Introduction: PENNY TABLE

Picture of PENNY TABLE

I started making this table last year after seeing the penny desk that Epbot made. I have to say, it certainly inspired me to get back into what I love doing.

And now we have my latest creation....

Let me know what you think :~)

Step 1: Let's Get Started :~)

You will need some materials to get started:

* table legs
* epoxy
* pennies
* 3/4" melamine or MDF (23" W  X  31" L )
* trim
* white glue
* Q-tips
* CLR cleaner
* plumbers torch

I happened to get this bar table for free. The legs were powder coated an ugly brown. I removed the coating from the legs with a grinder with an attached paint removal disk. If you don't have a grinder (noisy and creates a LOT of dust) you can use paint stripper.

Clean the pennies using CLR - but be careful: after 1998 (if not mistaken) the pennies were only copper PLATED. If you leave them in the cleanser for too long, they will turn kind of a rose colour.

For convenience, I used white melamine for the table backer - but next time I will just paint some MDF. Paint will be brighter and show better. I cut the melamine to the size I was after and was ready to lay down some pennies!!

Step 2: My 2 Cents

Picture of My 2 Cents

Ok, so after a few days of glueing down all 1470 pennies, I realized I made a mistake.

* You should lay out a horizontal and vertical row of pennies and get a measurement first *

If you don't, you will arrive at the problem you see in the pics. I didn't measure before hand and now the melamine is too wide. If you try to cut it after the fact - it will be difficult and dangerous because you will pop pennies off as you try to cut. You will also damage your saw blade. It can be done - but it is tricky. Try to avoid this mistake.

The other issue was on the ends. As you can see, the pennies go over the edge. I chose to cut each penny with a Dremel tool and a thin cut-off wheel. Make sure you wear you safety glasses. Use pliers to hold onto the penny while cutting cuz it gets hot!

Now you can measure and cut your trim pieces, then paint them. The trim I used had a 90 degree profile and was purchased at the Home Depot. The great thing about this trim: when I had attached it to my work - the surface of the pennies were flush with the top of the trim. This is good for when you epoxy because it will flow easily right over the edge.

Step 3: Epoxy Time

The best thing to do when using epoxy is to heat it up! It flows much easier and allows it to level out nicely.

After you've poured, wait 15mins. for bubbles to come to the surface. Using a plumbers torch you run the flame over the whole board to get rid of the bubbles. Be careful not to keep it in one place too long or it will burn the epoxy. Keep it moving and at minimum 6" from the surface.

Let the table sit for another 15mins. then go back and give it one more pass with the torch. Use a small paint brush to wipe away any drips hanging off the lower edges. Wait at least 4-7 days for the epoxy to fully harden.

I did 3 separate coats of epoxy on this table top.

Step 4:

Picture of

Look what I found on the table.....a 1932 Canadian penny. Table just went up about $5 :~)

Here is the finished product:

Let me know what you think and please vote for me in the Woodworking Contest.


Craig Arges



DaveM300 (author)2017-12-10


Clean Pennies: 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1-3 tsp salt, A few unshiny pennies, Non-metal bowl, Paper towels. Pour vinegar into the bowl & add salt, stir. Put about 5 pennies into the bowl for 10 sec. Take out pennies and rinse in water.

Hydrogen Peroxide will take a bright penny and darken it like an old penny. It will also clean dirt or organic material off coins & it sometimes loosens encrustations.

ReaA6 (author)2017-05-09

very cool

TassieMike (author)2017-05-08

:) Jackson Hole, Silver Dollar Bar :)

Jfieldcap (author)2017-05-08

For US pennies, everything after 1982 is zinc plated with copper. Funny to see that you Canadians also have us coins mixed in like we have yours XD

Nice Ible, overall!

andrew.mead.1253 (author)2017-05-07

Souvenir makers have been placing coins in blocks of hardened epoxy for about 45 years. The coins so far appear to not react with their environment and can still be clearly seen. Sandwiching pennies between plexiglass (as discussed in comments) opens the door to atmospheric reaction of the pennies to the surrounding environment producing an effect that's likely unwanted. In the years to come, these tables and items will likely grow in value--make sure you keep the engraved dates "up" and visible--unless you want to drive a coin-collector nuts.

Poochmania (author)2017-05-07

I love the table. Thanks for sharing and the tips mentioned what to avoid.

Using the pennies to cover the top of the table is on my 'to do' list. I have a table that is sitting in the basement waiting for me to do something like this.

* You mentioned 3 separate coat of epoxy. May I ask how much epoxy did you use to create this table?

* Did you let the epoxy run over the side (walls)? In other words, does this table has epoxy on all 4 sides as well as the top? I can't tell from the photos.

* If you apply epoxy on the top (over the pennies) only, how did you manage to stop epoxy not running over? I have a couple of projects using epoxy and it is very difficult to control epoxy.

* Can you share what epoxy (brand name) did you use? I have used 3 different brand name epoxy in the past. Even though I measured and used exactly as directed, but some stay sticky for a long time.

