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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ready to see my mystery office desktop? The one John and I have been working so hard on for the past few weeks? And learn how we did it?


I mean, I know *I'm* excited.

Here, I'll ease you in slowly. It all started....[dramatic pause]...WITH THESE:

DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNN!!

And it became...[more dramatic pausing]...THIS:

Ta-DA!

Ok, that's not the best shot. Here, try this one:

Oooh. Aaaah.


Now, on to the photo-intensive tutorial/progress shots! If you want to try this yourself, or just see how insane *we* are, keep scrolling.



First, if you want your top to have any shine to it, you're going to need to polish up some of the pennies you're using. Here's a quick way to do that:

Fill your bowl about a quarter of the way with pennies, pour in a little Tarn-X, and then swish and shake the bowl around over the sink (in case of splashes) to evenly expose the coins to the liquid. This only takes a matter of seconds. When they seem evenly shined up, dump the lot into a colander in the sink and rinse well.

From there, dump the batch onto an old towel to dry them:

I polished roughly half of the pennies I planned to use, so there would still be plenty of color variation. Still, it would also look amazing to have the entire surface polished, so the choice is up to you.

Next you're going to need a surface to adhere the pennies to. John built this desktop out of plywood, and then painted it flat black:

This fits in a cubby between two bookshelves, so only the front edge is rounded prettily. (Routers: very useful.) Oh, and those pennies aren't glued down; we were just testing out the pattern.

To begin, start with the oh-so-important front edge:

John clamped a long metal ruler down to use as a straight edge, which I used as a guide to glue on the rounded pennies.

And how do you round those pennies, you ask?

Well, we used these:


That's an old titanium ring of John's with a bit of electrical tape wrapped inside. After a bit of trial and error, John found that clamping a penny inside it with pliers made just the right curve to fit the desk edge. However, be warned, ye of lesser hand strength: this is HARD. I tried with all my might and couldn't get the penny to budge, much less bend. Even John wore a heavy work glove to protect his palm while working.

NOTE: If you don't want to (or can't) bend pennies for the edge, you still fill the flat top of your surface with pennies. So don't get hung up on the bending thing: it adds a nice touch, but is not really necessary.

Once the first line of bent pennies are glued down (ah, Gorilla glue, my old friend...) it's a simple, if time-consuming, matter to fill the rest of the desktop:

This wouldn't have taken me quite so long if I weren't arranging the pennies in a non-random random arrangement. That is to say, it *looks* random, but only by design. I mixed the various colors and designs just so, to get it all consistent.

I kept a small bowl of "special" pennies on hand to mix in at regular intervals. These included wheat pennies, prettily corroded pennies, and the various new back designs from 2009 and '10. I even have a few Canadian pennies in there, plus one from the Bahamas (which has the prettiest penny design, really) almost smack in the middle.

To keep the coins from shifting, you really do need to glue each and every one down. However, it doesn't take much glue to do it:

I was about to apologize for the blur when I realized John took this shot. (John! Get in here and apologize!)

Almost done!
The pennies hanging off the edge were for John to trim off with a Dremel later.

At this point John took over with the Dremel and heavy-duty snips. He trimmed the edges and cut penny slivers to fill in the small spaces.


As you can see, for the corners he had to cut the pennies on the seam *and* bend them to fit the curve. Not easy. This all took him about two nights. (By the time the desktop was completely covered with pennies, we'd been working on it for about 6 nights.)

Next comes the scariest part of all: covering your top in bartop epoxy.


We set our desk on sawhorses in a small room with the floor covered in heavy plastic sheeting. Because the epoxy takes a few days to cure, you need an area with minimal dust, bugs, and pet hair blowing around (close your room's air vent, if you can). The plastic covering the floor is also *extremely* important. You'll see why in a sec.

Here goes nothin'...

You may notice our epoxy is tinted a golden orange. This is not intentional: it's just old. Heh. However, since the stuff is so expensive (well over $100), we decided to use it anyway. Waste not, save money, right? Besides, the tint just makes the pennies slightly more golden, which actually looks rather nice:

Once all the epoxy is poured on, it's time to start tipping the desk slightly to get the epoxy to spread out to all the edges.

