My hubby John and I made this fun penny desk for my office. The pennies are covered in bar top epoxy, and it isn't nearly as heavy as you might think. The process is a little tedious, but not overly difficult except for the wrapped edges, which you can always skip. Keep reading to see the step-by-step instructions.

Also, this is my very first Instructable, so my apologies if I manage to mangle it horribly. ;)

My original post regarding this desk can be found over on my blog Epbot. If you like geeky girly stuff, please drop by to say hello!

Step 1: Material Girl

First and foremost, you'll need lots of pennies. I think we used about $35 for the desk, which is approximately 40 by 22 inches. Don't have a massive change jar handy? Just swing by your local bank.

I polished half of our pennies with Tarn-X. It's super easy to use: just pour it over the coins and then rinse. Polishing some of the coins gives the end result a pretty mix of shiny and tarnished finishes.
<p>Great instructable thanks ... I didn't know about the blowtorch technique, useful to learn of this.</p><p>To calculate how many coins you need you might want to adapt the following UK penny calculations to your preferred coin size ...</p><p>How many British 1 pence coins could you fit in a meter squared?</p><p>if 1p coin diameter= 20.3mm ...</p><p>1p coins per sqm square packed: (1000/20.3)^2 = 2426.65. That s a coin</p><p>density of pi/4 or approx 78.54%.</p><p>But lets work out the coin density if arranged in hexagonal close</p><p>packed layout, Let s work it out for circle of diameter=1 unit. Sketch</p><p>4 adjacent circles with centres forming a rhombus. Within the rhombus</p><p>you have a pattern which when repeated describes the entire hexagonal</p><p>close-packed layout.</p><p>Rhombus area = (1^2-.5^2)^.5 = .75^.5 = 0.86602540378</p><p>Area which is within a circle AND within rhombus =pi*.5^2 = 0.78539816339</p><p>Therefore circle density is 0.78539816339/0.86602540378 =</p><p>0.90689968211. A density of circa 90.69%.</p><p>Area of 1p coin = pi*r^2 = pi*(20.3/2)^2 = 323.6547 sqmm</p><p>Therefore close-packed coins per sqm =</p><p>1000*1000/323.6547*0.90689968211 = 2802.05936175</p><p>This doesn t account for edge conditions. circa 2802 coins per sqm. Good luck!</p><p>Dominic P</p>
So in plain english ... its about $3.35 per square foot?
I make it $2.96 per sq Ft.<br><br>Calc:<br><br>Hex-packed circle density is 0.90689968211 (all figures here are approx.)<br>Diameter of US 1c = 19.05 mm. <br>Area of 1c coin = pi*r^2 = pi*(19.05/2)^2 = 285.022956992 sqmm. <br><br>Therefore close-packed 1c coins per sqm =<br>1000*1000/285.022956992*0.90689968211 = 3181.84784721 <br><br>or 3181.84784721/3.28084^2 per sq Ft = 295.603318905 1c coins per sq Ft<br><br>Dom
<p><a href="http://law.justia.com/us/codes/title18/18usc331.html" rel="nofollow">18 U.S.C. &sect; 331</a>&ndash;Mutilation, Diminution, and Falsification of Coins.</p><blockquote><br>Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs,<br>diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined<br>at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are<br>by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money<br>within the United States; or<p>Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or<br>sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into<br>the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered,<br>defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or<br>lightened &ndash;</p><p>Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five<br>years, or both.</p><p>SO, people, stop freaking. It is totally NOT illegal. Enjoy!</p></blockquote>
<p>Destroying money is a federal crime. Just a heads up.</p>
<p>A ratcheting wood clamp might be easier to use to bend the pennies. Remove the soft pads, then if necessary, file a slot on each of the hard plastic arms to fit the penny into. Or if you have a Dremel, carve a curved slot in each arm. Then just pump the trigger on the clamp to bend.<br><br>You may need to file the slots closer to the sliding bar to avoid clamp flex, but if the clamp is large enough, probably not.</p>
<p>Along with checking your penny-stock for older (read: valuable) pennies, let me make another suggestion... if you find a few Canadian pennies, don't just throw them away! By putting 1-5 of them on your penny-desktop, it now becomes a puzzle to find them amongst all the others. :-)</p>