Attached photo is one of my past project using epoxy and it took 5 coats to finished. Not because it needs 5 coats, I recoat epoxy because epoxy didn't dry. Finally, the last coat of epoxy dried completely without any stickiness.

I regret not taking a step by step photos of this project before, during and finished.

roylg (author)2017-05-07

Good job Craig. Lots of tedious work but well worth it.

.F (author)2017-05-07

Yay canadian made... but where do you get all them penies now that they are retired?

AerialInk (author)2014-04-08

Has anyone asked about the one penny that is heads up, and why you did it?

CraigRJess (author)AerialInk2014-04-08

Damn it! Im going to have to take that up with my quality control dept.

It was obviously a mistake that I made - thanks for pointing that out......kinda.

I didn't even see it to tell you the truth. I think what had happened was when I was trimming down the board after making it too big - I hit some of the pennies with my saw blade, popping some off. In a haste to replace them, I probably put it on without thinking. :~)

AerialInk (author)CraigRJess2014-04-08

don't beat yourself up about it, I really like it! I likened it to the work of the masters, or architecture, where in some minds that perfection is divine so we as humans can not truly achieve it.

Years ago, and I still remember, I was on a tour of some sort for college at a large public library where we were studying architecture/perspective drawing. The sides of the main staircase were lined with small pillars which formed the side rails and the instructor pointed out that of these numerous pillars the second to last one at the top on one side was... upside down for the very reason I mentioned above. :)

And if anyone asks, it was all part of the plan ;)

jgbeilue (author)AerialInk2016-04-30

I had some friends do a bar top with beer bottle caps and I was lucky enough to end up with it in my game room. The bar is about six feet long and three feet wide. In this expanse there are beer caps from all over the world, a coupla patterns that emerge if you look for them and...wait for it...a single non alcoholic root beer. The challenge to visitors is to find the root beer cap. Usually takes at least five minutes.

CraigRJess (author)AerialInk2014-04-09

Well it looks as though I've had one of those Marty McFly moments: all the Canadian ones were shown with the maple leafs up and the US ones were kept with their main faces showing up as well eg: Lincoln etc. Having the faces showing was the goal regardless of where the penny came from.

Thank you for the nice compliment "likening it to the work of the masters".

Gee, I thought it was because the States and Canada always have each others backs:) After all, we're both in North America:)

Of course we got each others backs :~)

hippiechk made it! (author)2015-12-23

Very nicely done!

I was about to do this small rinse sink bottom in all pennies when a friend offered up his sunken treasures of coind he found with his metal detector. Nice variety of colours!

CraigRJess (author)hippiechk2015-12-28

Thank you.

Very nice work!

Nice of your friend. It's getting very hard to find pennies here without having to pay for them now.

hippiechk (author)CraigRJess2015-12-28


I intentionally rippled it a bit in gel stage & people were forever trying to pick up the wet coins *laugh*. Company that makes my resin (yes, it sounds arrogant but its a love thing) actually put it on their blog & gallery! 100℅ natural stuff like soybeans, virtually NO odour at any stage, uv stabilizing... made here in Canada too! I don't mean to shill...

Happy & Creative New Year to all!!

itmmckernan (author)2015-07-08

How many pennies did you use on the table? Looks really cool.

CraigRJess (author)itmmckernan2015-07-11

Thank you.

I used about 1500 pennies.

domenic3 (author)2014-09-02


CraigRJess (author)domenic32014-09-02

Thank you :~)

out-of-the-box (author)2014-04-08

what kind of epoxy did you use? the shine on it is amazing! I would love to attempt this!

Hi Taylor - thanks for contacting me.

I used a cheaper epoxy from a local arts and crafts store called Michaels here in Canada. It was called Envirotex Lite.

If starting out like me, practice on a few pieces and learn as much as you can online before doing a big project. If you can afford it, go with West Systems epoxy - its what the pros use!

Send me a pic when you get it done. Love to see it :~)

woelfwynde (author)CraigRJess2014-07-18

For a smaller project idea, try "coasters" or "trivets" (trivets are like potholders for your tabletop. You can Google it if you are still not sure.) They would be great accents for a larger table, such as a dinette table.

CraigRJess (author)woelfwynde2014-07-18

Good idea for cold drinks but you can't warm/hot items on epoxy - it will melt it.

katkinson4 (author)2014-04-18

Not much wood on this project huh

rcapili (author)2014-04-13

I've always wanted to do this. What about paper bills?
Should I do the same thing?

CraigRJess (author)rcapili2014-04-13

Only thing I can tell you is - do what feels right, and do whatever makes you happy and believe in what you are doing. If you have a passion for doing something, it doesn't matter what me or anyone else thinks - though feedback is good :~)

I think paper bills would look pretty damn good, but make sure they aren't worth a lot of money first. If you mean doing it with $1, or $2 bills - sure why not. Have a look at my other Instructable, "Vintage Ad Coffee Table" for an idea if you want to use bills. Or find a pic of a bill you want and have it enlarged/blown up to a bigger size and put that on a small table or even a coffee table.

