I started making this table last year after seeing the penny desk that Epbot made. I have to say, it certainly inspired me to get back into what I love doing.

And now we have my latest creation....

Let me know what you think :~)

Step 1: Let's Get Started :~)

You will need some materials to get started:

* table legs
* epoxy
* pennies
* 3/4" melamine or MDF (23" W  X  31" L )
* trim
* white glue
* Q-tips
* CLR cleaner
* plumbers torch

I happened to get this bar table for free. The legs were powder coated an ugly brown. I removed the coating from the legs with a grinder with an attached paint removal disk. If you don't have a grinder (noisy and creates a LOT of dust) you can use paint stripper.

Clean the pennies using CLR - but be careful: after 1998 (if not mistaken) the pennies were only copper PLATED. If you leave them in the cleanser for too long, they will turn kind of a rose colour.

For convenience, I used white melamine for the table backer - but next time I will just paint some MDF. Paint will be brighter and show better. I cut the melamine to the size I was after and was ready to lay down some pennies!!

Step 2: My 2 Cents

Ok, so after a few days of glueing down all 1470 pennies, I realized I made a mistake.

* You should lay out a horizontal and vertical row of pennies and get a measurement first *

If you don't, you will arrive at the problem you see in the pics. I didn't measure before hand and now the melamine is too wide. If you try to cut it after the fact - it will be difficult and dangerous because you will pop pennies off as you try to cut. You will also damage your saw blade. It can be done - but it is tricky. Try to avoid this mistake.

The other issue was on the ends. As you can see, the pennies go over the edge. I chose to cut each penny with a Dremel tool and a thin cut-off wheel. Make sure you wear you safety glasses. Use pliers to hold onto the penny while cutting cuz it gets hot!

Now you can measure and cut your trim pieces, then paint them. The trim I used had a 90 degree profile and was purchased at the Home Depot. The great thing about this trim: when I had attached it to my work - the surface of the pennies were flush with the top of the trim. This is good for when you epoxy because it will flow easily right over the edge.

Step 3: Epoxy Time

The best thing to do when using epoxy is to heat it up! It flows much easier and allows it to level out nicely.

After you've poured, wait 15mins. for bubbles to come to the surface. Using a plumbers torch you run the flame over the whole board to get rid of the bubbles. Be careful not to keep it in one place too long or it will burn the epoxy. Keep it moving and at minimum 6" from the surface.

Let the table sit for another 15mins. then go back and give it one more pass with the torch. Use a small paint brush to wipe away any drips hanging off the lower edges. Wait at least 4-7 days for the epoxy to fully harden.

I did 3 separate coats of epoxy on this table top.

Step 4:

Look what I found on the table.....a 1932 Canadian penny. Table just went up about $5 :~)

Here is the finished product:

Let me know what you think and please vote for me in the Woodworking Contest.


Craig Arges


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89 Discussions


1 year ago


Clean Pennies: 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1-3 tsp salt, A few unshiny pennies, Non-metal bowl, Paper towels. Pour vinegar into the bowl & add salt, stir. Put about 5 pennies into the bowl for 10 sec. Take out pennies and rinse in water.

Hydrogen Peroxide will take a bright penny and darken it like an old penny. It will also clean dirt or organic material off coins & it sometimes loosens encrustations.


2 years ago

very cool


2 years ago

:) Jackson Hole, Silver Dollar Bar :)


2 years ago

For US pennies, everything after 1982 is zinc plated with copper. Funny to see that you Canadians also have us coins mixed in like we have yours XD

Nice Ible, overall!


2 years ago

Souvenir makers have been placing coins in blocks of hardened epoxy for about 45 years. The coins so far appear to not react with their environment and can still be clearly seen. Sandwiching pennies between plexiglass (as discussed in comments) opens the door to atmospheric reaction of the pennies to the surrounding environment producing an effect that's likely unwanted. In the years to come, these tables and items will likely grow in value--make sure you keep the engraved dates "up" and visible--unless you want to drive a coin-collector nuts.


2 years ago

I love the table. Thanks for sharing and the tips mentioned what to avoid.

Using the pennies to cover the top of the table is on my 'to do' list. I have a table that is sitting in the basement waiting for me to do something like this.

* You mentioned 3 separate coat of epoxy. May I ask how much epoxy did you use to create this table?

* Did you let the epoxy run over the side (walls)? In other words, does this table has epoxy on all 4 sides as well as the top? I can't tell from the photos.

* If you apply epoxy on the top (over the pennies) only, how did you manage to stop epoxy not running over? I have a couple of projects using epoxy and it is very difficult to control epoxy.

* Can you share what epoxy (brand name) did you use? I have used 3 different brand name epoxy in the past. Even though I measured and used exactly as directed, but some stay sticky for a long time.

Attached photo is one of my past project using epoxy and it took 5 coats to finished. Not because it needs 5 coats, I recoat epoxy because epoxy didn't dry. Finally, the last coat of epoxy dried completely without any stickiness.

I regret not taking a step by step photos of this project before, during and finished.

piano to server.JPG

2 years ago

Good job Craig. Lots of tedious work but well worth it.


2 years ago

Yay canadian made... but where do you get all them penies now that they are retired?


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Damn it! Im going to have to take that up with my quality control dept.

It was obviously a mistake that I made - thanks for pointing that out......kinda.

I didn't even see it to tell you the truth. I think what had happened was when I was trimming down the board after making it too big - I hit some of the pennies with my saw blade, popping some off. In a haste to replace them, I probably put it on without thinking. :~)


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

don't beat yourself up about it, I really like it! I likened it to the work of the masters, or architecture, where in some minds that perfection is divine so we as humans can not truly achieve it.

Years ago, and I still remember, I was on a tour of some sort for college at a large public library where we were studying architecture/perspective drawing. The sides of the main staircase were lined with small pillars which formed the side rails and the instructor pointed out that of these numerous pillars the second to last one at the top on one side was... upside down for the very reason I mentioned above. :)

And if anyone asks, it was all part of the plan ;)


Reply 3 years ago

I had some friends do a bar top with beer bottle caps and I was lucky enough to end up with it in my game room. The bar is about six feet long and three feet wide. In this expanse there are beer caps from all over the world, a coupla patterns that emerge if you look for them and...wait for it...a single non alcoholic root beer. The challenge to visitors is to find the root beer cap. Usually takes at least five minutes.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Well it looks as though I've had one of those Marty McFly moments: all the Canadian ones were shown with the maple leafs up and the US ones were kept with their main faces showing up as well eg: Lincoln etc. Having the faces showing was the goal regardless of where the penny came from.

Thank you for the nice compliment "likening it to the work of the masters".

Gee, I thought it was because the States and Canada always have each others backs:) After all, we're both in North America:)


5 years ago

what kind of epoxy did you use? the shine on it is amazing! I would love to attempt this!