Penny Countertop

Last September we finished our butcher block countertops, but we didn’t do our bar area. I mentioned in that post that I was open to suggestions and got the great idea to cover it in pennies and epoxy.  Well,  EIGHT months later it is finally finished!

I started in December when I got the supplies for Christmas… then it was one of my No Spend February goals…then it was one of my projects for the contest over at Every Creative Endeavor….then we finally finished it in April and I put off blogging about it because I didn’t want to write the post. And that brings us to now.

This is one of those projects that if I was to do it again it would be super easy. I now know exactly what not to do, which means I’ll fly through all the other penny coutertops I have planned. Oh wait…no, this was the only one.  Sigh.

However, if any of y’all want to make a penny countertop, then you are going to LOVE me for saving you a headache. LOVE ME. So here we go…

First we de-laminated the contertop to make it easy to get to the nails to remove it… except that there was NO WAY that sucker was coming off.  Turns out that installing this counter was one of the few things the builders of our house took the time to do right. New plan –  make penny countertop while installed.

Step two was painting the countertop black, since you were going to be able to see bits of it between the pennies.

 Next we had to figure out how we wanted our pennies. We bought a bunch from the bank, but I didn’t like that some of them were really nasty looking. I wanted some color variation, but I also wanted all of them to be at least semi shiny.  I did some research online and saw that people recommended Tarn-X for easy penny shining so I picked some up at… Home Depot? HEB? I don’t really remember…it was awhile ago now.

Anyway, Tarn-X didn’t work, it just turned my pennies and dull pinkish color….

So I went about finding a new way to shine pennies….

So whats the best way? Soak the pennies in vinegar and salt (just a few good shakes of salt, not a ton), let sit for about a minute, then shine with a baking soda/water paste.

Then I set out to shine all 30+ dollars worth of pennies one by one.

Haha, just kidding. No way was I going to shine pennies one by one! What I actually did was go “buy” $50 worth of pennies from the bank (they come in HEAVY $25 boxes) and pick out the clean(ish) ones and deposited the dirty ones back into our account.  So what do you do when you have a ton of pennies to sort? Offer free food of course!

 Then the gluing began.

so.much.gluing.

(As a special treat, here I am and I’m NOT in my painting clothes….a real rarity around here.)

I know there is a bottle of wood glue next to me, but don’t be fooled, it doesn’t work. We used Gorilla Glue.

 Here is where it gets messy. I wanted the pennies to wrap around the countertop and look all modern and awesome.  To do this we had to cut A LOT of pennies… it’s not easy to cut pennies by the way. I couldn’t do it, Adam and his brother Taylor did all the grunt work there. They used “end snips” to do this, you can see them sitting next to the bowl in the picture below.

Now for whatever reason, the pennies kept not lining up. (Not because we started in random places like the picture above makes it seem..that was taken after I started taking pennies off). We did the entire side, then we started on the top and some of the pennies wouldn’t fit. You can’t try and force them either, because the pressure would just cause pennies elsewhere on the countertop to pop off like popcorn. Super annoying.

We came to the conclusion that we couldn’t have the pennies wrap around the edge. It was a very sad moment. Not quite as sad, though, as the moment I realized that I had to pry all my carefully glued pennies off one by one.

So after about a week of working on it, we were back to an empty black countertop. We brainstormed about what kind of edge to use and decided on copper flashing (to keep it copper/modern on the sides.) Then I went online to buy some and saw that is costs about $1,000 a foot. Okay, so it’s not quite that much, but you get the jist…it was too rich for our blood.  So we fell back on ’ol reliable….cheap rustic cedar.

 After adding the edge (with about a 1/8 inch lip) we filled it with pennies. We didn’t use glue or anything, it was super easy. WHY OH WHY did we not just do this in the beginning?

 Then it was time to epoxy. I only have pictures of the prep work because the rest of it was really time sensitive and messy.

The epoxy (which I bought HERE) was actually fairly easy. We just mixed according to instructions, poured, and spread with a putty knife. The epoxy was self leveling, so we didn’t have to be too exact. We did get a ton of bubbles, so we went over it with the blow dryer to bring them to the surface. Whichever ones we didn’t get with the blow dryer I popped with a toothpick. We let it sit overnight and in the morning it looked glossy and perfect!

The end, right?

Not quite. We noticed that the epoxy wasn’t quite deep enough and some of the pennies were still exposed a bit. That’s no bueno.

 Since the epoxy was so easy we decided it was worth another coat. Baaaaaad idea, the second coat was a disaster. It didn’t self level, so it was super wavy and looked terrible.  Lesson learned…when doing epoxy, make sure you do a THICK coat – thin ones don’t turn out well.

The box said you could get a satin finish by sanding and waxing so we decided to go for that and see if we could even things up. Here it is sanded, you can see where it was still uneven after sanding.

Waxing didn’t help, you could still see shiny parts and dull parts. At this point I was over working on the countertop, so I decided to just give it a coat of polycrylic and call it a day (month). It worked perfectly… well, perfectly enough for me!

We seem to have a lot of unique brown surfaces going on around here…

From the other side. I just can’t lead you on and let you think it’s all beautiful and perfect…not yet at least!

Whew, I’m glad this post is written and I can stop thinking about it! I do love the countertop though, it’s one of a kind. I like that the color is similar to our counters in a totally not similar sort of way. Also, it’s indestructible. Really, it can take a beating… you can leave water on it (it’s where my dishes dry) AND it’s easy to clean. Perfect :)



Comments

  1. That turned out great! It was a very informative post. I have seen a few penny projects and this was a great space for it. Very unique and a wonderful accent. Enjoy!!
    Shannon Fox recently posted..Better Homes And Gardens-FTD $50 Flower GiveawayMy Profile

  2. WOW! I love it!!! Great job!
    Cari recently posted..Wordless Wednesday with LinkyMy Profile

  3. That is gorgeous!! And I LOVE the butcher block counter as well!

  4. Cometgirl63 says:

    looks great!