See why that plastic is important? You really, REALLY don't want this stuff on your carpet.

"Somebody blows their nose and you want a sample?"

Ahem. Once all the edges are coated, you can use a small spoon or spatula to scoop some of the epoxy off the plastic on the floor and back onto the top:

The epoxy self-levels, but we had to go over that curved edge several times to make sure it filled in all the gaps. (Even so, our front edge is not perfectly smooth; it has ripples over all the coins. I think it feels kinda cool, though.)

But wait, we're not done yet!

Next, get out your BLOW TORCH:

And you thought I was kidding.

The torch is to get rid of bubbles in your epoxy. And believe me, there are going to be lots and lots of bubbles. Keeping the flame about 6 inches away from the surface, pass it over the surface and watch those bubbles magically lift up and away, leaving behind a nice, glass-smooth skin.

And NOW...we wait. For about two days. (I think it's dry to the touch after one, though.)

And then...
Voila! An über cool penny desk!

Here's a close-up:

It looks amaaazing, if I do say so myself. I'm letting it cure an extra few days before putting anything heavy on it, though - like a vintage typewriter, perhaps? We'll see.

Also, once the desk was installed I realized I need something equally amazing to go on the wall *over* it. (Currently that's the only blank wall left in my entire office.) Which means: yup, another project! John and I are already eight hours into it, and I'm typing this completely covered in sawdust. So. Fun. But, that's for another day.

In the meantime, I hope to pick up more with posts; I know they've been a bit sparse lately. John helped me catch up on e-mail, so now I have tons of goodies to share. You guys send in the best stuff - keep it up! In fact, I think I'll feature some of your crafty triumphs next, so stay tuned for that!

Posted by Jen at 10:57 PM Labels: ,

192 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness Jen! It looks gorgeous!! You two are so amazing, I just love looking at all your projects. Where did you get the idea for this? The smushed pennies from the theme parks?

    Love, love LOVE it!!

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  2. Shut. Up. That desk is freaking AWESOME!!!! I love checking out your creative little (or big) projects.

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  3. Absolutely INSPIRED! I adore this! What an incredible idea, and you both did an amazing job making it a reality! I have so many unique coins that would be fabulous for something like this...I believe I even have a galleon from a Harry Potter event that deserves some prominence. Someday, I will have a penny table of my very own!!

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  4. *squeeeeee* Super Cute! Very jealous. I can't have nice htings like that in my house. It'd be like trying to polish a turd. We need to get out of this house, so. very. badly.

    Jealous!

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  5. So awesome. So how many pennies on the desk? Or is that going to be a contest later? Where do you come up with such amazing ideas! Love it and can't wait to see the next project!

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  6. you are submitting to apartment therapy, yes?

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  7. That is just flat-out awesome!!! I'm so impressed by your mad skillz.

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  8. Do the banks really keep that many pennies on hand or did you have to make a special request? That's a LOT of pennies.

    I almost had a wreck for you but bakery lady was lurking. May have to make an excuse to go back to the store.

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  9. Oh my god you guys are so awesome!!!!!!
    This is the first time I've commented but I've followed your blogs all along.
    I was never a fan of the geeky comic stuff or even knew what steampunk was until I started reading it on your blog. You guys so totally rock!!

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  10. You guys come up with the best projects EVER. It makes me want to be rich so I can get materials and do all sorts of neat weird stuff like this.

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  11. GORGEOUS!! Very creative, very cool to look at.

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  12. This is such a cool idea! I didn't even know you could by a $25 box of pennies. At the rate you and John are going, you could publish a penny craft book : )

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  13. GENIUS! You two are amazing-between your skill and great ideas you are unstoppable! Very inspiring. Thanks for showing all the steps-it makes the project that much more impressive to see how much work goes into it. And you both must be strooooong too, it must weigh a ton! Congrats on the finished project!

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  14. Gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  15. I got over 25 smushed pennies and a smushed quarter when I went to DW last week, can't wait to make some jewelery out of it!

