Introduction: How to Make a Nickel Ring

Picture of How to Make a Nickel Ring

Use a nickel to make a ring or pendant for your sweetheart. Click the link for the mens version.


Sliding square
Razor blade
Center punch
Small hammer
Large hammer
Mandrel (I used a pry bar)
Rotary tool
Drill press
80 Grit sand paper
400 Grit sand paper
2000 Grit sand paper
Polishing Compound

Step 1: Mark the Center

Picture of Mark the Center

Center the coin in the carpenters square. Using a razor blade score a line in the center. Rotate the coin 90 degrees and score another line. Where the lines cross is the center. Now use a punch to mark the center. This helps you in the next step.  

Step 2: Clamp and Drill

Picture of Clamp and Drill

Clamp the ring. Starting with a small drill bit, drill through the premarked center. Progressively drill a bigger hole until it will fit on the mandrel your using. I used a pry bar as the mandrel.    

Step 3: Start Hammering

Picture of Start Hammering

Place a large hammer on a flat surface to serve as an anvil. Next, place the coin over the mandrel. Using a small hammer, hammer the edge of the coin. As you hammer rotate the mandrel and apply slight pressure towards the anvil. This hammering and pressure helps elongate the coin as it moves down the mandrel. As the coin stretches, check it against the finger measurement it's being made for.

If you want a thicker ring, hammer the edge at a 45 degree angle toward the mandrel. The ring will form a cone shape. Continue to hammer untill the cone forms a cylindrical ring. See the pictures on the last step.  

Step 4: Keep Hammering

Picture of Keep Hammering

Place the coin/ring flat on the anvil and hammer the edge. Eventually you will see the seam between the inner smoother surface start to close up against the outer hammered surface. Next, clamp the ring and use a rotary tool to grind out the seam. CAUTION!!! The ring will get hot!  Spray it with water before handling (notice the burn marks in the clamp). Wear safety goggles, not glasses. Airborne metal dust can fall behind your glasses.

Step 5: Mount the Ring

Picture of Mount the Ring

Find a socket bit just barely smaller then the ring. If you can't find a socket that's just right you can use a smaller socket and use something to wedge between the ring and socket. I use parachord when I need to. You'll better understand on a later step.

After you press the ring on the socket, use a nut and bolt and secure it through the female end. The protruding end of the bolt will be used for mounting in the drill press. Mount the assembly in the drill press and spin it round. Use a file to shape the ring. You will shape the bottom side first. 

Now you have to start being careful not to mar the ring. Use the clamp and a smaller socket to remove the ring from the socket. Flip the ring over and press it back onto the socket. Make sure you use a soft work surface when you hammer the ring on and off. I used the clamp it self.  

Step 6: Final Shaping

Picture of Final Shaping

With the assembly spinning in the drill press, use progressively finner sand paper to make the ring it's final shape. I start with 80 grit, then 400, then 2000. Spray the 400 and 2000 grit sand paper with water. This prevents the sand paper from getting clogged with metal particles. Again, this gets HOT! And don't breath the metal dust.
Flip the ring as needed. Use polishing compound to buff it to a shine. Now that the outside is nice, time for the inside.

Step 7: Repeat the Process

Picture of Repeat the Process

To buff the inside of the ring place it inside a larger socket. If it doesn't fit use a "filler" to wedge it in there. Parachord works well because it stands up to the heat. Electric tape works too but if it gets too hot it liquifies the adhesive causing the ring to fall off. Plus adhesive makes a mess on the ring.

Repeat the same process from the outside to the inside. The 80 grit is not necessary here. The 400 will do to start.

Step 8: Done

Picture of Done

Depending on how much you file off, you can make it a mens or womens ring. A womens ring has rounded edges while a mens ring is more rectangle in profile.

Several different size rings can be made; thick or thin.  I made this pendant out of 3 nickels.


coleen.astalos (author)2015-03-29

It's interesting that your Penny ring indestructible provides a warning about the Zinc fumes. I believe the same warning should be listed here as Nickel fumes & dust also cause health risks. Here is a good resource for most materials and the hazards the jeweler may expose themselves to while working with that metal:

The fumes from nickel are carcinogenic. I was making quarter rings and decided to stop after discovering this. After only a month or so of making quarter rings, I was seeing the signs of pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue) - yikes!

TheSurvivor99 (author)2014-03-19

I think this is illegal.

lime3D (author)TheSurvivor992015-02-17

Why is it that with EVERY instructable that uses currency, someone poses this question, without first checking the facts?