  5. Wow! This is AWESOME!!! I pretty sure I need a penny countertop. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  6. wow…it looks incredible. what drama with that epoxy, huh?

    incredible story to boot!

    i’ll be featuring you this monday, and of course, sharing at pinterest. :)

    thanks for posting this to creative juice. this is one to remember for the next house. i’m sure the hubby would love that idea for his future bar in the man cave.

  7. I’ve seen stuff like this all over pinterest, but it’s good to know what kind of work actually goes into it! I love how it turned out, though!!!
    Aroura recently posted..Did Hell Freeze Over???My Profile

  8. I love it! It turned out amazing!!
    We’re getting ready to redo our kitchen and have been talking about this idea for our island.
    Now I want it even more!!

  9. Oh this truly looks GREAT. What a lot of work, but the results will be enjoyed for years and it’s certain to be a conversation piece.

    I wish my husband would be open to something so unusual. Maybe I’ll start off by doing the top of a side table that I recently dragged home. Thanks for providing so much information about your experience with the epoxy.

  10. GREAT WAY TO FEEL RICH!! That is so lovely! Come link it up at our party http://www.finecraftguild.com/party/ It’s worth sharing it with others!
    Rose :: Fine Craft Guild .com recently posted..Dr Seuss Wall Decals : Not just for Kids BedroomsMy Profile

  11. Queen Mary says:

    Excellent story — love that you included the trial and error bits — very helpful to the rest of us who may think you didn’t TRY something else that would work more easily.

  12. Very cool & you had lots of help! That’s always great. (1st time here)
    Melanie@MailboxJourney recently posted..Blueberry Lemonade w/ VodkaMy Profile

  13. It looks great! Too bad it was such a headache, but you really do make it easy to replicate!
    Ellie recently posted..Inspiration Files: Storage-Packed KitchenMy Profile

  14. So cool! I love how it turned out! I am stopping by from the catch a glimpse link party and I am a new follower! I blog over at http://www.garagesalesrus.blogspot.com/ check us out when you get a chance!
    Robin recently posted..Meet & TweetMy Profile

  15. Wow, that turned out amazing! You had a few disappointments along the way, but the end result is just gorgeous. And if you still want copper flashing down the road and it’s more affordable , or maybe you find some for a deal, it looks like that part of it might be possible to change out. (That would be stunning!)
    I didn’t realize pennies could look so glamourous!
    Jan Elizabeth recently posted..Early Days – and How They Can Shape the FutureMy Profile

  16. WOW! What an awesome project. It’s great to hear about all the real grunt work that goes into something like this. Thanks for sharing!
    Emily recently posted..NOLA – SaturdayMy Profile

  17. This project turned out just beautiful! Thanks for sharing all the steps. It really is helpful and fun to read. Megan
    Megan recently posted..Mother’s Day Gift – Smoothie BasketMy Profile

    • i hate it

      • Anonymous says:

        I can only guess that you are so negative because it is nearly midnight on New Years Eve and you are surfing the web alone…for this I am sorry, even more so for the idea that bringing someone else down could make you feel better.

  18. Wow!! fantastic. This looks amazing. I am visiting you via the party at Somewhat Simple. I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas.

  19. Very creative. Love this! Thanks for linking up!

    Danielle @Blissful and Domestic

    http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com
    Danielle recently posted..Feature Friday Linky PartyMy Profile

  20. That looks amazing!!! Great job!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Thursday’s Temptation.
    Jill

  21. Wow, I’ve seen a floor like that. It looks great!

  22. I am amazed and wowed by this spectacular project.. Pinned and shared it on my facebook page.. Thanks for linking up at friday fun party :)
    hani@craftionary recently posted..Friday Fun Party and Features {18}My Profile

  23. WOW, that looks awesome! I would love for you to share this (and any other house projects) at my “May House Par-tay” at http://www.cheapcraftymama.com!

  24. Wow that looks very cool!
    Mindie recently posted..Anything Goes Linky #48My Profile

  25. This looks so gorgeous! Found you via The Grant Life link party :)

    -Bonnie @ Revolutionaries
    http://www.revolutionariesblog.com
    Bonnie recently posted..Recycled Paper Mother’s Day BroochMy Profile

  26. Wow, reading this made me frustrated for you! It turned out really cool, though.
    Greta recently posted..How To Make A T-Shirt Maxi Dress #UpcyclingMy Profile

  27. This is awesome!! I’ve never seen a penny countertop before- it looks so good!!

  28. This is really amazing!

    There is a link party going on in my blog today. I would LOVE for you to share this :)
    http://myricandreasen.blogspot.com/2012/05/link-party-and-give-away.html

    xoxo
    Myric
    Myric recently posted..Passion Parade Fridays#1 and Give-away!!!My Profile

  29. This is soo cool. I hope my hubby likes it, because I think I’d love to try something like this. Lol, I love the indestructible part.:)
    Shiloh recently posted..DIY Cloth Diaper RepairMy Profile

  30. Wow! That’s a lot of work, but in the end it turned out great! I love it!

  31. Looks great! Well done :)
    Greetings from Australia
    ~Pernilla
    SwedishCornerDownUnder…Pernilla recently posted..Mormors kopparMy Profile

  32. I love this! I’m considering covering my painted counters with epoxy– what brand did you use, and where did you purchase it??

  33. Love it! Need to find something I can cover with pennies…
    Sarah @ My Project Bag recently posted..Owl Wrap SkirtMy Profile

  34. WOW!! How awesome is that!!! Love it!
    Don’t know if it would work in my kitchen, but I know I could do this somewhere..
    Great job!

    Stopping by via Addicts Anonymous.

  35. Holy Abraham Lincoln! That was a lot of work. It looks great, and it must be fun to have a one-of-a-king counter.

    (I came over from Serenity Now. Thanks for posting the link!)

