Penny Backsplash

7 Materials
3 Months

We bought an old home and remodeled. I had painted mahogany cabinets cream colored and antiqued them and the next project was the back splash.I wanted a copper colored back splash and when browsing through the internet, pennies came up. After researching, trying different patterns, and learning from my own mistakes, we completed our project.
the walls weren't exactly flat so I cut 1/4 inch backer board (Luan) to panel sizes, obtained uncirculated pennies for the bright part of the design and sorted pennies for dark brown lines.
To know how large to cut the boards, I divided the area by the number of panels I thought would be easy to manipulate. I used brown construction paper to cut to the size of the wall opening as a template, using an exacto knife to cut out the areas for outlets or switches. Then cut up the boards and spray painted them black. I could finish a board in 2 to 3 evenings after work watching TV
I wanted a 'featured' design over the sink and designed a layout slightly different from the rest. I learned the hard way that you couldn't let the glue flow from beneath the penny, it would be opaque under lighting once coated with bar top epoxy. I used q-tips and elmers to glue the pennies.
I poured a very thick layer of bar top epoxy over all the sheets (we did 1/2 of the kitchen at a time) and let it cure at 76 degrees for 3 days in a heated room. I actually had finished 1/2 of the kitchen when I realized the glue turned the clear opaque, we had them under the lights and could see huge splotches of creamy opaque. I had to start over.
We lined up the panels where they would mount, and used Loc-tight construction adhesive to put behind the boards. I had to use shims to keep the boards above the counter until it dried enough not to slide down the wall.
I was very careful to line up the designs so that it look like one line started at the same place on the next board (easier than it looked, this pattern is easy to do).
I bought quarter round (only used it on the bottom of the boards and 1 inch trim boards. Both were spray painted black, then cut to size for trimming each panel, I also beveled the edges at 45 degrees to add a finishing touch, and glued the trim boards in place. I bought light switches and added some copper paint to increase the copper color.
The feature over the sink turned out great, this is before trimming and adding outlet covers.
The finished look was awesome.
I choose a larger trim for the sink feature and added some copper highlights with paint on the roped design.
The new plank flooring was a huge change over the retro green and yellow vinyl. Total number of pennies? 10,400 give or take 10 or so. $104.00 worth of pennies, and many hours in front of the TV gluing pennies! Total time, about 2 1/2 months after work and on weekends between other projects. Total cost under $400.

Resources for this project:

Luan, 1/4 board 4x8 2 sheets
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 30 questions
  • Jennifer Prather
    on Mar 13, 2019

    When you poured the epoxy on the boards, how did you keep it from flowing over the sides and onto surfaces? Did you build temp boxes?

    • Sandy O'Konek
      on Mar 13, 2019

      No, I had plastic sheets under itt, and it did pour over the edges. I sanded it down after

  • Della Tompkins
    on Jun 27, 2019

    Can you tell about how much each panel weighed?

    • Sandy O'Konek
      on Jun 29, 2019

      I never weighed them, the small panels weren't very heavy but the ones over the sink were quite larger and heavier. I'd say 5 lbs maybe?

  • Michelle I
    on Aug 17, 2019

    i did a small penny floor without a pattern, yours came out so incredible i may have to do a back splash. I see you didn't mention grout just that you spray painted the board black and used clear coat over it. is this correct?

    • Sandy O'Konek
      on Aug 18, 2019

      That's correct, I found a really good bar top expoxy where you mix the hardner and resin, not clear coat like polyurethane. The epoxy is like putting 100 coats of poly on it at once. Pretty easy to do, but you will have to sand the back of the boards after they cure 3 days to remove the drips, took 2 minutes, sands right down.

      My only regret is I followed all directions EXCEPT where it said to do 2 coats over things like pennies. It turned out stunning, but if you look down the back spash at the same angle as the back splash, you can see where the coverage isn't as thick as it should be in areas, dimpled in a couple of places, and a little rippled. Should look like it has a 1/2 inch cover over it. Whatever you do, don't let the glue come out from under the pennies! I used elmer and tried monkey glue too. The lights under the counter showed the glue as milky white if it extended past the penny!

Join the conversation

2 of 159 comments
  • Beverley Hathor
    on Sep 15, 2019

    Love the two tone did an awesome job

  • Nancy S.
    on Nov 17, 2019

    Love the look of this back splash! Similar pattern I had done in my bathroom a few years ago (holds up great). I did a black grout between the pennies before the epoxy was applied to eliminate any chance the glue showed and to hide the linoleum floor below.

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