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  16. That is wonderful and a great tutorial. I think you two should consider a DIY TV show. I love bar top epoxy projects and have always wanted to do a car in the stuff if I could ever decide what to decorate with. There are so many possibilities. Do you know if the epoxy has any UVA protection to keep stuff from fading?

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  17. That is beautiful! I love how you use pennies for everything! Jewelry, Souvenirs, AND decorating!

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  18. Incredible! What a gorgeous tabletop!

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  19. WOW! Very nice. I wondered what you would cover the pennies with to make them smooth. I could also see that you could make different shapes with the different colored pennies.

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  20. I've been wanting to do a penny backsplash behind mt stove but I rent so it's going to have to wait.

    The desk looks awesome!

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    Replies
    1. You could put the pennies on laminate tiles (glue the pennies to the tiles, remove sticky back and stick to wall) so they can be removed if the landlord wants. I would think it would seen it as a nice upgrade.

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  21. Oh my gosh, Jen. That looks amazing! I can't believe that you thought of this. I would never have gotten the idea in a million years. It looks so great!. I want one now.

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  22. That is awesome. Can't wait to see what's going to go over it on the wall. (And I bet it weighed a ton once it was done.)

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  23. Fantastic! What a transformation! I mean, change. Get it, "change"...?

    Yeah, I'll stop now...

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  24. Wow! This is really amazing! I wish my house was half as cool as yours is!

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  25. Very cool! What a great idea, and it really looks terrific!

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  26. Fabulous! There is (was?) a children's museum in St Louis that had a floor done w/ change in the gift store, but this is even better.Nice job

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  27. I LOVE this idea!!!!!!!!! I'm already thinking about how I could do it on a smaller scale. (small place, no blow torch, epoxy or built in desk)....got an idea brewing. I'll share it if I do it.

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  28. HOLY COW. Wow. Speechless. I'm afraid to show this to my partner because I'm afraid he's going to want to DO it and our apartment is too small and unventilated for that much epoxy use.

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  29. I was with you in trying this with something until the epoxy and blowtorch. The former's price scares me and the latter? Well, that just scares me. But it does inspire a project. Hmmmm.

    Question, how incredibly heavy is the desk, now, with all of those pennies and that epoxy?

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  30. My partner saw this and immediately thought of doing a similar thing with bottle caps. You've created a monster!!!

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  31. It's coin day. This morning, I saw this amazing bathroom floor done with nickels. http://www.dudecraft.com/2010/09/if-i-had-nickel.html

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  32. Ooh ooh ooh! *pointing, hopping, dancing* Ooh ooh ooh!

    *yells to husband in the next room* "Have you seen Epbot yet?"
    "Not yet, why?"
    "Cuz I'm the one that suggested the pennies!!!"
    "Oh really?"
    *And hubby goes to look, totally ignoring the fact that he's in combat on World of Warcraft...*

    I gotta hand it to you, Jen and John. Ya'll made that look goooood. And bending the pennies? Daaaaaang.

    Now that I feel all special and happy, I'm going back to bed.

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  33. @ Green - it's really not as heavy as you might think! Far less than stone or granite, for example, but a bit more than your average laminated top.

    @theclam - we decided many months ago to tile our guest bathroom floor with pennies. ;) That's on the back burner right now, though; lots more pressing crafts to finish first!

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  34. That's amazing, you guys are so talented!! I love seeing all of the wonderful new things you cone up with. Also, love the reference to Ghostbusters, it's one of my fave movies!

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  35. Syldoran,

    Actually, the whole project was very cheap considering. We used just under two thousand pennies which is twenty bucks. Then the plywood for the desk was ten at Home Depot. I had some leftover epoxy from my painting days and yeah, that brand is pretty expensive but you can get other epoxy online for maybe $45. Finally, you need a $10 Creme Brulee torch and about 20 spare hours. And voila!

    For comparison, a laminate counter that size from Home Depot would be about $50 where this was only $85. And it's nearly indestructible.

    john

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  36. FanTAbulous! That is the coolest thing I've ever seen that isn't made of yarn! Awesome awesome awesome!

    My only question is, how did ya'll manage to breathe during the epoxy stage? I wouldn't try that without ventilation...but I have terrible allergies.