  36. Love this! I think it came out great!
    Kelley recently posted..Financial Friday + Fabulous FeaturesMy Profile

  37. Looks great!! One of the best I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing :)

  38. So awesome. Just wondering, though — what was the epoxy plan if you had been able to get the pennies to work on the sides? Seems like gravity wouldn’t have been your friend….
    Devon @ Green House, Good Life recently posted..Think Globally, Bloom LocallyMy Profile

    • Well, in my head we were going guide the epoxy over the edges with the putty knife and let it cover the sides, letting it drip onto a plastic sheet and then cleaning up the bottom drips. It’s pretty thick stuff, so I wasn’t worried about it running off the top. I figured the edges wouldn’t be smooth (kinda ripply), but I was okay with it…mostly cause it’s was the best plan I could come up with.

      • Anonymous says:

        FYI you can use a paint brush to do the sides and yes the apoxy will drip off but you can brush on multiple coats. I have apoxy on my countertops however mine do not seem to be indestructible, maybe I need to put come polycrylic over it??

  39. This is an incredible project and an even more incredible tutorial. You are going to save people countless hours of aggravation, me being one of them. I’m not ambitious enough to cover a counter with pennies, but I love how this looks. I’m going to try my hand at a penny tray. I just must have something of my own that looks this cool. Thanks for sharing. Your counter is inspiring and beautiful.
    Laurel Stephens recently posted..Friday FindsMy Profile

  40. I. LOVE. IT!!! Looks really great and I appreciate your tips on what NOT to do. LOL I’m jealous of the awesome job you did.

  41. This too cool! Sorry you had such a hard time with it, but I hope it was worth it in the end. Now following though Facebook!

  42. Your counter top looks amazing!
    Dee recently posted..Barn-wood Style MirrorMy Profile

  43. I saw this idea on pinterest for flooring, but thought that would be ridiculous… I wanted to do it on a coffee table or something. But this is a really cool idea ! I think it’d be neat in the bathroom on the vanity. Anyway, thanks for sharing this ! It turned out beautifully !!! I’m anxious to do my own penny project now :)
    Jackie recently posted..Wacky Wednesday #2My Profile

  44. Wow! This looks great! What a cool idea!

  45. Pennies from heaven!! This is heavenly! Of course, free food would have enticed me to help you sort thru all those pennies too. Looks amazing.
    Kelly

  46. You beat me to the punch…I was about to come over here and ask you to link this awesome post up to my party and it looks like you just did!! What a fabulous project!! I’m sad that you had to pull so many up and start over, but it was worth it. Looks gorgeous!! Thanks so much for stopping by!
    {HUGS},
    kristi

  47. Wow, what a show stopper! I was cruising through the Saturday Nite Special pics at Funky Junk and your counter grabbed my attention. It’s is so cool. What a fun project.
    Katherine recently posted..A Bath in the Front YardMy Profile

  48. That is so cool!! I just love seeing unique projects like this and it turned out just so fabulous. :-) Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Inspiration Friday!
    Vanessa
    Vanessa recently posted..Shopping for Mother’s Day with the Picket Fence Girls!My Profile

  49. Oh! That’s a nice idea as a unique table style and at the same time it can be a family bonding when doing or creating this penny countertop.
    Courtney Williams recently posted..Director of Customer CareMy Profile

  50. Oh…my….GOODNESS! I am so ‘borrowing’ this idea for a project! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!
    Ansley @ Fabulousfied.blogspot.com recently posted..Sink into CupcakesMy Profile

  51. Wow, even if this project was so much trouble it still turned out great! I’ve been thinking about doing something similar (with bottle caps) for my husband so I’m really glad I saw this. Hopefully if I’m ever brave enough to attempt it I’ll know what to do.
    Emily recently posted..Stenciled Reading BasketMy Profile

  52. What a cool project this was, I really like how it turned out. Stopping by from the Feature Friday Link Party at Blissful and Domestic.
    Shirley@motivatedmommyoftwo recently posted..{Goals} 10 Weekly GoalsMy Profile

  53. I love how this turned out! I saw this once on HGTV but they used beer bottle caps {the husband was a collector} on their bartop! It looks great!
    Sarah recently posted..{An Unconventional} Baby Shower for a Long Distance Mom-To-Be!My Profile

  54. WOW, WOW, WOW!! Never seen anything as amazing as this! What an incredible job you did and it looks awesome. Have a great week.
    FABBY

  55. Oh, I can feel your pain! This was alot of work but the end result is really cool and unique. Thanks for sharing the experience and I don’t think I will be doing this any time in the near future even though it came out great! I’m way too lazy!

    Robin
    Robin Flies South
    Robin recently posted..Backyard Before and AfterMy Profile

  56. Absolutely LOVE it! Thanks for the “don’t do” tips!!

  57. Yes, a lot of work, but wow what a great project. So love it, absolutely beautiful. Simply cool. And they a penny doesn’t go very far anymore. This sure proves that wrong! Totally cool! Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration at Sunday’s Best.

  58. I really, really love it! Sounds like a lot of work though, and thanks for all the tips. I think I might try this on a tray. Thanks for linking up!
    Tisha @ Delectable Home recently posted..show & tell linkup party {15}My Profile

  59. Holy cow, this is AMAZING!!! What a fun idea and I love how you made them heads and tails

  60. This is the neatest countertop!! Totally love it! We hope to see you back next week to our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday.” Thanks for coming!! -The Sisters

  61. Oh my gosh! That is wonderful. Unique. Thank you for sharing all the info on how you did it and what you learned.
    I’m here from Cowgirl Up!

  62. Maybe a nickel backsplash! Wonderful job.

  63. Hi there! I just wanted to let you know I featured you today over at Blissful and Domestic. Stop by and grab a button:>

    Danielle @ Blissful and Domestic
    http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com
    Danielle recently posted..Lovely Spotlights #2My Profile

  64. Awesome! I’ve seen a floor done with all the pennies heads up and in the same direction…..your counter is really unique, love it!

