have all the bills in the till front facing. Also seem like a like of work for $19 and the risk of going to jail.

author
Renaud83 (author)2016-12-27

Just pop the gold center of a Canadian Toonie and Voilà!

Just kidding! I like your instructable!

Toonie.png
author
CalebGreer (author)2016-12-27

That's cool. I think I have all the tools, I might make it. Awesome work!

author
TexBoyd (author)2016-08-06

From experience, the polyurethane doesn't seem to last any longer than clear fingernail polish. I am trying the suggested New York Color Long Wearing Nail Enamel, Extra Shiny Top Coat that I got from Amazon - 3 bottles for $5.24.

author
TexBoyd (author)TexBoyd2016-12-27

The NYC Extra Shiny Top Coat does seem to last longer than the polyurethane, but if I wear the ring everyday, the coating only lasts about 2 weeks. I guess the perspiration attacks the coating. So I strip it, re-polish, and re-coat it. A sliver quarter needs no coating at least on my wife's ring and her hands.

author
John T MacF Mood (author)2016-03-01

I would question using a silver coin. These coins are not clad copper core but appear to be silver. As silver they are worth about only (around) $22.00 an ounce, so all that work, and the collector value of the coin is gone. How much is it worth as a ring that will turn your finger black with tarnish?

Besides the debatable legality of destroying a coin to make jewelry. Questionable at best.

The work looks great, but I'll avoid doing it myself.

What about using scrap silver, and making a mold, and incorporating the design you want on the rim... Should be easier, legal, and a bit less hand labor.

author

There is such a thing as "Junk" silver coins - Old silver (not clad) coins that are so worn they have no collector value and are sold purely for their silver value. These coins would be ideal for making jewelry. Some jewelers actually melt them down for casting jewelry, since the alloy is already made for durability and is 90% silver.

author
BeardedPapa (author)2016-02-18

These steps are about what I do also. One hint I would add, since I too use a vise to "squeeze" the coin in the doming block, to keep it strictly aligned, I use a few drops of hot glue, which easily comes off after the doming.

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author
BeardedPapa (author)BeardedPapa2016-02-18

Oh, I forgot to add, for the composite quarters, I dip the ring in clear polyurethane, spin it to get the excess off, and hang up to dry. This is to protect the skin from reacting with the alloys in the rings. I have made 2-3 silver ones that don't need that. You can also spray them with a clear coat, but the dipping is so much less wasteful.

author
ooohlaa (author)BeardedPapa2016-08-06

probably clear nail polish works just as well ... lovely idea thanx

author
MaxPower1977 (author)BeardedPapa2016-02-21

That is an awesome tip, I'll do that next time!

author
BrianD173 (author)2016-07-12

I recently went to an estate sale where I saw a silver ring which I immediately identified as having been made by hand from an old silver quarter and bought it for $1.00. I asked the lady selling it if she knew of its origin - she asked " why" and I explained how I made identical rings in the 1950's from quarters, using a dinner-spoon as the 'hammer' - walking around school tapping away for a week or so, finally drilling it out once the rim had turned over sufficiently. Suddenly the realization came to her and she cried out "my father made that in the trenches in WWII!" I offered to give it back but she insisted I keep it which I did. I wear it fairly regularly - a simple ring with a story!

author
The DIYinventor made it! (author)2016-07-03

Very easy to follow!

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author
skipernicus (author)2016-04-22

This is a great instructable. I loved the video - I feel like I really understand how to make a competent attempt at this.

Well done, sir!

author
bricabracwizard (author)2016-04-20

I love what you have done here! Seeing as you've raised a lot of questions amongst the populace I thought you might find this interesting:

Fiat money
is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but is not backed by a physical
commodity. The value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between
supply and demand rather than the value of the material that the money is made
of. Historically, most currencies were based on physical commodities such as
gold or silver, but fiat money is based solely on faith. Fiat is the Latin word
for "it shall be".

Because
fiat money is not linked to physical reserves, it risks becoming worthless due
to hyperinflation. If people lose faith in a
nation's paper currency, like the dollar bill, the money will no longer hold
any value.

