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When I was a kid I spent a lot of weekends with my Mimmie and Poppa (grandparents). My Mimmie worked in a dry cleaners and it was open on Saturdays. If both Mimmie and Poppa had to work I went to the cleaners. But Mimmie had to be there early in the morning, before the sun even came out. So she’d dress me and put me in the back of her car where I would sleep and slide all over the vinyl backseat until we got there.

Penny Jewelry (DIY) Dream a Little Bigger

Even though my day started uncomfortably early, this was a lot of fun for a few reasons:

  1. old fashioned calculator that spit out paper
  2. tag attacher gun
  3. played big boss in a squishy leather chair in the empty big boss’ office
  4. got driven around in a big canvas cart used to move the clothes around
  5. the lady on the pants press that was addicted to candy

The lady that was addicted to candy was also very generous. We would walk past the car wash, past the snow cone stand to 7-11. She would get a paper bag and we’d fill it with penny candy. It took forever to pay because the cashier would have to count out every little Tootsie Roll Midget, every Atomic Fireball and every Fortune Bubble Gum. And though they called it a penny candy bag, some cost a whopping quarter.

When we got back we’d sit at the table at the back with it’s padded vinyl chairs and just. eat. candy.

So when I noticed a trend in coin jewelry and since I’ve never been abroad to make a necklace with foreign change, I thought I’d make a penny bracelet.

For this project you will need:

Penny Jewelry (DIY) Dream a Little Bigger

First you’ll need to gather pennies and drill two  holes in them. I wanted mine to all be the same so one hole was drilled behind Abe’s head and the other in front of his face. Use a flat edge like on a screwdriver to knock off any curled pieces of metal that linger around the drilled hole.

Also, stick with fairly new pennies. I had a hard time getting the sharp metal bits off of any pennies from the 70s and wound up leaving them behind.

Here they are! But they’re not very pretty…

Penny Jewelry (DIY) Dream a Little Bigger

Make a scrub out of white vinegar and baking soda. Remember that when you mix the two it bubbles up so you may want to mix it over the kitchen sink.

Make a juicy paste, rub it on the pennies and let it sit a few minutes. Come back with an old toothbrush and give ’em a scrub. The penny on the left and the right are the same penny. Crazy, huh?

Penny Jewelry (DIY) Dream a Little Bigger

Take your jump rings and attach one to the left and one to the right of each of you 7 pennies.

Next take a jump ring to connect the pennies together.

Penny Jewelry (DIY) Dream a Little Bigger

Continue connecting and then add your clasp to one end and an extra jump ring on the other.

Penny Jewelry (DIY) Dream a Little Bigger

Try your bracelet on and be sure it fits, add a few jump rings to the end if needed.

Penny Jewelry (DIY) Dream a Little Bigger

If you already have copper findings, this project will cost you seven cents. Pretty crazy, huh? Happiest of Fridays!!!

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  1. Martin Dearden says:

    Hi there thanks for the tip I have just won three hundred pennies on eBay for 5 dollars and have been looking for ideas to make jewlery from them, this is going to help me start making things thanks.

  2. I really love your tutorial. Did you have trouble with the pennies slipping when you drilled them? My metal always skitters unless I dimple it with a giant nail.

    1. To be honest it’s been a while but I don’t remember having any trouble. It might be because I use a dinky AA battery operated jobbie that doesn’t have much torque :) Dinging it with a nail sounds like a good idea and I’d keep on if that’s working for you!

  3. I plan on making this bracelet with pennies with the dates of my kids and grandkids birthdates, mine and husbands birthdates and wedding date.

  4. Just out of curiosity, how much of the vinegar and baking soda did you use? Was it an exact measurement or just a little bit of each?

    1. It was just a little bit of each. You want it to be wet but still abrasive.

  5. I love this idea. When my husband was alive he used to tease me and tell me that the five gallon penny jar that we were filling was what I was going to have to live on after he died. Maybe I’ll just have to make and sell the bracelets.

  6. Clear fingernail polish is also a good sealer for jewelry that turns your skin green! :)

  7. Not to be a downer, but i thought defacing money is illegal.

  8. Allison Murray says:

    That is just about the neatest thing, Genny! I had meant to Google it because I knew there had to be an explanation. You are one smart lady :)

  9. The reason that the 70's pennies are harder to drill into is this: These old pennies are made of actual full-on copper, while the newer ones are made of zinc. And unlike copper, zinc can actually break if it gets cold enough. Just a little history I knew and thought was interesting. ;)

  10. Allison Murray says:

    Thanks, Melony! The newer pennies were no problem (90s on). The pennies from the 70s were a bit more dense or something. The bit used was just an everyday one out of one of those value sets.

  11. Is it difficult to drill through the coins? Did you use a special bit? I love the bracelet!

  12. Even better, get a penny or two from several countries and make up a set with earrings ~ it's like a world tour for pennies ;)

  13. Allison Murray says:

    That is an excellent idea, Tara!

  14. Tanya, why not find someone to trade pennies with? I mean, you could offer them things like papers or stickers or whatever [just thinking off the top of my head], and they could send you pennies :)

  15. Allison Murray says:

    Ack, that is crazy, Tanya!

  16. that is super cute. Pennies (or 1 cent pieces) aren't in circulation in Australia anymore, I just had a look on ebay and it will set me back $4 for every 1cent!

    1. Tanya, If I knew where to send, I would send you lots of pennies….no charge, unless like over $100.oo…..he he he :) from the U.S.A

  17. Allison Murray says:

    Hey, Miranda if your bracelet is reacting to your skin, I'd give it a really good clean like I did in the post. Then seal that sucker up with polyurethane or any other sealer that dries clear. I have to do the same with cheap jewelry or it'll turn my skin green!

  18. That's the first I heard about the penny. The only thing I could find in a Google search was that the Canadian penny is being retired. Do you think it's true?
    But my real question is… did you do anything special to your bracelet to keep it from reacting with your skin? I bought one very much like this on vacation last year, and I love it, but I can't wear it because it smells terrible after it's sat on my wrist for a few hours. :/

  19. Allison Murray says:

    I'd heard that, Tara. I guess this was an accidental good timing for this post :)

  20. I love this :D In Canada, the penny is being phased out and soon will not be found in our change, so this is a great project!

  21. Allison Murray says:

    Thanks, Trudy! If you know a bank teller you should definitely make her one :)

  22. Such a cute idea! Wouldn't it be a fun gift for a friend who is a bank teller? :)