  65. Cottage By The Sea says:

    Brilliant post! Wonderful blog! I just found you via Pinterest. Having just remodeled our cottage I don’t have anywhere to add a penny countertop at the moment but I’m thinking it would be great on an outside patio table or a built in bar b’ qeue too. Thanks for the tutorial and I signed myself up to follow your blog and your Pineterest. Failte

  66. Love this idea, so cool! Good thing you had lots of help. Thank you for linkin up.
    OX
    Kristin

  67. Rob Mac Elhinney says:

    Nice work. I did a bar counter top for a client a few years ago. He was well traveled…and especially loved Ireland. As an Irishman myself now living in Chicago, I was able to get my hands on a bunch of older and newer Irish coins…..and did his bar top with them plus a two part bar epoxy. Worked out well. Again……nice work.!

  68. It turned out beautifully! What a labor of love, though. I give you so much credit for not just giving up. :)

    Stopping by from Time-Out Tuesday. :)
    Mrs. Handyverger recently posted..Right on TargetMy Profile

  69. What an interesting idea, it looks like it came out great!
    lomr recently posted..One Week, 20+ Restaurants, & Three-Courses of Heaven in Detroit!My Profile

  70. Aimee B. says:

    Looks great! Might be something I would consider for my kitchen counter-tops. How well does it do with accidental knife marks? I’d hate to put in all that work only to have my sons carve the epoxy up every time they make a sandwich. LOL!

  71. I think all of your hard work really paid off, it looks amazing!!! I felt for you as I read the post, I’m glad that it all worked out in the end. :)

  72. Wow. What a unique countertop!! I love it. Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!
    Alison recently posted..Wednesday’s Wowzers {19}My Profile

  73. Wow! I’ve seen this on Pinterest, but you were brave enough to attempt it! Turned out awesome! I’d love for you to add it on my link party at: http://printabelle.com/?p=3188 Thanks!
    Belle recently posted..Wednesday Link Party #1My Profile

  74. I’m very impressed. It looks great and I bet it’s quite a conversation piece. Thanks for sharing at DIYbyDesign’s Swing into Spring party.

  75. Thanks for linking to TAke-A-Look Tuesday – you were featured today!!
    –Mandy, http://www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

  76. This is incredible, I love it! Great job! And even if it took forever, it was worth it, because it looks great!

  77. This is so great!! I love how unique it looks and I really appreciate you showing all the steps you tried!

  78. Love this project!! And so worth all that work! Found you at a linky party, and on Hometalk…. AND we are neighbors! I’m in Boerne!!
    Janis@AllThingsBeautiful recently posted..Groovy Pool Room {Danceoff}My Profile

  79. Oh WOW! That looks BEAUTIFUL! You’re home is also very very beautiful!

  80. this is AMAZING! I would love for you to share at on my link party!

    http://www.thesasselife.com/2012/05/crafty-sasse-wednesday-link-party-36.html

    Hope to see you there :)
    Kim recently posted..Crafty Sasse Wednesday Link Party 36My Profile

  81. That was a lot of work…but it is so worth it.Just gorgeous and so unique!
    Holly Lefevre recently posted..Quickie Vase Project with Wallpaper for WindowsMy Profile

  82. Very original and clever. Great job and it is a really cool and unique countertop. Thanks for sharing at Cowgirl Up and I hope you come back next week.
    Anita recently posted..The Little Cabinet that CouldMy Profile

  83. This is the coolest countertop ever! Very creative!
    I found you at the Link Party over at Thrifty Decor Chick. Thanks for sharing!

  84. Ashley! It’s gorgeous! WOW! I love it! I’m going to share a link back in this week’s highlights. :) Thanks so much for sharing your hard work, tips and creativity!

  85. Your countertop is amazing! I am so saving this idea because we are in the planning stages of a remodel. Thank you!

  86. Hannah King says:

    I love this project so much I decided to try it myself! I don’t have a bar, but I do have a wooden serving tray that I have been wanting to modify. I decided to “age” some penny’s with tuquoise paint (to add an accent color) and a sponge and intersperse them with the other penny and I think it looks great! Thank you for the inspiration!!

    • That sounds awesome! I would have never thought of aging them…you should post a picture on my facebook page so everyone can see!

  87. Wow, I had to scroll for days to finally submit my comment. :D So you just knew I had to feature you on this week’s Motivated Monday at BeColorful. Thanks so much for sharing.
    pam
    BeColorful recently posted..Motivated Monday May 14thMy Profile

  88. Kimberly says:

    This is late for your project, but if you want a shiny copper edge, you might try gluing copper flashing or foil on the wooden edging you installed. They are both affordable and easy to glue. Foil is more likely to wrinkle or get deformed. Flashing takes a little more work to bend and shape. But either would be affordable. A rubber mallet would help shape the flashing. The foil is more like using kitchen foil.

    http://www.enasco.com/product/0401500%28A%29
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_59448-205-850678_0__?productId=1093759

  89. Ashley,
    was the one epoxy kit enough for the whole length of the counter top or did you have to buy more than one kit?

  90. I was wondering how you figured out how much in pennies you needed and would it be safe to do this on a kitchen counter top that you prepare food on?

  91. That is FANTASTIC! I love your idea… Ketchup cleans pennies and copper just like new!
    Have a fun week,
    Donna
    Donna Connolly recently posted.."Julie Marie,Tea, & Me"My Profile

  92. Very cool! My husband hoards pennies. He would lose it if he came home to all his pennies epoxied into a counter or something. LOL Seriously, great job!

  93. Kathy aka Pie says:

    Thanks a lot…..now where can I put a penny counter in my house?

  94. Love this! So unique! Question for you…my friend is wanting to do a penny backsplash and would like to seal it. I know you didn’t end up doing edges, but if you had…were you planning on sealing them and how would you have done it?

    • I was just planning on letting the epoxy run over the edges and then smoothing it all out. I have no idea how you would seal it an a totally vertical surface. Maybe cut out some thin plywood in the exact shape of the backsplash, cover with pennies and epoxy, and then install with some liquid nails? that’s the best I’ve got.

