Introduction: Wood and Penny Ring W/ Pallet Box

Picture of Wood and Penny Ring W/ Pallet Box

I love making rings. It's so rewarding to make a beautiful piece and then see the reaction you get when you give it to someone you love. When I saw the ring contest I knew I wanted to do something different than I have done before. I have been making bent wood rings for a while and I love how they turn out, but I wanted to try something new.

So I came up with this idea to make a ring out of a penny and then wrap it in wood. It sounds like a great idea. Then I went to find some examples. To my surprise I couldn't really find any rings made out of a penny, at least not how I wanted to make them. So I tried it myself, and now I know why I couldn't find any.

Turns out, penny rings are not super easy to make. I broke quite a few before to found out how to do it correctly. Now that it's done, I am so thankful that I stuck with it. It turned out beautifully and I can say that my wife has a ring made from a penny. Thanks for looking and enjoy.

Disclaimer: a lot of people think that this project would be defacing public property. Just to be clear this is covered in 18 USC 331. It says that whoever fraudulently alters coins is guilty of a crime. The key word there is "fraudulently." If you alter a coin with the intent of defrauding somebody, you're guilty of a crime. If you alter or destroy a coin you own for reasons other than committing fraud, then you're just wasting money.

Step 1: What You Need

Wood veneer

Super glue

A penny

Large punch

Painters tape

A deep well socket


1/2 pcv


Pallet scraps

Miter saw

Wood glue

Drill press

Fostner bits

Step 2: The Penny

Picture of The Penny

You want to make sure that you have a penny that is a 1982 or older. These pennies are still all copper. I tried and tried with a newer penny but it broke on every occasion.
First I used a drill press to drill a small hole in the center of the penny. Then grab it with a pair of pliers and start to heat it up with a small torch. You must do this step if you don't want your penny to break.
When it is nice and hot, insert a punch into the hole of the penny and place the pvc over the penny and start to hit with the hammer.
You want to take this step slow. Hit the top of the pvc a few times, stop, heat it with the torch again and repeat the process.
When the penny is curved over about half way, carefully remove it from the punch and put it back on the opposite way. Heat again and hit with the pvc. When the ring is flat, remove it from the punch and start to shape.

Step 3: Shape the Penny

Picture of Shape the Penny

When you have your ring to the appropriate size, it is time to sand. After this stretching process the ring does not look too good, but have no fear. With a little sanding it will look good as new. I used a bench sander but regular sand paper will work, it may just take a little longer.
First you want to sand the top of the ring so you have a smooth surface to place your veneer on. Make sure that if you are using a power sander that you don't stay is one spot too long. You may make a thin spot on the band or worse yet sand right through it. Once you get the top flat you can move to the sides.
Again, I used the bench sander for this step but you could very well use a piece of sandpaper on a hard surface and lay the ring in the side. Make sure that the band is even all the way around and it is on to the wood.

Step 4: Prep the Wood

Picture of Prep the Wood

I get my wood veneer from woodcraft. You can buy a variety pack for about $35 and it has lasted me a very long time. Use a straight edge and a razor blade to cut the veneer. The key to cutting this is just a little pressure and multiple passes.
Once you have the veneer cut, you have to soak the wood to make it pliable. Boil some water and get the strips ready. I use a fork to hold down the strips of the veneer so they don't float to the top. Keep the strips in the water for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the strips out and wrap them a round A deep well socket. You want to wrap very slowly so you don't crack the surface of the veneer. Wrap painters tape around the veneer so it stays rolled.
Let that dry for around two hours and you are ready for wrapping.

Step 5: Wrap the Copper

Picture of Wrap the Copper

Before you start to wrap the ring, be sure that you sand down one edge of the strip very thin. This will prevent a bulge where you started to wrap. place a couple drops of super glue on the sanded side of the strip and place it on the copper ring. Hold for about 10 seconds to make sure that it's stuck.
As soon as you are sure that it is stuck to the copper, you can start to wrap the rest of the ring. Place a couple drops of superglue and slowly start to wrap the veneer around. You will get some sticky fingers from doing this but it happens. Just try not to glue your fingers to each other or to the ring.
For this ring I wanted the band to be a little thicker so I wrapped the veneer around the ring 3 times. When you have all of the wood on the ring, cut the excess off and you can start to sand.

