This tutorial will show you how to turn a coin into a very unique necklace by cutting out a specific part to emphasize it. The coin is drilled into so that you don't cut through the outer ring of the coin. There are also several "bars" attaching the main part of the cutout to the ring. These are here to give the coin support and are very important no matter what type of coin you're using. I suggest leaving the bars in places that already stick out from the main design, so as not to emphasize them being there.
- Drill punch
- Eye protection
- Drill with bits
- Saw with small blade
- Metal filing set
- Necklace loop
- Necklace chain
Step 1: Drilling Preperation
In order to make sure you drill accurate holes, you're going to want to get a drill punch and a hammer. Place the punch over the spot you want to put your hole and whack it a few times with the hammer. It should create a small indent that will help guide the drill.
The first punch you will want to make is at the top center of the coin. This will be hole that you loop your chain through for making a necklace.
All the other punches should be made in places you intend to cut out. There needs to be at least one in each area separated by the bars that are supporting the coin.
Step 2: Drilling the Holes
First and foremost when handling power tools, such as a drill, you need leather work gloves and eye protection!
I use an old electric hand drill I have lying around and a cobalt 5/16" drill bit. Cobalt is especially good at drilling through tougher metals due to its ability to dissipate heat quickly.
I attach the coin to a scrap piece of wood and tape it down to prevent much movement. Slowly bring the drill onto the punch mark increasing the speed as it gets further into the coin. Do this for all punch marks and you will have something similar to the picture above.
Note: When dealing with smaller spaces between the edge of the coin and the design you're trying to keep, smaller drill bits are obviously recommended.
Step 3: Sawing the Coin
In order to saw the coin you're going to need a small but sturdy clamp, a lamp with a bendable neck to make it more obvious where the saw is going, and a saw with 4/0 blades. These blades are excellent for cutting through metal, and are small enough to protect the intricate details of the coin. Because they are so small, breakage isn't uncommon, so have a few handy.
Attach the clamp to a sturdy surface and put the coin facing up between the two. Take the saw and attach the blade to only one end. Then slide the other end of the blade through one of the holes you drilled (you most likely won't be doing any sawing with the hole you drilled to attach the coin to a necklace). Secure the other end of the blade back to the saw so that the saw is ready to be used.
Slowly start cutting through the metal, forming the rough shape against the pattern on the coin. Start taking out small segments so you can give your saw more room to maneuver. Each time you go from one area split by a bar to another, you need to remove the blade from the saw and reattach it like previously. This part is easily the longest part. Depending on the complexity of the coin it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Don't be too worried about the shape appearing very rough, because unless you're a master with a saw, you're going to need to file some points down.
Step 4: Filing
For this part you're going to need a small filing set, preferably with a handle. I got mine from the Home Depot for around $10.
Find a place that has plenty of jagged edges or extra pieces you missed when sawing. Take a file that fits the part (flat file for a flat segment, round for round, ect) and file it like you would your nails. Eventually you will get the edges down to a much smoother look. Repeat as often as needed.
Step 5: Attaching to a Necklace
For this part you're going to need your chain, a small necklace loop, and a pair of pliers. I'm using a 6mm steel loop and a 24" steel chain.
Use your pliers to open the loop fit it into the hole on your coin. Take the chain and put it inside the loop, then finally close the loop round the chain and coin.
There you go!
Shameless Plug: I have several pieces of coin jewelry, both different and like this for sale at my Etsy shop if anyone is interested.