<p>This is an excellent project. I've never done it and the reason I'm posting this to give people a clue that pennies minted before 1964 are 95% copper, after 1964 they are 95% zinc you may wonder why this is important. Well you see at today's metal values a copper penny has an actual value of between 2 and 3&cent; each. That plus the fact that in a $25.00 box of pennies you will probably find about 12-20 wheat pennies, ok now we are talking real money here. In ten $25.00 boxes of pennies I have found 2 Indian head coins, and this is a true treasure. I can't explain why these truly old coins might be found in a box that you get at the bank but I suspect that these old coins were in a junk drawer and finnaly taken to the bank without consideration of their potential value today.</p>
<p>Um, the cut off is 1982, not 1964. The 1964/1965 cut off was the quarter/dime silver/clad change. (half dollars/dollars still had more silver for a couple more years)</p>
<p>I believe there were 7 different US pennies made in 1982. There were different variations from solid copper to copper plated zinc. There was also a minor change in the date font styles. I have all seven 1982 penny designs in a sealed set.</p>
<p>IMHO your 7 cents with the variations is, how can I put it . . . cool.</p><p>As for the cents table, very clever. I did wonder how the raised texture would be handled but the &quot;bar table&quot; coating answered my question.</p><p>A great project and for the most part an excellent bunch of comments and suggestions!</p>
Indeed. My bad. My comments was made before I even started on my 1st cup of coffee. Err Oops sorry.
<p>if you cover a bowling ball with pennies and then grout it with copper color grout it makes the coolest garden art...it looks like you spent a lot of money on it...and once it sits outside for awhile...it gets a beautiful green patina</p>
<p>i love this idea ... what kind of glue would you recomm to weather well ... also what do you mean by copper color grout do you have to blend this color yourself or is there already such a thing like by Maipei or some other mfg?</p>
I'm sorry I don't remember the name of tile store I purchased the grout at...I do however remember it was a custom grout , and it was quite expensive... That was my first Pennie Ball i made, I've made several since and I found that solid colored grouts such as beige or even black looks great because , if you glue your pennies on the ball as close as you can, the spaces between aren't really noticeable...but, no matter what color grout you choice to go with...your going to be amazed how beautiful and unique your artwork looks...people will think you must have spent LOTS of money for such beautiful garden art... good luck...Kellee
<p>oh sorry i see below u already answered thanx so much</p>
<p>sounds cool, what did you attach them with?</p>
<p>use can use anything like contact cement, gorilla glue or quick grip because once you finish glueing your pennies to a clean bowling ball..your going to grout the entire surface which will strengthen the bond ...use sand grout ...you can go to a tile store and get bronze grout...afterwards you can choose to polyurethane it for weatherproofing but doing that hinders the beautiful green patina's ...</p>
<p>I love this idea. I've done a bowlng ball with mosaic glass. Pennies would look really cool.</p>
<p>Thanks for instructions. A little while ago, I added a brick walkway from the front gate to the front door. At the end of the walkway, I was left with a space that is unusual. At the time, and know I have a LOTTA PENNIES, I thought to fill it in with the pennies. Thanks for additional information</p>
<p>I usually read all comments but the legality ones were really overbearing, being myself simply a design dork/nerd :) I want to know if there would be any merit if you heated the penny with a torch and then bent it for the edges? Does zinc soften like copper does? Would the little bit of copper now in pennies heated soften up the bending process? Your rolled edges really make it more artistic. Love the whole idea, and the bowling ball idea (scroll down) also. Thanx so much for all the comments too.</p>
<p>the copper coat would burn off leaving just the zinc, so no.</p>
<p>Table looks great, nice job. ( Scroll down for some laughs )</p>
<p>It is very nice! With all of the comments about the legality of using currency like seen in this instruct-able, it made me wonder about all of those quarters I had pressed in Hawaii (USS Arizona site), Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. All of those locations had a machine where you pay $2.00, then you turn a handle that squishes a quarter into a nice little keepsake. Are those illegal as well? </p>
No. Its just a bunch of back-yard lawyers. Its illegal when fraud is involved else they wouldnt have them at national parks. Its when you try to pass them off as something more valuable that you get into trouble.
