A Penny Saved Means a New Kitchen Countertop

6 Materials
2 Days

We needed to replace the "cookbook pages" top on our kitchen island (which we made from two old nightstands). I'd been collecting penny project ideas on Pinterest and just knew this would be a perfect kitchen project.
I started collecting and polishing pennies. Lots and lots of pennies. Actually about $22 worth, and spent 12 hours total polishing each and every one.
We roughed up the surface with a sander then painted it flat black so the pennies would pop against the dark color. Then we nailed stained molding pieces to the edges leaving a bit of depth all around so the resin would pool. We used Minwax Polyshades in Maple for the wood. It has the stain and sealer all in one product.
We did NOT glue the pennies down. We did NOT put them in any kind of order or pattern. But we did shift them around alot to mix all the metallic shades of the polished coins.
We used this two part resin, which is an improvement over the old formula. It didn't smell, it set up quickly and it gave us totally awesome results. We used twice as much resin as we had used on the original project and it looks great. And yes, it is food safe. You've seen the shiny bar and tables in restaurants? This is the product they use.
We absolutely love how this came out!
Before and after. The skylight and the pennies are a winning combination, and the light brings out all the metallic colors and subtle hues. We could not be more pleased with this project.
At the end of each day the setting sun shines through my collection of blue glass and those pennies are just dazzling in the slanting light. I call this project a win win!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Eric
    on Apr 16, 2018

    Illegal to deface or damage USC? WHAT WOULD YOUR DEFENCE BE!

    l really wold like to know, before I do it?

    • Cristine Schwartzberg
      Cristine Schwartzberg
      on Jan 11, 2019

      The U.S. Mint who makes the coins is part of the U.S. Treasury. They have a FAQ on this topic. https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/coins/pages/edu_faq_coins_portraits.aspx

      Coins used to make items are classified either as not current or as mutilated. Coins that are chipped, fused, and not machine-countable are considered mutilated. The Mint redeems mutilated coins at the value of their metal content. Mutilated coins are only redeemable through the United States Mint. Uncurrent coins are worn, but machine-countable, and their genuineness and denomination are still recognizable. Uncurrent coins are replaced with new coins of the same denomination by the Federal Reserve Banks, then forwarded to the Mint. All uncurrent or mutilated coins received by the Mint are melted, and the metal is shipped to a fabricator to be recycled in the manufacture of coinage strips.

  • Sue Smith
    Sue Smith
    on May 18, 2018

    What else could you use instead of pennies?

    • Doreen
      on May 11, 2020

      Loved this. I know you used it on an island but would it be tough enough to put on whole countertop in kitchen?

  • Barb C
    Barb C
    on Jan 4, 2019

    I am presently gathering pennies for coffee table top. Am sloshing pennies around in salt and vinegar to shine them. Works almost instantly. But does not make really dark old pennies useable. Does the brasso work better?

Join the conversation

3 of 28 comments
  • Mar28578742
    on May 17, 2018

    So creative and pretty! Than you for sharing!

  • Ros33354521
    on May 20, 2018

    I LOVE THIS IDEA SO COOL N UNIQUE, I wish I had talent to do easy back splash n fun all of the projects r awesome this takes the cake too bad my kitchen so tiny I have no where put n island

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