"Can I make jewelry from U.S. coins?

Yes, but your business should be careful not to imply any endorsement by or association with the United States Mint in its advertising and marketing materials."

Psykram (author)TheSurvivor992014-08-21

The charge would be defacing government property.

it's only illegal if you try to buy something with it after you've done this

ArticAkita (author)2014-12-15

Its not illegal for coins but you wil loose money unless your coin is no longer able to get used as its face value, bent, badly scratched off face/back of the coin...a
no brainer.

ArticAkita (author)2014-12-15

Any coin will do I believe, I'm always checking my change for disfigured damaged coins found a nickel once with a bad case of road rash another nickel a kid put through a paper punch at school!

invisiblelight386 made it! (author)2014-11-25

I was able to make this one using the same process as the men's ring, but drilled a bigger whole to begin with and that made the width of the band about half the width of the men's at the end.

Green X (author)2014-04-17


nate408 (author)2014-03-26

I Have tried to make one of these out of a qaurter, but the quality was bad.

bobbyderf123 (author)2013-11-28

I was planning on making one of these (the slimmer variety) and twisting it into an infinity symbol to use as a necklace pendant. Would this work well? And is there anything in specific that you would recommend me do? Thanks

Axtklinge (author)2013-04-06

Really nice and inspiring work.
Thank you!

Lounies (author)2012-10-26

What is the top tool in the bottom picture?

Mrballeng (author)Lounies2012-10-26

It's a pry bar.

embochner (author)2012-10-23

thanks for posting this its really cool, im working on one now. its not coming out as nice as yours. i didnt have a socket to put the ring to work on the inside so i took a scrap of plywood and drilled one hole the size of the ring halfway through one side and a hole slightly smaller through the other side to create a little ledge for the ring to sit on snugly to work on the inside. i colored the ledge orange in the attached photo to be able to see it better.

Mrballeng (author)embochner2012-10-24

Awsome! Thaks for posting pictures. It's a help to everyone including me. Your ring is looking good. Keep in mind I ruin a whole bunch of material before I come out with anything worth while.

leah_thomas (author)2011-07-25

Wow, my mom just taught me how to do this a couple of weeks ago. She used to make them when she was a kid. But this is far more advanced. She gave me a nickel and sturdy spoon and said to hit it over and over again. It sounded like a cowbell on helium. Then you drill it and beat it some more.

htonks (author)2011-07-03

So I don't think I fully understand- you put the coin at like, a 90 degree angle to the anvil- basically so they are side by side... Then you hammer the coin, on the face side / tails side against the anvil, and also along the edge of the coin? (smooth edge)

Mrballeng (author)htonks2011-07-03

What your hammering is the edge of the coin. As you hammer the edge it will flare into the ring thickness you want. Hammering it will it's through a steel rod also flares the inside.

snoopindaweb (author)2011-06-27

I made 1 with a 48 50 cent peice, I drilled It 1/2" used a small Jewellers Anvil & Hammer & Tapped, Tapped, Tapped for about a year fairly often. I can still read under the folded edge most of Liberty, In God We Trust, Half Dallar, United States" Other side, etc. I left the Narfy "Hammered" finish.

cook$ (author)2011-02-15

This might be a stupid question... but what is a nickel made of? I'm trying to come up with a UK coin equivalent...

Since the later '30s, the US nickel has been composed of 25% nickel, with the remaining 75% being copper.

During WW2, the US nickels made had about 9% manganese in them, to act as a "filler" metal. The shortage of metals for the war effort made it necessary to put something in the mix.

Good luck !


Mrballeng (author)cook$2011-02-16

Really you can use any coin you want. However, if the coin is one metal sandwiched between another (like the American quarter) you may end up seeing the inner metal if you sand too much.

By the way. Some one on my "VIntage Locket" instructable started up a conversation about UK coins and I have to say you guys have some awesome coinage.

rperki8 (author)cook$2011-02-16

The nickel is made of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The ten pence coin has the same composition.

US Nickel
UK ten pence

guardinggnome (author)2011-02-20

Nice Instructable. I did tried but tweaked it into a necklace. (not ring is act pewter using lost wax method. another instrutable) The ring around the heart is the nickel. thanks so much :)

Mrballeng (author)guardinggnome2011-02-20

Really cool. They're gonna love it.

BrandonZV (author)2011-01-06

Would you ever make one of those pendants and sell one to me? This looks amazing, but I just don't have the time or tools to make one.

Mrballeng (author)BrandonZV2011-01-06

Well, I'm not open for business just yet. If I start I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks for the complement.

BrandonZV (author)Mrballeng2011-02-10

Oh that's to bad, because sadly I don't have the tools, and I don't believe my father does either, to make these things. I just got done looking at your teardrop pendant and fell in love with it, I love things like this. Anyways, tell me if you ever do open for business or just want to sell some.

scoochmaroo (author)2011-02-03

I want these for myself and future husband! It seems like sizing would be haaaard.

Mrballeng (author)scoochmaroo2011-02-04

A while ago my wife's grandmother was taking some old jewely to the second hand store. I took a few pieces and melted them down into a golden blob. I hammered the blob into a disc and made a gold ring. On Christmas morning I found out it was too small.

So. I hammered some more. Polished. And now she wears it all the time. It's not as hard as you'd think.

If you post what sizes your looking for I'll post an instructable on getting a ring just the right size.

The Ninja! (author)2011-02-02

I love the pendent, I'm thinking of making one for my lady friend for valentines day, but I'm not quite sure i understand how to get the loops so small. If you could give a quick run-down or something that'd be awesome, and hopefully I'd be able to make one, i don't have anything too fancy, or jeweler's tools, just a file, hammer, drill and dremel.

Mrballeng (author)The Ninja!2011-02-03

For the benefit of ninjas everywhere I will post an instructable specifically for pendants. But in the mean time and because Valentines Day in creeping up on us, I will post a slide show on that specific pendant and explain with pictures.

theblorg (author)2011-01-07

Oh yeah also, isn't there a legality issue with this? If I do remember so, somewhere in some document it says you can't tamper or alter US currency? I was just wondering

Mrballeng (author)theblorg2011-01-07

Is it illegal to damage or deface coins?

Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code provides criminal penalties for anyone who “fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the Mints of the United States.” This statute means that you may be violating the law if you change the appearance of the coin and fraudulently represent it to be other than the altered coin that it is. As a matter of policy, the U.S. Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent.

PhantomJACK (author)Mrballeng2011-01-20

Yes, it is a felony to deface government currency.

crittergitter (author)Mrballeng2011-01-07

Be that as it may, they don't seem too concerned with all those machines you find at tourist traps that will flatten you coins into some novelty badge.

blumeanie (author)crittergitter2011-01-08

Right it's only illegal if you try and change the coins to be fradulent and pass them off as another coin or form of currency.

All they're saying is if you cut the middle out and make that pendant, its not a nickel anymore and therefore you cannot spend it. Therefore you can use the penny pressers but you cant use your pressed penny to buy anything. So as long as you dont try to spend it nothing will happen

timdgoodpaster (author)2011-01-06

I made one ring and gave it to my wife, then she let my sister see it and I made another, The sister showed it to another sister and I made another and so on.
They all loved it and it never tarnishes.

Mrballeng (author)timdgoodpaster2011-01-06

Did you make it off of this instructable? If so, how'd it go?

timdgoodpaster (author)Mrballeng2011-01-10

I didn't make it from instructable. A man I worked with told me how to do it. The process is much like showen here.

Peter Sanders (author)2011-01-08


Waaaay back in 1967 myself and other apprentices did something similar.

We used the newly introduced (Australian) 50cent coin. This was approx 30mm or 1.25" in diameter. We would hold the coin between our finger and thumb, with the edge resting on an "anvil", something heavy anyway. We then slowly rotated the coin as we hammered the top edge. This of course slowly mushroomed the edge to approx 6mm or .25".

We would then lay the ring flat on the anvil and lightly hammer the mushroomed edges to make them a little thicker. The center would then be drilled out with a reasonably large diameter drill and the remaining internal "edge" was filed away leaving a wide ring.

Nice job with your rings :)



Mrballeng (author)Peter Sanders2011-01-08

Thank you for your comment. As I've read, coin smithing is a dying trade. Especially since silver use in coins has been widely replaced with other metals like bronze, copper,and zinc.

theblorg (author)2011-01-07

How did you make the ring in the last picture? the thicker one.

Mrballeng (author)theblorg2011-01-07

See the second paragraph in step 3.

mhcgusto (author)2011-01-06

Wait so how do we combine 2 or 3 rings? im not sure i can tell from the picture...

Btw that necklace thing with the 3 loops looks awesome im definitely making that next

Mrballeng (author)mhcgusto2011-01-06

To join rings you cut a section out of a large ring. Then you form it into an oval shaped link. The oval shap helps the rings stay stacked on each other. Use cone nose pliers.

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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