<p>GENIUS! I love it</p>
Thought you'd like to know. TL;DR: It's against the law.<br>http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=426715
Relax,straight liner. I RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.. i will call the Penny Police.
<p>The federal government does not have a problem with the complete destruction of any type of currency be it coins or paper bills. That merely has the effect of strengthening the currency, its negligible if not even measurable. Attempting to alter the value of any sort of currency is something they will prosecute to the fullest degree possible. Only the government has the authority to do that. Have you not noticed that when the value of silver went up the mint [government] changed to zinc plated copper and then released those new coins as dimes and quarters. Our money today is only valuable because we agree to accept that a FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE has value even if there is nothing in the federal reserve to back up those notes.</p>
Relax,straight liner. I RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.. i will call the Penny Police.
<p>Bleach a $1 bill and re-ink to look like a $20 - that's defacing. Burning a $1 bill is NOT. Melt a 1000 pennies into a pair of book-ends, no problem. Recast them as passable Susan B. Anthony dollars - you got problems. Get it? </p>
<p>No its not, the pennies have not been defaced.</p>
Incorrect. it is not against the law. its only against the law to &quot;deface currency&quot; is there is an intent to defraud.<br><br>this is why where's george stamps are legal and why penny smashers are legal and why making &quot;coin jewelery&quot; is legal and why this table is perfectly legal.<br><br>Please stop propagating that myth.
Thanks for pointing this out, nerys. I initially had a paragraph in my intro about the legality of coin craft, but then took it out because I didn't think it'd be an issue here. Guess I was wrong! (It still amazes me how many people think this could be illegal with all the penny smasher machines out there.)
Well you don't need to use pennies; you could use buttons, old playing cards or any other small things. They could work.
you wouldnt do thi table because it againt the law?<br>use in an open space, use a respirator and common sense. use safly.
It's against the &quot;law&quot; to deface currency... and I am SO going to do this for a small table... in Mexico! lol... I think I'd be safe from prosecution here. ;-D
Yes. As I already stated I was incorrect regarding the dates when the copper penny went to zinc. There probably are other variances I am not aware of, and yes I confused silver in dimes and quarters with the minting dates for pennies.
<p>I think that this desk is extremely awesome, and very creative. Thanks for posting!:)</p>
<p>Secret Service is too busy reading Hillary's emails but will get to you in another life time.</p>
Bahhhaa, yuppers
<p>This project looks like a piece of cake. There's certainly no wreck here! ;)</p>
<p>At various times in US history, the copper in pennies was worth MORE than $.01. So people could buy a bunch of pennies, melt them down (which is certainly defacing) sell the copper and make a profit. Of course, if doing so became widespread, it would deplete the US of pennies. That is why the law was written. But now, since pennies are no longer solid copper, the metal in them (mostly zinc) is worth much less than $.01. As a result, no sane person today would destroy millions of pennies for profit. That is why it is no longer illegal to &quot;deface&quot; pennies. </p>
<p>if you cover a bowling ball with pennies and then grout it with copper color grout it makes the coolest garden art...it looks like you spent a lot of money on it...and once it sits outside for awhile...it gets a beautiful green patina</p>
Ive done this to my kitchen floor but instead of epoxy i used a sandless grout. Talk about a cleanup nightmare but the result is spectacular just like your awesome desk. I think it came out about the same, cost wise, as the natural tile i was goung to use originally. Nice work...esp with the epoxy.
<p>YEARS ago, I knew a group of artists who opened a restaurant/bar. They were going to invest in a copper bar top, but it was hideously espensive. They did just exactly this for their bar top, and it was gorgeous, and unique at the time. Thanks for the reminder. Great job.</p>
<p>Horrible? That's amazing</p><p>I know this is too late, But watch out for the formaldehyde, Keep the windows open for a long time...</p>
<p>Nice looking :D</p>

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