Step 6: Sanding and More Sanding

Picture of Sanding and More Sanding

Start by sanding the edge of the ring so it is the same diameter as the copper. You can use a bench sander or lay it flat on a piece of sand paper. Once the sides are sanded down, you can start on the top.
The glueing process may have left some humps or bumps in the surface of the ring, so this is the time to even those out. Sand for a short time and then check your ring to make sure that the band is even all the way around.
When everything looks even around the ring, you can start to shape the wood. Carefully sand the edges of the ring until you have your desired shape. After that, start hand sanding from 100 to 600 grit. You want to take this process slow. Make sure that the surface is as smooth as you want it and you can spray it with poly, and be done with your beautiful ring.

Step 7: Poly and Finish

Picture of Poly and Finish

I use minwax gloss polyurethane spray. There are a lot of different choices when it comes to finishing a ring but this one works very well for me. I usually put 3 coats on about 2 hour apart from each other. Lightly sand in between and you will have a finish that is like glass.

Step 8: The Pallet Box

Picture of The Pallet Box

If you have looked at some of my other instructables, you know that I love to use pallets. They are free and beautiful, and I love reusing something that would have been tossed away.
I had a bunch of pallet scraps from some of my other projects. They had already been planed so I didn't have to go though that step. I glued 5 pieces of pallet together and lined up two of the sides. I put them in order so the different colors would contrast with each other. After gluing I took them to the miter saw.

Step 9: Cut the Box

Picture of Cut the Box

I cut the boards so there was a clean cut on all sides. After you have the size box that you want, use a 3/8 drill bit to drill the hole for the wood dowel. Then you can cut for the lid. I cut about 3/4 in off for the lid. After the lid is off, I used a 1 3/8 fostner bit to drill out the center of the box for the ring.
When all that is done, put the box together and insert the dowel, cut it to size and the box is done. Give it a spray with the same poly that you used for the ring and you're good to go.

Step 10: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

This was such a fun project! I learned how to do something new and had a blast. The penny was a bit of a challenge but it was totally worth it in the end. Not everyone can say they have a ring made from a penny. Thank you so much for looking at my ring, hope you have a great time trying this one out.


Brokk Hrafnsson (author)2018-01-13

Wow, your work is phenomenal! It's clever how you figured out how to use older rings, and I've wanted to get into Ring-craft myself (One Ring to rule them, you know)

eireecorings made it! (author)2015-07-27

Hi, Nice job,

some interesting Tips!

I have been making similar rings for my Etsy store since 2012 I don't actually use the bentwood laminate method " perhaps I should give it a try" I use a variety recycled reclaimed solid wood

LaurentP21 (author)eireecorings2017-04-24

Just Wow!

And you should definitely post an instructable on your rings!

You have done some beautiful work! I will have to try the soild wood next. Thanks for the comment

buck2217 (author)2015-06-30

That is really nice Great Job

Glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment

glangley made it! (author)2015-04-20

This was a very nice and easy project to do. I made a ring box though out of some left over firewood. It turned out really beautiful.

What a fantastic job!! It looks great and I love the box. Glad you like the project

doug1074 made it! (author)2015-03-24

My first attempt at this. I made a matching set for my wife and I. They are thinner width wise than yours. I think due to the fact that the punch I used as a mandrel was a bit large at its small end so the hole had to be bigger to start. Less material=thinner ring. I also didn't use the same wood veneer as I was in a hurry :-) I took popsicle sticks and sanded them down to about 1/2 their original thickness and then soaked them and bent them. I used super glue to attach them at the start and then wood glue for the rest. After some sanding I added some walnut wood stain. I still need to sand a bit more and add poly as they're still a bit rough. Thanks for the project idea~!

I love your rings! You did a great job and it is incredibly flattering that someone tried this project. Thanks for making my day

snoopindaweb (author)2015-02-25

A key ring won't turn Your fingers green. ~(:-})

NerillDPN (author)2015-02-24

Nice project. The penny/wood combo is genius: strong AND attractive. The gift box would make it a treasured gift.

