Introduction: Penny Button

Picture of Penny Button

I tend to break a lot of buttons so I decided to find/make one that didn't pop off my pant's. After some thought I decided that a penny would make a great button, or even a quarter or dime.'

Step 1: Preparation

Picture of Preparation

The tools you will need.
1.drill with small bit, bit size depends on how big you want the holes.
2.Dremel tool
3.Center punch and hammer glasses
5.vice grip pliers

Step 2: Chooes Hole Location

Picture of Chooes Hole Location

Use the center punch and hammer to make dents at the location of each hole. Doing this helps keep the drill bit from wandering.

Step 3: Clamping

Picture of Clamping

Use the vice grips to clamp the penny in place. Don't squeeze the penny to hard or you will mark and scratch it.

Step 4: Drill the Holes.

Picture of Drill the Holes.

Drill the holes out, then take the dremel tool and clean up the holes. make sure you get all the bur's and taper in the holes to insure that they don't cut the thread when pressure is applied to them.

Step 5: All Thats Left Is to Sew Button On.

Picture of All Thats Left Is to Sew Button On.

I am leaving this one up to you. All and all it makes a pretty durable button that will not get brittle and crack.


KooLAiD1337 (author)2014-03-08

I had this same problem so I made a IBLE on my take on it before I saw yours. Most my pants are using my method and have been with me for over a year. Your idea is awesome and a heck of alot more durable in the long run. I'd only worry about the drilled holes eventually sawing the thread but you could of course use bread tie wire which i did on one.

Skai (author)2010-10-14

Check this out - this is a really cheap deal online for buying bulk random old and newer foreign coins from who knows where you'll get them from (kind of like the garment district for coins if any of you know the Boston area) and im sure anyone could find something to make a really cool looking button. Apparently they even have ones from the old Soviet Union for all those who are into like CCCP stylin stuff and all

Soksume (author)2009-05-27

you may want to be careful with what currency you use sometimes the goverment gets ancy about distroying it cause its technically their property

KooLAiD1337 (author)Soksume2014-03-08

what about penny loafers?

DancingFish (author)Soksume2012-05-31

This is a bit of a tricky subject. Technically under US Title 18 USC § 331 - The Mutilation, Diminution, and Falsification of coins there is only issues with fraudulently modifying the currency.

If you do not " fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or
Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

So as long as you are no longer planning on passing it off as currency anymore, you are fine. I also looked into several different statements and it appears this is the general understanding. In that case, making coins into art is ok. But, as Soksume says, it is important to not use anything that large.
There is an expectation for a certain amount of coins to vanish from circulation. They get lost all the time, especially pennies.
I would say have at it, just don't make $100 worth of buttons.

two-eight (author)2011-03-28

i like this idea...

Skai (author)2010-09-06

im not too familiar with drilling. you were able to drill through the penny while the penny was on that surface? is that a special drilling surface or some other surface with a certain characteristic? I'm not only meaning to do this great instructable :) , but also to start a nice workshop (in an apartment :/)

shermans (author)Skai2010-12-10

I used a center punch to make a dent, this is done to keep the drill bit from wandering. make sure you put a piece of wood under the penny cause you will end up drilling in to it.

ironsmiter (author)2009-05-26

wow. nice. though, at a penny a button, that could get expensive!(joke. laugh. now.) I have some old button-up work shirts, and those plastic buttons NEVER survive... Now I know what to do with all that change my friend gave me from Honduras!

shermans (author)ironsmiter2009-05-27

I never thought about using foreign currency, that's a good idea.

thepelton (author)shermans2009-05-27

Go to a coin collector's store to find foreign currency.