  95. Hey Ashley,

    I’ve never responded to these kinds of blog posts before but I would like to just take a second and say thank you very much! My wife and I were looking at doing the pennytop idea in my parents house and this gives us so many new ideas (and saves us from the headache you went through!).

    Thanks again!

    -Christopher
    Christopher recently posted..BF3 Vault – Update V1.1 Submitted to the App storeMy Profile

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment! I read a lot of blogs but rarely comment as well…I’m more of the silent blog stalker kind, lol. I love that your parents are cool enough to let y’all do a penny countertop in their house. Good luck and have fun! If you want to send me pics of the final product I would love to feature it on my facebook page!

  96. LOVE the penny idea! It turned out good. Am enjoying looking at all your projects. Must say I was inspired by your {Awesome} Paisley Stenciled Table that I saw on Pinterest.com. I used your idea to make an Awesome Stenciled desk of my own. Love to see creative things……keep it up :)

  97. I’ve read a couple of your DIY projects/learning experiences. It’s really nice to hear that I’m not the only one who runs into problems that require creative (and durable) solutions. I love the idea of the epoxy countertop. I’ve always wanted to do this. On those rare occations when I stop by Joe’s Crabshack, it always reminds me how much I want to still do that kind of project. I’m wondering if using 100% epoxy would be better or 100% poly…? I would definitely get extra epoxy if I was worried about running out. Thank you for putting up your experiences (good and bad).

    • Do you mean 100% poly as in polyurethane? Would your just pour it over your pennies like we did epoxy? I’m not asking because I have an answer, it just never crossed my mind to use poly. It just might work, though I’m not sure it would make for a better finish than the epoxy…it would be cheaper though.

      • Well, we used polyurethane for a DIY resurfacing job on old laminate countertop. We didn’t need for it to be that deep, but I’m wondering if it would have turned out better if we did lay it on really thick. The polyurethane would probably take longer to set because it’s so much thinner. I probably put on 1/16″ of it over the laminate and that was from 4-6 coats. It took two weeks to cure too… It’s really clear though. In hindsight, maybe the epoxy would have been better. Again, thank you for the details and information. It’s helpful to know of other options for custom countertops.

  98. S. Martin says:

    Have you calculated how much this costs per sq ft? Other projects like this mention $7.50/sq ft. but just the pennies are about $1.25, the rest would be the epoxy. I am planning a counter top and you tutorial is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

    • I think $7.50 a square foot sounds really high. I never calculated the cost per sq ft for ours though. Let’s see, it’s about 12 sq ft, we used about $40 worth of epoxy and wood, so that’s a little over $3.30 a foot, plus $1.25 for pennies is about $4.50 a square foot. Whew, math at midnight…not my strong point :)

  99. Wow, its a good think you had some cheap labor for shining all those pennies! :) looks great!
    Thanks so much for linking up. Make sure to grab a button or link back! Good luck and feel free to follow us on facebook for all the contest updates!

  100. You have such great ideas!! You have inspired me to do my own hardwood floors and my own version of a penny counter. Thanks for all you post!! :)

  101. I saw what you did there. You got lazy! you needed to start it all at once but you started the top then the side then started on another part. When you lay down tile you get the same problems. I also know why you got lazy and didn’t fix it. Resin is self leveling and you would have had to pour the side in a mold which isn’t possible with what you were doing. Don’t go blaming this on “oh my it just wouldn’t line up if we pushed it, it buckled. bullshit you didn’t think this thru and what you did took no expertise or skill. To have done this properly you would have had to take the counter off apply the pennies and flip the counter upside down. once upside down it would have to be suspended above a mold and the resin poured in just like making a fiberglass part. The mold would have had to been covered in a releasing agent for the resin to turn out both smooth and clear. You are a lazy piece of shit and your project is bullshit as well. This has no place being documented! You are self indulgent pigs that are the bane of society.

    • Obviously we didn’t do this project as professionally as you would have. I see why you think we got lazy as well, the photo with the pennies on the side and that gap in the middle makes it look like we just started gluing pennies on in random places. What actually happened was that I started popping the pennies off after completing the side, then realized that I forgot to take a picture. Perhaps I should have clarified. Calling me “the bane of society” is obviously pretty extreme for a silly penny countertop project though, so that can’t be the root of your anger and I don’t take it personally.

      • Honestly! What kind of a commenter are you? A rude one, that’s for sure! I can’t believe some people – to go on someone’s personal, well-respected blog and be insulting and call names like that.

        Ashley, I’m glad you have thick skin because this person is WAAAAY out of line! I am just outraged. Grrr!
        Jan Elizabeth recently posted..Early Days – and How They Can Shape the FutureMy Profile

      • Oh, please don’t pay attention to that rude commenter! I think your project turned out wonderfully and I appreciate your honesty with the hang-ups that you had! You are just showing all of your readers to not be intimidated by projects like this! Mr. Rude doesn’t have to live in your house or use your countertop so just ignore him! :) You are awesome! Please keep doing what you do!
        Kindel recently posted..InstaFriday!My Profile

      • You are so classy and composed in your response to that bottom feeder! I love your penny project and also check several times a week to see your new posts! Keep up the awesome work!!

    • what a jerk I loved it ….don’t like it don’t go on any blogs …stop being a jerk…Ashley i love your blog and check it 2 or 3 times a week to see what you have done ..Keep up the good work….

    • OMG! You know I have seen several things on your site that have inspired me. There are also several that I looked at and could appreciate but didn’t really mean all that much to me and couldn’t use. I can’t imagine when you put yourself out there for us to enjoy your projects and share a lil bit of yourself with us to receive comments like the one listed above. I’m really sorry. Please don’t let him bother you that much and keep up the good work and to the guy who wrote the comment , shame on you, you obviously need a time out so go stand in a corner.