It appears you have considerable experience with many projects including rings and materials to make them. I want to begin a wood ring from veneer and checked many Instructables who mostly seem to use CA (super) glue. The only reason I've see so far for using it is strength and possibly speed of curing. But, are there any advantages for plain clear wood glue: it would seem to be a little more forgiving from a 'time-to-apply' point of view as well as not giving one a sticky-finger problem. When cured, wood glue is very strong, easily sanded and takes finishes well. Unless there is an overwhelming reason to use CA glue, is wood glue a good/reasonable alternative?

Thanks for putting up your Instructable. It's well written, good graphics and easily understood. Well done.

I think wood glue would be a fantastic substitute if... And this is a big if... If the drying time was shorter. I agree that it would be easier to sand and varnish but the down fall is keeping the veneer together while drying. When you are using CA glue it almost instantly bonds the veneer together. This is important because the key to a beautiful wood ring it the tightness of the layers of veneer. If you have a space between the layers it will collect dirt and grime and eventually start to crack( it's happened to me). If you are able to make this work, please let me know because I would love to try it, but in my personal opinion CA glue is the way to go. Thanks for the awesome comment

Thanks for your thoughts, I was thinking of using something like this to keep it together until dry:

I figured I would just need to keep the roll tight as I glued with the clamp set close to the end size so the ring wouldn't have space to unravel while putting it on. Anyway, I'll give it a try and let you know. Good luck with the contests!

NerillDPN (author)NerillDPN2015-02-24

OOPS. Looks like my picture didn't make it to my response. So...

afrancis20 (author)2015-02-24

that book you lay the ring on looks nice, could I get some more info about it, or atleast some pictures please?

you bet... The book in question is called The Suffering Savior. Copyright in 1878. It's pretty cool, I love old books

Grafx4Life (author)2015-02-24

I found this interesting because of the bix. I LOVE boxes and want to get into making them and this looks like an interesting technique. I hope I can find smooth pallets!

Smooth pallets are very hard to find but surface planers are not. It is my most valuable tool when it comes to working with pallets. Glad you liked the box and I would love to see yours when you get one made!!

ted.hsiung (author)2015-02-24

Nice! Is it possible to preserve the evidence of the penny? By not sending the inside surface of the copper?

You can definitely leave evidence of the penny. I chose to do it this way because I wanted a silky smooth surface so it would be comfortable for my wife but You can leave the writing if you choose. You will want to be careful when getting the penny drilled and stretched. Copper is a soft metal and it gets gnarled up easily. I think it would look very cool if the markings were still there!

afrancis20 (author)2015-02-24

that book you lay the ring on looks nice, could I get some more info about it, or atleast some pictures please?

afrancis20 (author)2015-02-24

that book you lay the ring on looks nice, could I get some more info about it, or atleast some pictures please?

Skwurlito (author)2015-02-22

you have my vote for the ring challenge.

Thank you for the vote!! I set out to make something different than I had done before and this was definitely different... Glad you liked it

The Rambler (author)2015-02-24

This is awesome. I loved the mixed materials look. The wood and copper set each other off really well. Great job.

Thank you so much! I really liked the contrast too

JonGoku (author)2015-02-20

A question and a tip. First the question. Would it be easier to use copper pipe instead of a penny for the core, assuming you could stretch it to the perfect ring size with heat and a few taps?

Tip: When working with CA (Cyanoacrylates) you can protect your fingers by wrapping some normal packing tape around them. The release agent on the back of the tape prevents the CA from sticking. It does come with a slight reduction in tactile sensory but not dealing with glued together fingers, or having to sand skin off of whatever your working on is a definite plus. I typically just just wrap the thumb and either the index and/or middle finger. HTH

ClenseYourPallet (author)JonGoku2015-02-20

Thanks for the advice on the sticky fingers! I will definitely try that out next time. As far as the copper pipe goes, that would be 1000% easier. The only problem is if you do that you won't have a coin ring. If you take a look at some of my other projects you will see that usually make things harder than they have to be. But I do that because I enjoy the challenge of making something out of something unusual. Thanks for the great comment