Most
modern paper currencies are fiat currencies, have no intrinsic value and are used solely as a
means of payment. Historically, governments would mint coins
out of a physical commodity such as gold or silver, or
would print paper money that could be redeemed for a
set amount of physical commodity. Fiat money is inconvertible and cannot be
redeemed. Fiat money rose to prominence in the 20th century, specifically after
the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971, when the United States ceased
to allow the conversion of the dollar into gold.

author
JacqueB3 (author)2016-03-05

I understand to disfigure or deface and type of money is against the law. However, to bring up an issue as to an estimate made by the mint of the cost of replacing defaced coins is well I do not know. Due to the facts that there are more coins being saved than defaced. You would think they would be estimating the cost of creating new coins for all the coins being saved by individuals. Well, I did some digging to answer my own question.

[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
THE FUTURE OF MONEY: COINAGE PRODUCTION

=======================================================================

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON

DOMESTIC MONETARY POLICY

AND TECHNOLOGY

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

__________

APRIL 17, 2012

__________

Printed for the use of the Committee on Financial Services

Serial No. 112-117

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

75-089 PDF WASHINGTON : 2012

As it was brought up at a meeting by Mr. Luetkemeyer: I guess the next question I have is with regards to the
amount of money that seems to be coming out of circulation. One
of the comments that was made or some of the discussion that
was had was how much of the money that comes out of circulation
is due to collecting and loss and things like that.
How much--every year we produce more, I guess, coinage to
be able to supply more activity. How much of it is--or do you
have any research that shows why we are producing more? Is it
because of loss--just dropping in the back of your seat of your
car or something or, it comes out of--are people collecting it?
Why do we need to continue to do more?
Mr. Weber: We haven't conducted any studies about the
reasons for coinage leaving circulation. At the time that the
Mint was completing the 50-State Quarter Program, it did
provide what it believed to be an estimate that approximately
half of the coins that it had minted for the program were
likely held by collectors because of the unique collector value
of those coins at the time. I don't believe that would
necessarily apply to the other denominations. But as I
mentioned, we have not studied that issue.
Mr. Luetkemeyer: Okay. I see my time is up. Thank you, Mr.
Chairman.

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112hhrg75089/ht...

STATEMENT OF DENNIS H. WEBER, COIN INDUSTRY CONSULTANT

section 61-64

I really do not think there is a way of tracing such activities, rather it is a if you get caught type of situation. I think it is a cool idea

author
svesteng (author)2016-03-02

I think it is a cute idea. Thanks for sharing.

author
card100 (author)2016-02-15

Isn't this against the law? Penny pressers are... though this law is very lowly enforced

author
John T MacF Mood (author)card1002016-02-18

You are correct, but it's rarely enforced. It is a Federal crime to alter, deface, mark, or modify US currency including coins as lowly as a penny.

author
NateHoy (author)John T MacF Mood2016-03-01

It is a federal crime to fraudulently deface a coin (or bill, for that matter, but that is under a different statute). The key word that is often missed is "fraudulently".

A ring cannot be mistaken for currency. There is no fraud.

author
John T MacF Mood (author)NateHoy2016-03-01

The mint has made estimates of the cost of replacing defaced coins, and it runs into the millions. Destroying a coin is in the code, not under fraud, but the destruction of Federal property, the currency made to replace destroyed coins alone cost taxpayers millions each year, and we're operating at a HUGE deficit. I respectfully disagree.Using a coin for making jewelry is against the law in my interpretation of the Federal Code. You may possess it, but it is a Federal instrument, and as such made by and property of the government to facilitate trade, not make jewelry.

I see the project as a well done one, but ill advised.

author
NateHoy (author)John T MacF Mood2016-03-01

I'm curious - what portions of the code are you using to base your interpretation? I can't find a "destruction of federal property" statute that covers things like currency. Only things that are clearly government property, like vehicles and signage.

Other than the penny and the nickel, it costs less to make a coin than its face value, so making a quarter and putting it into circulation actually MAKES money for the US Mint (to the total tune of almost $300 million a year).

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/12/15/just-how...