    • lol i see what YOU are doing here, Tim, trying to troll to get some fantastic bully reputation. You should troll somewhere else, where your overblown anger would make more sense, like a political or religious blog. Your comment just makes you look like an idiot, getting all out of sorts over a craft project. lol. I mean, no offense, Ashley, but your project isn’t exactly making any huge mark on society. It’s simply a fun project, which I think took some creativity and I can see that many people took inspiration from it as well! Good job! Tim, if you have any other interests, or passions, that have any relevance to your quality of life, try trolling over to that blog. Good luck.

    • Tim,
      Here’s an idea: if you don’t like a project or a blog, then feel free to stop reading it with one simple click of the mouse. Maybe you would further benefit by spending time on researching the meaning of the phrase, “pick your battles,” at which point you might figure out that you need professional help with that little anger issue ya got goin on there, Pal.

  102. thanks for documenting your cool project. I presume your pennies are copper like ours used to be, i which case, I reccomend lemon juice for shining. its awesome.

  103. http://www.epbot.com/2010/09/money-money-money.html

    It looks awesome but the issues you encountered are all offered options at Epbot. They did a rounded edge table and it’s amazing

  104. It came out wonderfully!
    Shan recently posted..FREE Necklace OR Earrings! NO Shipping and NO Credit Card!!My Profile

  105. Hi we did an epoxy counter in our wetbar in the basement. We put hockey cards (hopefully not valuable ones …LOL) on the counter and covered with epoxy. We had a problem as well with the epoxy in that it is opaque in some areas but I just think it looks like hockey rink ice. If I do anything again with the epoxy, the blowdryer idea is useful.

    Susan

  106. Home DIY always fascinates me, lovely!

  107. This looks awesome! I will definitely be trying this with a counter top in the future. For now, it wouldn’t go with the kitchen decor, but I like the idea that someone posted about just painting and then covering with epoxy. When you painted yours black for the first layer, did you sand the laminate or prime it? I was wondering how it held up when it dried.

  108. Your counter looks great – I liked your tutorial too, looks like you all had fun! I’ve got this linked to my pennies post as well today, nice job!
    Inspire Me Heather recently posted..project: penniesMy Profile

  109. The bank can order you all new pennies so no polishing needed. And they will be dated with the year your countertop was made : ) As for the sides, perfaps routing out the cedar, doing mini penny counters inside, then mounting to the countertop? Thoughts for future “penny counters” : )

  110. Anonymous says:

    im thinking of doing that on a desktop thanks for the posting and tips on how to do it awesome job

  111. Tomato juice works great for removing tarnish from pennies…

  112. Jeri Niksich says:

    The man’s intelligence really shows through with the language he used! I am at a loss for words…guess maybe because I don’t use the type of words he uses! Jeepers!

  113. I LOVE this countertop and you have inspired me to NOT give up on this desk that I have been working on forever! I thought the top was just heavily varnished and was going to sand down to bare wood so I could stain a nice dark stain…………..well what ever finish was on there would not come off with sanding or with stain/paint stripper so that idea bit the dust. Next idea was to paint it however since using the stain/paint stripper on it previously it was causing the paint to look funky and uneven toned. Soooo third try a charm right? WRONG! I then tried to decoupage fabric on the top, however, the mod podge for so reason was adhering funky and was causing the appearance of dark stains and streaks on portions. So it is currently sitting in my garage until I am not frustrated with it again to try something else (planning on decoupaging scrapbook paper to it) crossing my fingers!! So thank you again for showing that persistance does pay off and that my desk will turn out great (eventually).

    • Oh my gosh, that desk sounds like a pain in the neck! I hate when something you think is going to be fun and easy turns into a nightmare project. It feels extra good when you finish them though :)

      • Isn’t it lovely that there are so many kind, wonderful people in the world, and comparatively few nasty, rude, plain ole mean-spirited human beings? I guess all one can do is forgive the nastiness, and assume he just is a miserable person who has absolutely no class, no respect for himself or anyone else. Sad, really. I feel sorry for him. Even more sorry for anyone who is so unfortunate to have to live with him.
        AND, I love your project!! I would attempt it myself, but I gotta tell you, that was a lot of work, and I am tooo lazy, lol.

  114. I Love your countertop and I think it came out beautifully! As for “Tim”…well, I believe the lazy banes of society are the people who don’t even attempt DIY on their homes and leave them looking like crap inside and out and the ones that don’t follow…”If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say nothing at all” are truly a horrible bane on society…Keep on keeping on girl…We love your posts :) Also, my husband and I DIY all our projects because that is what we can afford…perfect? No…Better? Yes MUCH!

  115. I LOVE this! we are planning on making a coffee table for our living room using this! Thank you for all the great advice. It looks great!!

  116. Henry Williams says:

    I just did my living room hallway. It was a lot easier because of you steps showing accomplishments and failures. You are the Bomb (dot) com! Thanks

  117. I *love* this countertop, and LOVE that you posted it including your errors. I want to pennify something in my house and think a countertop or bar is fantastic.
    Has your epoxy top held up well to scrapes/scratches?

  118. It looks gorgeous, though it would be frustrating to have so many versions of the plan fall through/mess-up. thanks for doing it, though, because learning from your mistakes = only making some (creative, new!) mistakes when I try it myself :P
    lexy recently posted..Cats: Ninja-Terrorists bent on Sleep DeprivationMy Profile

  119. Now I now why the banks say there is a shortage of pennies! Good job…. I work with epoxy on concrete so I can relate to some of the problems you had. You saved it though! I’m working on a painted table with an epoxy and urethane coating. Here is a good article on the differences in epoxy coatings that might help other people.

    Love it!

  120. Persistence is key! Thanks for doing all the grunt work for the rest of us. It turned out really cool.
    Trina recently posted..How To Write a Thank You NoteMy Profile

  121. I never respond to blogs…but I can’t pass this one up. What a wonderful creative project – and thank you so much for taking the time to explain it all step by step. Gives me hope for doing something creative with my dining table. I love it!!!