JonGoku (author)ClenseYourPallet2015-02-20

Glad you liked the tip for saving tips :)

Point taken regarding the fun factor of making something from unusual items. The beauty in such projects to me though is leaving a hint of the original item behind so it can be noticed and appreciated for what it was and the craftsmanship that went into giving it its new form. For this project though since the penny is no longer identifiable as a penny, I feel the time and effort you spent in converting it are lost to your audience, and therefore it might as well me made it from something easier to manage. Of course if we are only talking about a short amount of time, the difference in effort really doesn't matter much, and the coolness factor and conversation starter is a definite plus. FWIW, how much time was just spent in shaping the penny?

And for the record, I'm not hating on your ible at all! Per your note, I checked out your other ibles and realized I'd actually already read your kids pallet workbench one previously and can say without a doubt, you've got skills! Well written ibles, nifty, and great concentration to detail. Keep them coming!

ClenseYourPallet (author)JonGoku2015-02-20

Not to worry, I can tell that you are not hating. The great thing is that we don't have to agree on the best way to complete a piece. That is one reason this site is so great. There are so many wonderful ideas that we can take from to make something that really speaks to us.To me, it's not what you make but rather how you made it.

As for how long to took me to shape the penny... It was about 15 mins. After I learned the correct way to do it. Thanks

JonGoku (author)ClenseYourPallet2015-02-20

Well in that case, hands down I think the penny beats the pipe. Given the penny is far more readily available, and probably only takes an additional 10 minutes more to work than the pipe idea. I'd have to say 10 min of toil and fun is well worth the additional conversations that may follow. Thanks!

dragonslug (author)2015-02-20

Does this flipping of the penny work on other coins. E.x. quarters

You can do this with other coins. Search for double sided coin ring to get a get instructable on a quarter ring. Thanks for looking

bruce5000 (author)2015-02-20

i do like these post a lot good work id like to ask can you tell me were to order

Wood veneer the only veneer i know of is 1.8 ore thicker ?

manifestloveny (author)bruce50002015-02-20 is a wood working website/store and they sell veneer there. I made a similar ring and the the veneer I used is 2/83" think. Here's the link to that one

Glad you liked the ring. I get my veneer from Just type veneer sample into the search and it will come right up. If you don't want that quantity, you can also buy individual sheets on that site. Good luck with your ring!!

bulldawg13 (author)2015-02-20

Just a little tip with super glue and wood normal super glue won't work well cause wood has pores use a gel based super glue it would work better

adenda2 (author)2015-02-20

Nice work! I love the penny, and how you turnet it out sideways.

ClenseYourPallet (author)adenda22015-02-20

the penny turned sideways was really cool... Really hard but totally worth it. I say go for it and thanks for looking

Enriquethefieldmouse (author)2015-02-19

Beautiful work.

thank you so much!

Skwurlito (author)2015-02-20

Randomly saw the photo and part of the title in the suggestions. Asked myself "What the bleep?" clicked the pic. Glad I did. while this project isn't for me, this ring looks amazing and quite unique. Good job sir.

I'm glad you clicked too! It was a fun and interesting project! Thanks for the interest!!

00rag (author)2015-02-20

I am making a box for my soon to be fiance's ring, and I am just wondering how you stood the ring up in the box after drilling the hole

ClenseYourPallet (author)00rag2015-02-20

sorry I didn't explain that better... If you look at the first ring that I did, it goes through the steps. Basically I used two cotton balls, and wraped them in, an old t-shirt for the fist box and some fake leather from a purse for the second. I secured the fabric around the cotton ball with super glue then stuffed the two in the hole and placed the ring in between. It was super easy and works really well. Congrats on the upcoming proposal!! Way to go making your own box

haxial (author)2015-02-19

This is a really great idea, and turned out very nice. I am also into old books, pray tell which one is in the pictures? Thanks again for sharing the great ible.

ClenseYourPallet (author)haxial2015-02-19

Thanks for the kind words... The book in question is called The Suffering Savior. Copyright in 1878. It's pretty cool

About This Instructable




Bio: My Grandpa got me into wood working when I was five years old. Ever since then I have been hooked. I love creating something out ... More »
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