Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Penny Challenge

If you have been reading along you know that I am taking a 12 week class called Nontraditional Materials for Jewelers.  So far we have worked in paper pulp and made beads, we also used stacked paper and resin to make cabs to be put into a setting.  The paper beads were a waste of time in my book, why would I bother with such a nasty material when I can make glass ones.  On the other hand the stacked paper and resin will be something I plan on working more with, it has a ton of possibilities and with time some really great things could happen with this medium.

During the first class we were handed 15 pennies and told to create something with them.  We could use as few or as many as we liked but our project must have pennies as an element.  I thought it would be fun to take a design that I love and try to incorporate the pennies into it. After running a bunch through the rolling mill and then trying to anneal them at the torch I found that pennies made before 1980 are best for manipulating.  I ended up with some blobs of who knows what on my torch table.  Since only 3 of my 15 pennies made it though the annealing process and then they were not as easy to manipulate as I had hoped, none of these got made into leaves for my project so back to the drawing board.  Next I annealed a bunch of pennies made before 1980 then drilled a hole in the middle,  domed them with the Lincoln head out because it is the smoother side.  The last thing I did to them was enamel them in oriental red. Since I haven't had much experience enameling it took some time to figure out how thick the enamel needed to be and how hot everything had to get for a nice even coat but in the end I love the looks of penny caps.

It is doubtful that I will win any prize for my design but I did take the challenge and use pennies in a nontraditional way.  I may do more of this pennies make a very nice heavy gauge bead cap.

Please don't comment on how it is against the law to deface money.  These are only pennies folks and my teacher said she had Obama's permission to use them in this fashion :)

Now for the bead porn .....

Here is a photo showing the process of a penny becoming a flower.
One Cent Flowers :)
Close up since the other photo didn't capture the color well


  1. I'm sure I have at least 10,000 pennies. How big of a penny garden do you want to make?

  2. Where do you think the second set of pennies came from :)

  3. Very Cool! I love using every day items is jewelry.