Penny Backsplash

Sandy O'Konek
by Sandy O'Konek
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 icon
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
Bar top expoxy
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 33 questions
  • Amy Ramsay Cartright Amy Ramsay Cartright on Jan 29, 2020

    Did you do any type of “cleaning” to the pennies? If so, how? I didn’t know if dirty ones would not hold the glue as well.

    How many bank did you have to check at before you found a significant number of uncirculated ones? You were blessed the bank let you buy the pennies the first time. Some bank policies are very odd, (that’s my nice word), like not being able to buy change with cash if you don’t have an account!

  • Philip Hopkins Philip Hopkins on Apr 20, 2020


    If I decide to hang my copper penny backsplash with luan, will the luan adhere to the grout? I would rather not use bar too epoxy.

    What kind of glue did you use to attach pennies to the luan?

  • Mandi Shuler Mandi Shuler on Mar 19, 2021

    Hi Sandy,

    I'm getting ready to do a penny backsplash and was wondering what type of border did you use? I've seen pencil liner but uncertain if that is what I should use or not.

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3 of 166 comments
  • Bonnie Bowness Bonnie Bowness on Jul 20, 2020

    Hi Sandy,I just needed to tell you, I just saw this today,and was so surprised at how beautiful your penny back splash is.Your design is so perfect.It is the prettiest back splash I have ever seen.You should be very proud of yourself.Great job Sandy! Keep those talents rolling!!!!Cheers Bonnie

  • Espie Tamayo Espie Tamayo on Aug 17, 2020

    I know I don't have the patience or the stamina to do this project myself (i'm 80) but must tell you how great it looks. I have a small side table with a removable clear glass top and I think your penny design would look really great there. Thanks for being an inspiration.

    • Sandy O'Konek Sandy O'Konek on Aug 18, 2020

      Espie, thanks so much for taking time to say so! I appreciate you! May God bless you with a VERY long life!