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  37. Hey Hira,

    The brand I used was Pour On and it is nearly odorless. There's some stinky stuff out there though so read the packaging and be careful.

    john

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  38. wow!! neat idea & what an amazing job! thanks for sharing all that!

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  39. "Egon, your mucus."

    I have to say that throwaway GB line really made me laugh, and it was partially because I was thinking THE EXACT SAME THING.

    "Listen! Do you smell something?"

    An idea for those of us who are large-amounts-of-varnish-or-glue-being-poured-or-painted-onto-something challenged (which means we splatter it all over ourselves and make a HUGE mess that is really hard to clean up, no matter how hard we try NOT to make a mess).

    I liked the idea of just covering the top with pennies and not having to worry about the curved edges, mostly because I KNOW the pain of trying to bend metal (I own horses--bending metal is something I do on a regular basis). If you go that route, then you can buy a piece of glass to go over the pennies. Just glue the corners down with clear museum-quality glue and you're all set.

    Overall...freaking great idea. Can't wait to see the next one!

    Oh, and to jump on the DIY bandwagon, what about an epbot craft book that includes this and other creations? I have already been inspired by your shadowbox work--I have bought my fancy background paper and am deciding on the right setup for my shadowboxes now!

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  40. That is the coolest desktop...EVER!

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  41. This is absolutely brilliant! It looks like it came from an exhibition- you guys make beautiful things, as always. Thank you for showing people how to make original designs out of modest little objects.

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  42. The down side to reading Epbot... not a "crafty" bone in my body. Nope, just can't do craft projects. But love this... As someone said to me recently about something that I do, I'll say to John & Jen--I'll just live vicariously through you... :)

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  43. Wow! I know I'm pleased when I do something little like move the furniture around from room to room (when DH is at work, so he can come home and say, WTH?) Anyway, you two must be really really psyched about this one. I bet it just glows against that dark wood floor and pale robin's egg blue paint. Gorgeous.

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  44. Oh, wow. Wow. That is amazing. And beautiful.

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  45. We have a bar in town called the Penny Bar Pub... because the entire surface of the bar is covered in pennies!

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  46. On beyond awesome on this one!

    I also found a site you might like with steampunk wedding stuff. http://poptasticbride.com/tag/geeky-wedding-themes/

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  47. This is one of the greatest things I've ever seen! I really want to do this to something, now.

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  48. I've been trying to cover my barstools with something different, now I know what I'm going to do! Love it! Thank you for showing us how you do this so we can steal some of your wonderful creativity.

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  49. Seriously? This is utterly amazing! You guys have outdone yourselves!

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  50. Very nice. My college town had a bar with tons of pennies on every surface and penny sculptures, we called it the Penny Bar (it's real name was The Other Place). Awesome!

    Rosalind
    Girls Are Geeks

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  51. Amazing! You originally inspired me to start decorating with Steam Punk. So I've started with a corner of my living room(which bleeds into the kitchen). I've been wondering what to do next and ta-daaa! You have provided! I have a kitchen table that is in desperate need of refinishing. Looks like I've got a project!

    Thank you guys for all your inspiration and ESPECIALLY for your easy to understand tutorials. Ya'll really make it work chewing through the restraints in the morning!

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  52. Wow! That is truly amazing. I would love to have something like that in my house, but less than halfway through such a project I'd be flinging my tools through a closed window.

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  53. This is SO COOL! Great job you guys!

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  54. That is the coolest desk. Ever!

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  55. I marvel. At first glance I thought you had contact paper on it, ha! But I knew better :) My 8-year old son just walked by and was stunned as well, "Is that PENNIES?!?" You might have a new, young groupie :) Thanks for the inspiration!

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  56. that is the coolest desk ever!! LOVE it!

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  57. THUNK! OW! That was the sound of my jaw hitting the desk.

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  58. Now, in *normal* circles (school moms, church choir, library volunteer, etc.) I'm considered to be a fairly crafty person. However, when I look at the stuff you and your hubby come up with, I am absolutely gob-smacked, and I'm Not. Even. From. England. Seriously, you guys have super-human alien genius mad skills in the creativity department. Canicomeover?

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  59. That is awesome. I love it. It reminds me of a bartop my grandparents in Florida have - they have an attached to the house, screened in pool area with a "tiki bar" at the far end, complete with thatched roof. The bar itself has a bunch of neat things put in there on purpose - the edge is rimmed with an old rope (one you would see used to tie boats to docks), there is a bunch of international bills and coins, some neat old pictures and I think there are some flowers as well. One of the neatest (though not so humane, and totally unintentional) things is the lizard. The bar was set up in place before being epoxied and a lizard stepped into the epoxy while it was still really wet, sunk in and got stuck...it settled and the top is completely smooth over it....it looks really neat, though I wouldn't recommend anyone put any live lizards (or anything else) in their epoxied-table top...

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  60. That is so cool. My new laundry room might need penny floors!

    City Museum in St. Louis has done part of their floors in pennies. If you are ever in St. Louis you should check it out. It is the best thing to do in the city hands down.
    http://www.citymuseum.org/home.asp

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  61. That is totally awesome. I've done a lot of stuff with epoxy...I use the 1 to 1 epoxy called Envirotex Lite, and I loves it. I never have had a blowtorch though. What also works (but is more labor intensive) to get rid of all the bubbles is to exhale all over it. Not blow on it but exhale--it's not the force of the air that does it. Can get a bit light-headed (lol) but it works great. I've redone ugly countertops by painting them then epoxying over. This looks fantastic; great job!!

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  62. There is a very easy way to make pennies easier to bend - anneal them! Simply put your penny on a heat resistant surface, take your torch, and heat the penny to a a light pink (turn the lights off so you can see it better) for about 30 to 45 seconds. Take some tongs or pliers and drop the hot penny in a bucket of water. This moves the atoms of the metal around so they're not so tightly packed, and you can bend the penny with (relative) ease!

    There will be some black schmutz on the pennies (copper oxide - don't breathe or eat it!). I think the polish will help reshine them, otherwise a mild acid and some elbow grease will get the oxide off. Then, you can re-darken some by hard-boiling an egg, cutting the egg open to expose the yolk, and sealing the pennies in the bag with the warm egg yolk. The sulphur in the egg will slowly re-oxidize the surface to give you that nice aged color.

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  63. That is GORGEOUS! And I may copy the idea for an coffee table.

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  64. Love this! My friends and I saw a floor covered in pennies at the Standard Grill in New York City. We were so fascinated that we had to take a photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/liqthemoon/4568306193/in/set-72157623845522567/ If that were my desktop, I think I'd never get anything done. I'd just stare and stare and run my hands over it and be very very happy (but not productive).

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  65. Love the project, and would totally buy the penny craft book that nurse-heather suggested!

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  66. That's awesome! I'll take my minimal credit for suggesting "copper" as a color/finish, although this NEVER occurred to me. Which is kind of funny because I was once in a bar (somewhere in Indiana/Illinois) where all the tables were covered in coin designs - flowers, starbursts, etc. covered with really super-thick epoxy because the drunks will ALWAYS try to dig them out.

    Terrific job

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  67. Nicely done! I actually just tackled this (almost) exact project myself about a month ago. When my husband and I merged houses he had a cheap kitchen table with a faux wood laminate top that sat outside for years and years. So when we moved and the top started peeling up, we helped it along and covered it in pennies! But since ours is now a bistro table for outside, I had to grout the finished product...but I love the epoxy - enjoy your desk!

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  68. This. is. awesome.

    Bahamian money is really pretty; lots of starfish, sea urchins, clownfish, etc. I'll save some change and send it to you the next time my family vacations there, which we do as often as we can.

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  69. GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I WANTS!!!!!!!!!!!

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  70. Jen, Please point me in the direction to where I can find a man like John haha No but seriously, he amazes me EVERY SINGLE TIME. You guys are freakin fantastic! :D

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  71. >>GASP<<
    That looks freakin' fantastic!

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  72. That. Is. So. Amazingly. Cool.

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  73. Did you get any cool pennies in the $50 you used? Any wheat back, or older?

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  74. You are amazing!!!!

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  75. You. Are. INSANE!

    But, I have to say I love the end result. Very awesome desktop!

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  76. First, thanks for getting that damn song in my head.

    Second, this turned out awesome!! Thanks for sharing the how-to! :)

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  77. WOW, Jen and John. That is so incredibly cool! You two make such beauty :)

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  78. Beautiful!! I'm so glad you didn't shine EVERY penny. The texture is wonderful!

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  79. Wow! That is stinkin' awesome. Way to go. Totally love the uniqueness of it, too.

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  80. WOW, WOW, and one more WOW!!!! I am speechless! That is sooooo freaking awesome! Truely inspiring and amazaing!

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  81. That looks incredible. It seems a small miracle you don't have kitty prints and/or fur in the epoxy though! Thanks so much for sharing your projects - can't wait to see the next one!

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  82. I now have serious SERIOUS desk envy.

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  83. this is out of control awesome.

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  84. Awesome! Amazing! WOW! I want a penny desk!

    So, I want to know how much did your desk "cost"? You know, how many pennies did you use?

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  85. This is so fabulous! It's so beautifully smooth and shiny that at first I thought you'd photocopied pennies onto oil-cloth (which would have been amazing) but the fact you've made the surface so oil-on-water perfect is amazing! Well done, super-crafters! xxx

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  86. You can also use a heat gun to pop the bubbles. It's elecctric and no flame! So, easier for some.

    Great job.

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  87. Speaking of vintage typewriters, have you seen this? http://www.usbtypewriter.com/

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  88. This looks amazing. I'm just waiting for the FINAL TOUR!! Everything looks beautiful! I wish I could do amazing stuff like this -- it looks so fun! :D

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  89. awesome congrats on making apt therapy

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  90. I love it! And I think you and John are so darn cute with your projects.

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  91. Too right! This desk is faboosh Jenn & John!

    Although I have always, and still do love CW, I'm SOO glad you started Epbot, it's the neatest blog, just the right amount of girlish geekery and goofing off. I'm always happier after I've left here... And you're so dang crafty too, I love it!

    Oh, also I wanted to let you know that I can totally blame or give credit, depending on how you see it, for my newly burgeoning obsession, steampunk anything. I'd never heard of steampunk before reading about it here on Epbot. My eyes have been opened! I always liked that look of what I called "Vicotian mechaniry", but I'd never heard the term. So thanks for that too!
    Have a craft-taculiar day!
    Lisa

    p.s. I'm sure you know already, but your beautiful desk was featured on Dudecraft today, congratulations!

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  92. it's like the symetrical penny stacking of 1908!

    i LOVE your GB references.

    now i want to go epoxy something...anything. wonder if i can epoxy my kid?
    hmmmm

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  93. This is stunning, really it is just an amazing piece and you both should be extremely proud :D The desk looks so awesome, I could comfortably see it being sold in some well-to-do, expensive furniture boutique :)
    very, very jealous of you! x

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  94. LOVE! WANT! Must make something out of pennies! :goes tearing off through apartment in rabid search for pennies to save to make own awesomeness:

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  95. That. Is. Awesome. :D Now I almost wish I'd kept my penny collection...

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  96. that. is. so . COOL!
    love reading your stuff, always puts a smile on my face !

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  97. You guys are simply amazing. Not just your creativity and crafting skills, but your teamwork! I'm pretty sure my husband would have quit after about ten pennies.

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  98. Wow, that is incredible! Can't wait to see what's going over (and on) it!!

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  99. Bending the pennies would be easier with longer-handled pliers or a vise. Leverage.

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  100. tiny purple elephantSeptember 29, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    good job guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  101. Wow. That is gorgeous. You two are amazing. Thanks for sharing all of your awesome projects with us!

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  102. I liked the reference to Ghost Busters.

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  103. so so cool!

    I saw that pic of the New York place that has the penny floor, and immediately knew that was what I needed to finish our bathroom. I hope our project turns out as well as yours did!

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  104. that is AMAZING. I want one :) I have honestly never seen anything like it.