Hope that helps :~)

Maybe you can enclose paper bills in some sort of plastic before putting them in the epoxy. That way you MIGHT be able to salvage them some day.

Laminate them maybe...that would work. It is only the outer edges around the bill that would be joined.

Ricardo Furioso (author)2014-04-09

Stunning work. And smart recycling. Thank you for sharing. Please do more.

I've read that it costs more than a penny to make a penny.
If this is true, what could be the reasoning?

Why don't we just phase out pennies?

Yes, that is correct. It costs more just to make one. High copper prices and cost to manufacture, therefore they reduced the amount of copper in the penny from 95-98% copper - down to only 5% or so.

We did phase out the penny in 2012.

The Royal (Canoodlian) "WE" phased out the penny in 2012.

We 'Muricans still have pocketsful.


LOL, you didn't know I am from Canada eh?

Don't Canadians say LOLA? :)

First time Ive heard of it....LOL eh?


Thank you.

I am always coming up with new ideas :~) Just have to keep watching......

mrandle (author)2014-04-12

I wish I hadn't got rid of my pennies when they were discontinued this is awesome!

CraigRJess (author)mrandle2014-04-12

Thank you :~)

I was able to grab a bunch from the bank just before the crack down. Once they closed that door, I was able to ask some friends - everyone seems to have a jar of some kind with pennies and other coins in them.

How's life out in Chestermere? A lot of steady growth that way in the last 20 years hey? Didn't they just approve another gigantic development out that way?

mrandle (author)CraigRJess2014-04-12

Yes it is blowing up right now! Stony trail got finished and we got a Walmart down the road. Plus we are getting a whole bunch more stores and development on the west side of town.

pfrankovich (author)2014-04-10

Years ago, there was a bar in Wheeling WV that had the surface done in assorted coins. When asked, the owner said I wouldn't believe how much change the tipsy patrons left behind.

CraigRJess (author)pfrankovich2014-04-11

Wow, I bet it was a lot :~)

BetsyFartBlossom (author)2014-04-08

I have a question. I don't know how much this weighs, but would it be
possible to just mount the coins tightly in the frame without the glue,
between 2 pieces of plexiglass and then mount the plexiglass on some
little pegs about 1" to 1/2", strategically placed for strength of course, over the bottom
which has a mirrored surface so one could see both sides of the coins? And, instead of cutting the coins, just leave the spaces, gives it a lovely lace look:)
Does this make any sense to anyone but me?:) Love the Lincoln pennies
put in there too.

It has good weight to it. It is solid and won't be blown over by wind.

Ok, your question makes sense to me - you want to kinda put it on silts with a mirror under it to see bith sides of the coins:

1) if the coins are tightly grouped together like on my table - you won't be able to see underneath except from the sides/edges. You would want to space out the coins enough to be able to see the reflection from any angle of observation.

2) it would be a real pain trying to hold those coins in position btw 2 plexi pieces while you work and assemble your table.

3) get a piece of glass the size you want, put on 2-3 coats of wax and buff it off well. Build a border around the glass (say~1"), pour in enough epoxy to get half way up the border, let it harden, put your coins in spaced out enough, pour the rest of the epoxy over that and up to the edge of your border. Let it harden for 2-7 days, remove border. NOW - you have your suspended coins, which you can put on a framed mirror held up by pegs or stilts in the corners.

Hope that give you some ideas for your project. Just don't finish it till AFTER the Woodworking contest ;~)

Oh, here it is!:) Had trouble finding the site again. If I put a thin coat of epoxy on the bottom sheet of plexiglass, just enough to secure the coins, and then put the coins on and put the top plexiglass on and maybe epoxied the corners and spots on the edges, then put that on several little clear plastic stilts, maybe 2" or so, epoxied on the bottom sheet of the plexiglass, like how one does for a tiered cake, that should take away some of the weight and lift the coin sheet so you can see underneath. Then, put that on the mirrored table. Would that work? I'm just not sure if I can find all that epoxy and don't think I could lift it if I did. I'm a weenie:) Yeah, I didn't think about spacing out the coins, but that's a great idea. One could use different types, dimes, nickles, quarters, and it would avoid cutting and reduce the weight. I love thinking outside of the box. That's why I want to be cremated:) Yeah, I'll wait, until after the contest:) I have to clean the yard and garage. And, of course, there's a nap to take:)

No, I was thinking without the plexiglass. Instead, imbed the coins into the epoxy (gives the impression its floating). Im assuming these are not valuable collector coins though. Imagine 1-1.5" of sold epoxy with coins floating in the middle. Mount that over a mirror with clear plexi or metal or wood stilts/posts in the corners to elevate it. (to get a glass like surface underneath, you must pour the epoxy onto a glass surface - then pop it off there when it cures. THEN the bottom of the epoxy will smooth.)

Bessy F B My same thoughts ,also it would not damage the coins and if and when the table top gets marked up you could replace the plexiglass . For those looking for 1 cent coins E-bay has great deals on rolls or by the pound.

About This Instructable




Add instructable to: