Introduction: This Table Cost Pennies....literally

Picture of This Table Cost Pennies....literally

If you've ever wanted a new patio table for pennies, then this instructable is for you!

I was getting ready to throw away an old cheap glass-top patio end table when my wife came up with the idea of covering it in pennies.  Since I really hate to ever throw anything away, it naturally seemed like a good idea.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Picture of Gather Your Supplies

I only needed a few things for this project.  First, was an old, ugly table that happened to have a glass top. 

Second, I used an adhesive that works on non-porous surfaces (I used Goop, but other similar adhesives should be fine).

Third, I didn't count them, but I probably used about $4 worth of pennies.

And finally, I used grout.  I happened across a pre-colored bag of grout that was marked down substantially, so this worked for me.

I also used some cleaner to clean the table, a putty knife to spread the grout, and damp sponges and paper towels to apply and finish the grout.

Step 2: Start Gluing

Picture of Start Gluing

We started at the outside edge of the table to glue down the pennies.  In our particular case we decided to do two rows of "heads," two rows of "tails", etc. 

After gluing down all the pennies, we let the glue cure per the manufacturers recommendation.

Step 3: Add the Grout

Picture of Add the Grout

Once the glue had cured, we applied the grout.  I mixed up a very small batch of grout, mixing it to a fairly stiff consistency.  After mixing, I let it sit for about 20 minutes and mixed again to make sure all the dry ingredients were mixed well.

Since I was doing this part by myself, I wasn't able to photograph the process, but it was pretty simple.  I placed a bit of the grout mixture on the table and forced it into every gap with a plastic putty knife.  After covering all gaps, I then let it sit for about 20 minutes.

Next, I took a damp sponge and begin wiping the grout off the pennies, cleaning the sponge frequently as I progressed.  After cleaning all the grout from the tops of the pennies.  I wiped them down with a dry paper towel.  All that was left was to let the grout cure overnight.

Step 4: Let the Grout Cure

Picture of Let the Grout Cure

This turned out to be a relatively simple and inexpensive way to turn a cheap ugly table into a real conversation piece.

By the way, before anyone feels a need to tell me I violated federal laws by defacing coins, there's no need.  No coins were defaced in any way (not cut, nor drilled, nor anything else).  All the coins are still intact.  No coin was harmed in the making of this table......


Don H. (author)2012-07-29

Actually, it is NOT against the law to 'deface' US money. It is against the law to deface WITH THE INTENT TO DEFRAUD. You can drill, cut, hammer your money to your heart's content as long as you don't try to fool someone into thinking it's something other than what it is.

chandshar (author)Don H.2012-07-30

whilst you own the 'value' of the coins the coins still belong to the state/bank (depending on country)

coretj (author)chandshar2012-07-30

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 Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent.

bettyroug54 (author)coretj2012-07-30

So, what fraud is this author trying to perpetrate upon the American public? I do not see him representing his table as anything other than a table covered with pennies.

You people need to get a life. There is very little value in the metals used in coinage today. One would be hard pressed to even get face value for a coin; as they are no longer made from pure copper, silver and gold.

Knife141, I think your ible is great!

knife141 (author)bettyroug542012-07-31

Thanks, bettyroug54. What I did with the pennies is really no different that taping them to an object, or putting them in a jar and screwing on a lid. They were not defaced in any way, and should someone want to use them as money, all they need to do is pry them off the table and they're back into circulation. I covered this is the last step of my instructable, but apparently some people didn't read that far before they felt a need to find what they considered to be a transgression against the penny. Thanks for your comment.

chocol4te (author)knife1412016-04-22

I love how positively you responded to these negative comments. Lol, people love to make something out of nothing. Love this idea btw. I might just try it. Thanks for sharing!

jangene1 (author)coretj2012-07-31

the key word here is "fraudulently". This "means" you can do what you want just admit that is/was a penny.

tjones29 (author)2012-09-16

I love this. However, I can see my kids trying to dismantle it for ice cream money when the truck rolls by. :D

knife141 (author)tjones292012-09-16

Glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like you might want to use some really strong glue! Thanks for the comment.

mochimaster (author)2012-08-20

That is SO neat! The simplest designs are usually the best! If it wasn't for you, I swear I never would of thought of this unique idea.

Would do a great design for a coffee table too!

Any table, really. In the backyard, in a cool hangout place in a garage or basement, you name it. I was thinking of using a whole combination of coins from around the world too for a table like that as well.

mochimaster (author)mochimaster2012-08-20

AND I totally agree that no infringement of the law is involved with this project.

knife141 (author)mochimaster2012-08-20

Thanks, mochimaster, for the kind words. This was a fairly simple project, and I'm keeping an eye out for another small table -- still have a lot of pennies around!

daylily (author)2012-08-01

This is very cool. I have also seen penny counters and floors (Google it) - also very cool! The gov't is thinking of doing away with the penny anyway because it costs 2 cents to make every one cent! So, have it!! Thanks, knife141.

sup_b (author)2012-08-01

This is such a cool table!!! Can't wait to try it myself. Your instructable is great. :)

knife141 (author)sup_b2012-08-01

Thank you for your kind words! Good luck with your project!

mntbkrguy (author)2012-07-30

Great project, Time to look for a table at a thrift store or in a junk pile!

I like the idea of different finishes, you can buy/make patina solutions to change the colors before or after the project is done, or just wait and see.

mosseltje (author)2012-07-30

Nice :),

I'm gonna copy this some day:)
Since I'm from Europe, I'll do this with cents.

It might be cool to have 2 tabels, one in Euro's the other in Dollars :)
Question: Euro cents are made of copper, so they will turn green after a while, what about Pennies?

chandshar (author)mosseltje2012-07-30

apply an exterior varnish

chandshar (author)mosseltje2012-07-30

why not use the loose change from your holidays along with other momentos like key rings bottle tops anything that way the table would be full of memories

sgoodwin4 (author)2012-07-29

Loving this idea!! I have a table out back that would look awesome with this project! Thanks a bunch for sharing this! And for those of you who are getting caught up in this whole "money defacing" debate, I think the government have more important things to worry about than $4.00 worth of pennies. And, like the author said, he's not defacing anything. In fact, you can think of this as more of a piggy bank, if you will, not unlike putting your coins in one of those folding cardboard things that coin collectors use or a picture frame on your wall. If the government does crack down on him, all he needs to do is break the table top and free the coins.

reikimaster5555 (author)2012-07-29

great idea.I have a small square glass top table that this would work well with.I also have a big jar of pennies too! by this being pennies, compared to say quarters, the theft issue would not be as great.

syates3 (author)2012-07-29

"Whoever 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." Basically if you don't do it to gain money it's pretty much okay. If you do it to commit fraud well then you will have a problem

cowboy1638 (author)2012-07-29

Fantastic use of an old table! One question, please. I noticed you did not butt the pennies against each other. Was there a motive to your madness?

knife141 (author)cowboy16382012-07-29

Actually, they are touching each other. Maybe the angle of the photo is playing tricks.

appletx (author)2012-07-29

Great idea. I am getting ready to refinish a collapsible bar. This might work for a new surface-grouted in and covered with a heavy poly. Was looking for ideas. Thanks!

jcaresheets (author)appletx2012-07-29

I think that if I was going to do this as a bar or something I would spell something out with the pennies. Like get a bunch really weathered pennies (I am sure you could help them along if you do not have a enough) and then put a high polish on most of the pennies and then spell out the word "Bar" or something with the weathered ones being surrounded by the highly polished ones. Just my 2 cents on the idea. (yes that was a play on words.

Now to Knife141. Great job, I love it!

knife141 (author)appletx2012-07-29

I think this would look good on a bar. Good luck with your project!

ironman0104 (author)2012-07-29

You are truly a Jedi Master.

knife141 (author)ironman01042012-07-29

I'm not sure I'm a Jedi Master, but the coins were, in fact, speaking to me...... Thanks for your comment!

onemoroni1 (author)2012-07-29

I think the law is about changing the denomination. I have seen coin jewelry made of all values, cutting the image outline, and mounting it as pendents, ear rings, etc.

knife141 (author)onemoroni12012-07-29

It could very well be changing -- I don't pretend to try to keep up with laws relating to coins & currency. Still, for whatever it's worth, no coins were harmed in the making of my table......

dvivster (author)2012-07-29

So creative and so great looking, Congrats. I will for sure try this myself and will spray paint the table copper verdigris before I start. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

knife141 (author)dvivster2012-07-29

I actually did a smaller table first, but since the top didn't have a lip around the edge I spray painted it with a metallic copper first, since a bit of the table's edge would show. It looked pretty good with the copper. I was going to use the same paint on the table I published, but since all of our other patio furniture was black I decided to stay with black. Good luck on your project!

deegee3 (author)2012-07-29

This is simply brilliiant. I loved the aged look of the coins as is. At first I thought this was a mosaic piece because of the variation in the colours. It think you took a utilitarian piece of furniture and turned it into something that has a cool art piece vibe. I am e-mailing this to a friend of mine who runs a mosaic guild in Istanbul. She will go wild for this. Thanks for sharing!

knife141 (author)deegee32012-07-29

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for sharing this with your friend!

chefmichel (author)2012-07-28

Good idea, great instructable, now you have a "collectible" table.

knife141 (author)chefmichel2012-07-28

It will always be worth at least the face value of the pennies!

rimar2000 (author)2012-07-26

Maybe you can easily to polish the pennies, it would be nice.

knife141 (author)rimar20002012-07-26

I suppose Ai could polish them, but that sounds too much like work!

godofal (author)knife1412012-07-28

coca cola is a good way to clean coins just let them soak for a while, and they get out good as new
easiest would have been to do that before you glued them to the table, but that's impossible now :)
what i think might be the best way right now is to cover all the pennies in several layers of paper towels, and then soaking those towels in coca cola

actually, i just googled it, and aparantly ketchup works even better

knife141 (author)godofal2012-07-28

I could have polished them, but I actually like the patina of unpolished coins better. Thanks for your comment.

thematthatter (author)2012-07-28

cool idea looks like you even increased the value by $2.35 of the table.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-07-25

Awesome! I love that look :)

Tthanks for your comment!

fity (author)2012-07-26

Very cool,but wouldnt the long arm of the gov'ment frown on this? Pennies are the foundation of our economy,right?

knife141 (author)fity2012-07-26

Read the last step.

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric ... More »
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