Looking for some home improvement, decor, or craft projects that cost just pennies? With the name of this blog, I had to post about this trend in the “Maker Culture,” also known as do-it-yourselfers. I love the penny floor, but I think I’ll try some smaller projects first! It seems a penny covered bowling ball is a hot project in garden decor these days.
|Garden Penny Ball|
1. It’s fairly easy to cover an old bowling ball with pennies, definitely not as difficult as mosaic bowling balls. Display a penny ball in your landscaping as an objet d’art that might also kill slugs because of the copper content. The pennies will gradually oxidize to a verdigris that many people like. If you want the verdigris look sooner, I hear you can spray it with a very dilute solution of Epsom salts and water. You can often find old bowling balls on Craigslist or at garage sales. It’s a fun way to recycle them and they are not likely to blow away during a storm.
2. An easy way to try out this look is to tile a small table with pennies on the top. This could be a fun update to a small table you use outdoors. If that goes well and you like the look, you might like to try larger surfaces. This is also a way to try the verdigris look or to see how a clear sealer looks.
3. A penny tiled bird bath could be really nice, especially in a verdigris finish. Even just a large terra cotta saucer could be tiled in pennies for a very pretty bird bath. You can intersperse a few craft marbles with the pennies for added interest. I could see some aqua and green colored craft marbles looking nice in this, especially with water over them.
4. How about a flower pot covered in pennies? This could look nice in the verdigris finish. Cluster several of these copper covered pots in various sizes for an attractive vignette.
|Attractive Penny Floor|
5. A copper penny floor has a rich look, in my opinion. This could look nice as a bathroom floor. It’s a bit time-consuming, but your floor will cost just pennies per foot! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Prep the floor with backerboard as you would for a ceramic tile floor.
6. Tile your shower or bath enclosure with pennies for a luxury look. You’ll need to use all the usual wall preparation, like backerboard, as you would for using ceramic tile. Ask at your local home improvement store for details.
|Penny Accent Wall|
7. Tile a backsplash in pennies? I think it might look nice in a small bar area, especially if it’s a bar set up in a closet or other alcove. Again, prep the wall as you would for ceramic tile with backerboard. You can also make a penny wall as an accent wall. This looks best on small wall sections in my opinion. Here’s a tutorial at Lucy Wants More for a penny wall using Liquid Nails. They glued the pennies to a piece of plywood laid flat horizontally. When the glue was dry they attached the wood to the wall. It looks really nice, I think.
8. Try this on a bar top for a smaller area, but with great impact. You have the advantage of working on a horizontal surface without the backache. The sealer makes this waterproof and easy to clean. It’s also a lot cheaper than covering a larger surface.
I’ve written before that pennies might be phased out eventually. That’s because they cost more to
manufacture than they are worth by face value. If you tile with pennies you are getting extra value! And if they are discontinued, these penny projects could become even more valuable!
Be sure to use an adhesive appropriate to where you will be using the penny “tiles.” Whatever you would use for ceramic tiles for a particular placement and conditions should be used for the pennies. Tile adhesive, 100% silicone E6000, or liquid nails could work for items that will remain outdoors. In case you are wondering, there are 304 pennies in a square foot, more than I would have guessed.
Ashley at Domestic Imperfection covered her kitchen bar with pennies to get a really great look. She got pennies at the bank and picked out the ones that were the brightest to use. She used epoxy to cover the pennies which were not glued down first. It worked great! Only problem was the second coat of epoxy. That made a wavy surface. Her advice: use one thick layer of epoxy and call it done. Click here to see this project. Great job Ashley!
CAUTIONS AND DISCLAIMERS: I’ve read that this is not a totally cheap project even though you are using pennies. The adhesives and the top sealer add a lot to the cost. It will cost about the same as using the average priced ceramic tile. Also, most sealers give a very smooth surface that can be slippery when wet–a safety problem in bathrooms, and somewhat of a problem in kitchens. Choose your project with that in mind. Also if you ever intend to sell your home, this treatment might not be to the taste of future buyers. You might have to remove it or cover it over in order to sell. Think about installations that you can remove easily or cover easily. Finally, this is a very time consuming project. I read of a kitchen floor that took 128 man-hours of work. That’s a serious chunk or time, not to mention patience and backache. Be sure to research this online before starting one of these projects. Personally, I’d try a small project first, like a small table top. A table is portable and you can sit to work on it!
Would you try one of these projects? It’s similar to mosaic, but you can get your materials at your local bank!