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Moddedout (author)card1002016-02-18

Nope not against the law. That's like saying the gold you base the currency off is not allowed to be manipulated. Manipulating or defacing currency for means of trade or illegal activity is against the law.

author
badideasrus (author)card1002016-02-16

penny pressers are NOT illegal....

when it comes to money there are two distinct rules. no melting down coins for their metal value. and no altering money TO PASS IT OFF AS OTHER CASH. ie, dont bleach a 1 dollar bill and make it into a 100

author
cooleyrw (author)card1002016-02-15

Not actually against the law:

http://creativejewelrymaking.com/metal-jewelry-making/is-it-legal-to-use-coins-to-make-jewelry/

author
tamarakappel (author)2016-02-29

Thats interesting

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thegrendel (author)2016-02-18

It's much easier using an old silver quarter. Silver is softer and easier to work.

Old quarters which are not rare dates can be purchased for a couple of bucks.

author
Mark 42 (author)thegrendel2016-02-18

I usually get old silver quarters for 25 cents.

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thegrendel (author)Mark 422016-02-18

I wish you'd let me know where, Mark. It could turn into a pretty good livelihood. And, yes, I have, over the years, found a couple of old silver dimes in change. No quarters, though.

author
Mark 42 (author)thegrendel2016-02-19

I just check my change when I buy stuff from vending machines. It's amazing that people still use the silver coins in the machines. Last time I looked, they weren't worth a lot more than face value (on eBay).

author
camscam (author)Mark 422016-02-18

Where? How?

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DIY-Guy (author)thegrendel2016-02-18

I like the way you think! Silver coins make for silver rings, more valuable as time goes by, usually.

author
RiversP made it! (author)2016-02-18

Want to see how to make a ring from a 1937 quarter the old fashioned way? Check this out. You won't see my face but you will see my hands and my knees. http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com/blind_pig_the_acorn/2012/03/how-to-make-a-silver-ring-from-a-quarter.html

6a00e54ffe2ad388330167639d2c7c970b-400wi.jpg
author
josh (author)RiversP2016-02-19

this is a great story and really cool historic way to make a ring out of a quarter... maybe I'll try it with a silver quarter I've got laying about.

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Poppy Ann (author)2016-02-19

Many years ago when I was young we use to make rings out of some of the older coins which were made of silver but the process only made the characters appear on the inside of the ring it was easy to do but could take a long time you just drilled a small hole in the center then put the coin onto a tapered piece of steel which for me was a dot punch to start with the a tapered steel punch then you just used a small hammer and went round and round giving it small taps and it would roll the sides of the coin to the inside of the ring once the ring was around the size you wanted you would drill out the remaining metal then polish it up with metal polish (brasso)

your way which gets the writing on the outside of the ring looks better.

Regards Poppy Ann.

author
BillR6 (author)2016-02-18

Nice instructions and video but I had to laugh at the amount of tools required.

author
BrookeeCrayCray (author)2016-02-18

This is tooooooooooooo complecated....... ill just buy one

author
Purocuyu (author)2016-02-15

How small a ring could you conceivably make like this? I'm thinking of one for my 9 year old son.

author
MaxPower1977 (author)Purocuyu2016-02-15

Not sure but I think the limiting factor would the size of the mandrel you can get and start with a smaller coin like a dime or nickel. The circumference of the quarter would be too big for a small hand once stretched out.

author
BeardedPapa (author)MaxPower19772016-02-18

I have actually used the doming block to reduce the size if I stretched it too much on the mandrell. For my son's nephews and nieces, here is the list of quarters and sizes that I made - 3.5 is pretty small. (the letters are their first intials

A. - size 5. year 2005, state Minnesota; L. - 5, 2003, Alabama; S. - 3.5, 2008, Hawaii; V. - 2007; G. - 8, 2004 Iowa; H. - 3.5, 2007; E - 6, 2004 Michigan; J. - 4, 2008; T. - 5.5 , 2000; L. - 8 1/2. 2001, New York

author
SoyGreen (author)2016-02-18

So I actually did this when I was in middle school... made a ring from a nickel. Started having headaches - sleeping problems - etc... stopped wearing the ring (cause I noticed it was leaving a mark on my finger) - turned out I was likely being poisoned by it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel#Toxicity

Making rings from coins is cool - but please make sure you somehow lacquer or seal it - before you start wearing nickel on your hands etc.

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