How to Make Pressed Copper Penny Wind Chimes

6 Materials
1 Day
Medium

Whether you want to invest a lot of time and materials, or create a simple project with only a few items, this tutorial will provide the how-to, you provide the creativity and a few supplies.
(Be sure to click the video in this tutorial to hear how dainty and delicate the chime sounds.)
A basic, lightweight, dainty chime can be assembled and hung the same day. Grab a few handfuls of pennies, some fishing line, a stick, and a drill bit. The rest is up to you. Add beads, sparkling things, copper adornments, these are just a few ideas. Although the pennies do not have to be pressed, they do make a lovely sound. They can otherwise simply be drilled, and suspended.
Come along, and let’s have fun while making a quick treasure for the garden, front porch, deck, or window. Hang one from a limb of a tree in your backyard, front yard, or both. Make them as gifts. Start now, and by the time the holidays arrive, you'll have plenty to give away.
Easy to Make Copper Penny Wind Chimes
Using 45 copper pennies (dated 1962-1982 for higher copper content / better sound) that had been pressed upon a railroad track, I drilled holes in each of them, then strung them with fishing line hanging from a piece of driftwood, adding pretty little beads along the way. The result is a dainty chime with a delicate ring when a breeze comes along.
I am not suggesting you should run to the train tracks and start laying pennies. In fact, these pennies were pressed years ago on my way to and from work. I decided they had been sitting around for too long, and put them to use.
To address the concerns that some have about a train derailing because of a penny, please visit Snopes.com
http://www.snopes.com/science/train.asp to dispel the rumor.
No train, no problem, you can actually press your own pennies with a sledgehammer and an anvil. Trust me, if I can do it, you can, too.
Also consider using elongated pennies, the unique, oval pennies that are embossed in a mechanical press. A great way to save those precious mementos of your trip to the zoo, national park, etc.
Beads - Less is more
Although optional, including beads and baubles will work wonders to add personality to your chime. Keep in mind, the more beads you add, the heavier the strands will be, which will require additional wind force to create sound. Crimping beads are a great help, which will eliminate the need for ugly knots in your chime.
Driftwood makes an excellent support beam!
Using a piece of driftwood, a stick, a length of bamboo, or any sturdy piece of material to support the pennies, drill holes along the stick. In these holes will hang the fishing line with copper pennies, so be sure to space them close enough to strike one another in a breeze. It is a good idea to protect the chime from outdoor elements by brushing or spraying on a few coats of polyurethane.
Wear safety glasses when drilling holes.
Using a steady hand, or a drill press, and a drill bit intended for metal, carefully drill a hole at the top and bottom of each copper penny. Although the pennies hanging on the outside of the chime will not host additional coins below, you can add a pretty bead to the bottom of these pennies with a jump ring.
Strings are secured with crimp beads at top
Once you've drilled holes in the support beam and pennies, you may begin stringing them. Be sure to add a string to the outermost left and right holes in the beam to hang the chime.
I find it is easiest to thread a string with the end above the support beam with a crimp bead, then allow it to hang below. Alternate the coin attachment to keep the chime balanced as you work.
Look closely to see the string placement.
It helps to line the pennies up prior to stringing them, so you have an idea as to how they will hang. Note the way the penny on the top row, #7 for example, will support three additional pennies. #9 will support four more, etc. Look closely at the photo, and you can see the string that shows the way they will line up.
Making progress, one penny at a time.
Continue to add pennies in even and odd-numbered holes along the top of the support bar. Each successive row will host fewer pennies than the previous row. Keep going, keep securing the pennies with crimp beads, and before you know it, you'll be finished! Add a jump ring and a pretty bead to the outer-most pennies, and you're set to hang up your new treasure!
Add more pennies, add less, make your chime bigger, smaller. It is entirely up to you. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to view my penny project.
Click to hear the sound of a 45 cent chime.
Remember to use pennies with a higher copper content, and not those with zinc and tin, or they will sound tinny and cheap. A few are fine, but for the most part, copper pennies not only clean up better, but sound sweeter. :-) Enjoy!
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Karen Manasco

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Per29942647
    on Sep 28, 2018

    The train has rerouted thru mmy neighborhood! How else can I flatten pennies, without hammering?

    • Kathy
      on Dec 5, 2018

      I flattened some pennies. Just lay them on the train track and the train flattens them. I used a small train at the zoo.

  • Christine
    on Sep 28, 2018

    I wish this was posted when I started finding my late spouses pennies. He had them stashed all over the house. There were 9,000 of them. Yes, 9,000.

    Do you have any projects for golfballs?

    • Liz
      on Sep 30, 2018

      Check out Recycled Garden Ladybug in the search area. Shows lots of things made of golfballs.

  • Debbie
    on Oct 8, 2018

    How did you flatten the pennies.

    • Karen Manasco
      on Mar 29, 2019

      Hello Debbie, there are several ways to flatten the pennies. Please see the complete tutorial above for various ideas. I happen to work at a facility that gives me permission to place the pennies when trains are not present. The train moves VERY slowly, due to the weight of the product in the rail cars.

Join the conversation

3 of 96 comments
  • Rebecca Chappell
    on Jul 31, 2019

    I made this and I love it. I haven't hung it outside yet because I ran out of chain and want to replace the hanger part. I flattened the pennies with a hammer and an anvil. I tried to upload a photo but it doesn't see to work. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  • Vanessa Hernandez
    on Sep 17, 2019

    Illegal!

    According to Title 18, Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code, which sets out crimes related to coins and currency, anyone who “alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens” coins can face fines or prison time.

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