Skai (author)thepelton2010-09-06

or go to any currency exchange at an airport or in touristy places. i know in london they have them EVERYWHERE. I have a tip for using foreign currency too - parking meters, train fare machines, and many other things won't know the difference between a similair sized, yet cheaper foreign quarter and a mighty u.s quarter. save money now

thepelton (author)2009-05-27

One thing I would say about this. The cents made since 1982 are made of copper plated zinc. Zinc reacts with and can corrode in water. You can get a wide variety of foreign coins made of brass, copper, nickel or a number of other metals that would be suitable. Many of the german coins made during the two world wars are unplated zinc.

porcupinemamma (author)thepelton2009-07-30

Ahhhhhhhh a man who knows his laundry ;0)

ironsmiter (author)thepelton2009-05-27

If it's a bigger button you need, a US nickle would work just fine :-)

On the other end, you probably DON'T want to use the real copper, silver or steel US coins for making buttons.

Ahh, did a search, and looking at older, but not collectable pennies...If your Lincoln Memorial penny has a date before 1982, it is made of 95% copper. If the date is 1983 or later, it is made of 97.5% zinc and plated with a thin copper coating. So, unless it's one of the rare ones(1972 Doubled Die Obv. $47.50, 1970-S High 7* $3.00, or 1984 Doubled Ear $30.00) I'd say go ahead and use it. Also, being mainly copper, you can easily solder to these pennies. The zinc/copper pennies go all melty before you even reach low-temp solder temps :-) It can be FUN to have a penny that that's been done to though, so go ahead and expirement!

thepelton (author)ironsmiter2009-05-28

Drop a 1982 cent on a hard surface. If it goes "ding" it's bronze. If it goes "clack" it's copper plated zinc. Try an earlier cent so you know what you are looking for.

lemonie (author)2009-05-26

Sturdy! I've thought about making buttons from cheese before now, but never pennies. L

reedz (author)lemonie2009-05-26

That must be some hard cheese.

lemonie (author)reedz2009-05-26

It's one of those historical things sailors were supposed to have done (months old dried-out stuff) - which is why I've wanted to try it. L

Gorfram (author)lemonie2009-05-27

Maybe toggles from hardtack seabiscuits, but buttons from cheese....? I wouldn't think cheese could ever have enough strength in bending. (...unless the cheese re-polymerized somehow into a much more structural and less edible substance... ....hmmm...)

lemonie (author)Gorfram2009-05-27

I found a lump of coloured cheddar on top of a wardrobe once, it was very hard. I suppose I should really try it with a selection-bag of "snacking-cheese". L

ironsmiter (author)lemonie2009-05-27

I have tried "sculptural cheese" before. Hard cheddar. It does harden up nicely when aged, and dried properly. it is however very brittle. Such a button might LOOK ok(say to pass an inspection by a strict British naval commander of the 1400's who wasn't looking too closely) but I can pretty well guarantee it would not be serviceable for long once real work started.

lemonie (author)ironsmiter2009-05-27

Thanks, but I do have a mind to test this, have you any tips for the hardening process? L

ironsmiter (author)lemonie2009-05-28

Get an old easy-bake over. Seriously. The old ones put out JUST enough heat to really dry things out without melting stuff. after the first couple days, put a fan on it also. Once the majority of water is driven out, the oil in the cheese will begin surfacing. You'll have to wipe the oil off every once in a while. When it's "done" I'd advise a layer of lacquer to keep it from re-hydrating. I've also had mild success making "hard cheddar" by leaving a brick in the refridgerator, completely uncovered. After a couple days, you'll notice it to START hardening. If you pre-slice the slab for your button, I'd guess it'd take a good 2 weeks at least to harden this way though. And remember to cut MUCH thicker than you think you need. as it dries, it shrinks. On a side note, you probably will get some mold. Most of the stuff that'll grow on cheese is of the non-toxic variety. Not particularly tasty, but not dangerous(unlike black mold, of flooded basement fame). But then again, you're not likely tt be eating your buttons(though you could make a grilled cheese sandwich with enough of them :-)

lemonie (author)ironsmiter2009-06-07

I did it. Cheese buttons


lemonie (author)ironsmiter2009-05-28

Well, those were roughly my thoughts - that you've done it I appreciate the advice. Thanks L

Bardouv (author)2009-05-26

I would have never thought to do that. Cool!

shermans (author)Bardouv2009-05-26

I had 4 different buttons pop off the same pair of pants, thanks for the comments.

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