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Sandy! I’m a blogger and hardly ever comment when I read blogs as well…that’s like being a waitress and still being a bad tipper. Eek! I’m glad you liked my project and it would look great on a table. You could put anything under the epoxy as well, you don’t have to do pennies..I am partial to the pennies though :)

  122. Michal Boyars says:

    Comment about the Gorilla Glue that you used… I have been using your post as a step-by-step guide to a penny project that I am doing in my own home, and suggest *not* using Gorilla glue. Though it’s great for many things, bear in mind that it expands/ poofs up as it dries; That may explain why your pennies weren’t lining up when you laid them down… they shifted as the glue dried. Just a thought.

    Btw, people have said great things about this glue for penny projects: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=1418

    • I actually didn’t use the poofy gorilla glue… though not because I have any foresight and thought about that little problem. We used a gorilla glue “super glue”, it comes in a tiny little bottle and costs twice as much, lol. We tried the regular poofy stuff (you can see it in a pic I believe), but it didn’t stick immediately and the super glue did, so that’s what we went with. Thank for taking the time to send that tip though, I’ll update the post as not to lead anyone astray. What kind of penny project are you doing in your house?

      • Michal Boyars says:

        A penny mural! It is of stalks of wheat…let’s see how it turns out! :)

        • Holy cow that sounds amazing! So are you using the different colors of pennies to make the shapes? And when you say mural…how big is it? You HAVE to send me a picture when you are finished. Seriously.

  123. I love these! I am going to post a link on facebook! Its a have to share!

  124. Toilet bowl cleaner super cleans and shines coins all in one easy step. No brushing with soda paste, then buffing.

  125. sick as hell

  126. Just wondering, if the wrapped pennies had worked how would you have epoxyed the sides of the counter without gravity making it drip off?

  127. Hi Ashley,

    I just did a painted penny tile back splash in our kitchen and after seeing your countertop I’m wondering if I could have glued and painted pennies instead. It looks very cool, and I love the kitchen as well. :) (www.makingitworthy.com)

  128. I love your blog, I am planning on covering my Kitchen floor in pennies with alot of help from my son. I hope the epoxy works, I can’t find any other product that would give the thickness I need to cover the pennies. I love your bar

  129. Wow! Love it! We have a ton and I mean ton of 1940′s steel pennies and late 1800′s indian head pennies. I think we will make a couple accent tables now that I see your project. The indian heads are only worth up to a dollar each and the steel pennies arent worth more than a few cents. Unless a person finds a 1943 copper penny, then don’t waste time taking it to your local coin dealer! Rare and worth alot!

  130. Love it, what a job! I had to laugh when you said you poured it and left it overnight to set up. In my house the next morning it would surely have added cat prints in the surface!

  131. David Kristufek says:

    Wonderful ideas, my wife and I live in an old farm house over 100 years old that we r trying to fix up as cheaply as possibly considering I am unable to find work where we live. so anything like this I cherish, please feel free to contact anytime you like always lookin to share new ideas. I am an artist I love to reuse things like this as well, check out my art and tell me what you think.
    Kristufek, an environmental artist.

  132. Girl this is the coolest project ever! I luv your blog, its so unique and creative… keep it up I am inspired!
    Lizz recently posted..More Easter Eggs!My Profile

  133. QUESTION: Delightful post, beautiful floor. I also love your paper bag floor! I wonder about the quantity of epoxy. Your first was too shallow – about how much did you use? I am trying to figure out the quantity of epoxy I will need for my project – two areas, each about 4×4 feet. My surface will be different (just bare wood, I think) but I want the durability you produced. One will be a dog grooming areas for my wife’s pups, and the other an outside rain-exposed tabletop. How many square feet at what thickness do you estimate you get per quart or gallon? Thanks in advance for your help.

  134. Brilliant! I should do something like this now that the Canadian penny has been discontinued. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    Finding Humour in Everyday Life
    Sarah De Diego (Journeys of The Zoo) recently posted..Ronald McDonald House is Making a Difference in Your Community {Cause}My Profile

  135. I love how it looks. :) The project was not only great because of the outcome, but how the siblings worked together to help you make it happen. :)
    Bonnie recently posted..Tips On Decorating A Small Living Room – First PartMy Profile

  136. I was wondering what type of epoxy you used. I have done a tabletop for a boat with pictures of visitors embedded in epoxy–like you said, blew out the bubbles with a hair dryer, and it worked great. I was able to set hot items on the table, direct from the oven. Can you do that with this? Do you think it’s practical to use all over the kitchen, or only where it’s more decorative than functional?

  137. Not to be a dick, but i’m pretty sure cutting pennies is not just difficult but illegal. I think that falls into the whole “defacing federal currency” thing.

    • You’re not being a dick, and you’re certainly not the first person to ask me this. Here is a snippet from the social security website (http://www.secretservice.gov/money_law.shtml)

      “Anyone who manufactures a counterfeit U.S. coin in any denomination above five cents is subject to the same penalties as all other counterfeiters. Anyone who alters a genuine coin to increase its numismatic value is in violation of Title 18, Section 331 of the United States Code, which is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.”

      From what I can tell, it’s not illegal to alter a coin if you are not trying to pass it off as being worth more than it is. It also specifies that the coin needs to be above five cents in value to be subject to penalties even if I was trying to pass pennies off as more then they are worth. So, as far as I can tell, using pennies for decor projects is perfectly acceptable. Perhaps not smiled upon, but not illegal.

  138. Rory Reding says:

    Ashley…you are truly an inspiration! You and TDC blogs have given me the confidence to try my hand at repurposing furniture, DIY, upcycle…etc…however, I do not have a supportive hubby. He thinks its all crap and doesn’t want it in his house. How do I try to convince him that this is cheap, fun and crafty??

    • Oh no, an unsupportive husband is really a DIY buzz kill! If I was in your position this is what I would do…find 5, 10, 15 (however many he’s up for) DIY projects that you would be interested in doing and go through them with him. Ask what he likes and doesn’t like about each one. Then pick something to do that is EXACTLY what he said he likes (even if you hate it) and create it (furniture is probably safe). Make sure not complain about it at all, even if it is a huge disaster. Hopefully he won’t hate it and will appreciate the money you saved. Then go from there, creating things that suit his taste until he decides DIY isn’t so bad. Then go hog wild :)

  139. Where do you live, Ashley? Would love to be your neighbor – you are my kinda gal! lol.

  140. The greatest idea I could help you with ( your job is amazing)
    that pennies come clean and shiny with SWISH toilet bowl
    cleaner. The product is safe for your hands believe it or not!

    Great job in the kitchen!

  141. I’ve been dreaming of doing this to a room since I was twelve. But I am going to do it to the floor. I am now 26. Some day.

    Ben

  142. Not sure if this question was already asked, there were SOOOOOO many comments…lol My question is: When you poured the thick epoxy on the pennies, did any of them try to move? Or are they heavy enough that they stay still while you’re pouring and spreading it out? Thanks very much & I love how it turned out! :o)

    • Nope, I don’t think this has been asked before! The pennies didn’t move and we didn’t glue them down (not after the initial glue fiasco at least). We did have the lip on the edge holding them all in and they were packed in there pretty tightly though.

  143. WOW! This is awesome!! I realize y’all ran into a few snags along the way but, y’all really did a great job!! My husband & I are in the middle of remodeling our house (first time home owners & DIY’ers). Although he has the ability & the tools, it’s still such a learning process all together and can be super frustrating! Again, y’all did such a great job!! I found your blog through IHeart Organizing! So glad, new follower!
    Shayna recently posted..Wedding Rewind – The Reception!My Profile

  144. Gorgeous! Love this look, I’d really like to do something like this somewhere… someday! Thanks for all the tips!

  145. wow… each penny worths a lot..
    thanks for this great idea..

  146. *GASP*
    Why oh why didn’t I find this post before Canada eliminated pennies??? This would be PERFECT for my bathroom countertop. I want raised glass sinks, & this would look stunning beneath them!
    Perhaps I could do the same with some pretty river pebbles, but it won’t have the sheen & spark of the copper.
    Beautiful.

  147. The best method I’ve found for cleaning anything copper, including pennies, is to cover with plain old tomato ketchup and let set for anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how shiny and clean you want them. Lay them on the palm of your hand and gently scrub with a Scotch Brite scrubby, toss into a stainer or colander, rinse and buff dry with a clean cloth…..depending on the copper content of the penny (newer ones are more alloy than copper), they can come out of the bath looking almost new!

  148. There’s a similar tutorial on the epobot blog (the same woman that does Cakewrecks) that I think is a little more detailed. Might give answers to a lot of some of the people asking.

  149. This is awesome, I’ve seen penny toilet seat covers but never a penny breakfast bar. Now you’re giving me lots of ideas and I want to now go home, rip out my countertops and line them with fancy colorful post cards and epoxy.

  150. I love it, and want to do this with an old L-shaped desk that I have. I would leave the top as it. Think it is clever and looks wonderful.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Penny Countertops from Domestic Imperfection [...]

  2. [...] Penny Countertop – Ashley @ Domestic Imperfection [...]

  3. [...] well, take a look at this penny-awesome-ness! Wow! See the details for this penny counter top at Domestic Imperfection. [...]

  4. [...] Penny Countertop by Domestic Imperfection. [...]

  5. [...] But Ashley at Domestic Imperfection took on this task, lived to tell about it, and has provided great instructions and tips for making an epoxied penny countertop. [...]

  6. [...] Ama Ashley, bu görevi üstlendi bu konuda anlatmak için yaşamış ve büyük talimatlar ve ipuçları . [...]

  7. [...] I have a thing about penny floors and counters. I just think they are the coolest. So I let out a little squeal when I saw Ashley’s countertop: [...]

  8. [...] Penny Countertops from Domestic Imperfection [...]

  9. [...] houseandhome designtrawler domesticimperfection apartmenttherapy  thecraftedsparrow iheartnaptime [...]

  10. [...] one’s from Domestic Imperfection. She (and her crew of “volunteers) went through a lot of trial and error to make this, so you [...]

  11. [...] Penny Countertop via Domestic Imperfection [...]

  12. [...] Penny countertop by Domestic Imperfection. [...]

  13. Google says:

    Google…

    Here is an excellent Blog You might Find Intriguing that we Encourage You…

  14. Google says:

    Google…

    one of our guests lately encouraged the following website…

  15. [...] at Domestic Imperfection painted her old laminate bar countertop black and glued pennies on it with Gorilla Glue.  The bar [...]

  16. [...] Here’s another interesting idea, this time for the kitchen: a penny countertop. Basically the whole idea is to glue pennies to the countertop. In order to do that, you’ll first have to laminate the countertop. Then paint it black. Use vinegar and salt to give the pennies a shiny look. Then start gluing them one by one. You can cut the pennies if you want to glue them to the side as well. Then put epoxy on the whole countertop, spread it with a brush and let it dry.{found on site}. [...]

  17. [...] Here’s another interesting idea, this time for the kitchen: a penny countertop. Basically the whole idea is to glue pennies to the countertop. In order to do that, you’ll first have to laminate the countertop. Then paint it black. Use vinegar and salt to give the pennies a shiny look. Then start gluing them one by one. You can cut the pennies if you want to glue them to the side as well. Then put epoxy on the whole countertop, spread it with a brush and let it dry.{found on site}. [...]

  18. [...] minute I saw these penny countertops I thought of my friend Ashley at Domestic Imperfection who did a recent DIY penny countertop. (That’s one of Firefly’s Signature Cocktails on the bar-a Cucumber [...]

  19. [...] One Cent Counter by Domestic Imperfection [...]

  20. [...] the past, we’ve seen pennies used to surface backsplashes and flooring. Now Domestic Imperfection demonstrates how they can look like a million bucks in DIY countertops. The cost? Literally [...]

  21. [...] Penny Countertop – This is something I want to do, but maybe not pennies. I could see this working with tons of little objects – great tutorial. [...]

Thank you for your comments!

CommentLuv badge