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  105. What a cool and creative desktop! You never fail to amaze me with your projects and ideas. Since I do not have a crafty bone in my body and because of you I am loving Steampunk now, I am going to have to bring you in to be a creative consultant on a home redo! haha. Thanks for sharing your ideas and pics. (When are you going to have one of yourself??)

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  106. *Jaw drops*

    Wowwww. Amazing. I am in awe.

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  107. That is absolutely incredible! I am in awe and totally jealous of how creative and talented you both are!

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  108. So gorgeous!

    I'm sure y'all have probably thought of it already, but do make sure that anything heavy going on the desk has felted feet! No good making sure the desk is dry enough to not dent under weight if it gets drag marks/scrapes on it from lateral movement (and it CAN happen; my dad did a project that was sort of similar when I was younger [he used seed beads instead of pennies-talk about tedious gluing!] and despite claims of no-scratch hardness...uh...yeah. Dude, he was PISSED.)

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  109. Oh. My. Gosh. THAT'S AWESOME! Me wantz! Actually, I want your office and everything in it. How much? :D

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  110. That is so clever and gorgeous! I absolutely love it.

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  111. You should geek out a keyboard like this.
    Kind of the best of both worlds.

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  112. That desk is absolutely amazing. Do you know how many pennies it took to make it? Oh yeah, what dimensions did you make it?

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  113. HOKEY PETE! That is amazing! You are sooo fortunate to have a hubby that will support your crafty nature, to the point of even sharing the work (but you already know that)! Keep it up--looks fantastic!

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  114. Jen - you rock! I was so tickled to see this post, as I've been working on tiling a small table for my living room with pennies. As soon as it's done, I was planning on emailing you a picture because I knew you'd love it! And, I love how you added the topcoat to make it smooth. I wasn't planning on it, but may add that to mine too.

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  115. That is INCREDIBLE!!!

    Wow. Seriously, just WOW.

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  116. IT LOOKS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! You guys are ridiculous, how do you come up with these things? I can only wish for half as much creativity as you have!

    Love it!

    Sara O

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  117. Although I was more than impressed by the creativity of the desk, but the Ghostbuster comment really made it over the top. I laughed out loud while sitting here at my desk in absolute silence. I got looks :)

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  118. I just have to say that is the most AMAZING desk EVER!!! I want one! Thanks for sharing, you guys are so skilled.

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  119. That is AWESOME. And far more work than I would ever be willing to put into something like that haha. You are so creative and I love reading how you do your projects even if I couldn't ever duplicate them myself.

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  120. I'm so inspired by your creativity. Even if I had the idea for a project like this, I don't think I would have followed through on it because it would seem too daunting. When you come up with ideas like this, where do you get the drive to follow through on them? I always seem to get overwhelmed by my creative project ideas....as witnessed by the unfinished scrapbook and several unframed pieces of art hanging about.

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  121. Absolutely LOVE the penny desktop!! You two are so amazingly creative... if I ever had the money, and you guys worked as interior designers, I'd hire you to help me in my poor white-walled, toddler-proofed house!

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  122. That is SO awesome! I want one. I also want one of these: http://www.element-collection.com/html/coffee_table.html
    because I'm a science nerd

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  123. You guys are the most creative people I know! Ok, well, I don't really know you, but it still counts, right! You're the best! I can't wait to see the "finished" post!

    YOU ROCK!

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  124. I freaking LOVE IT!!! I saw a penny kitchen counter and became obsessed - and then I ran across the blog with the guy who made a bathroom floor out of nickels...now this! I never thought of doing a desk! Now I *have* to! We're a military family so a counter or floor wasn't practical but ZOMG I'm so making myself a new desk! Heh I may even be able to finish one before the hubs gets home from Iraq :) You are awesome!!!!

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  125. I don't mean to nitpick, Jen, but philosophers have theorized that the furthest point from "random" is trying to be "random."

    Think about it.

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  126. I am TOTALLY doing this with all the useless foreign currency I have. I'll probably just make a really heavy frame for the whiteboard I need to put in my office. But I love this idea and I have over a mason jar of coins for other countries (and I'm too forgetful to remember to bring them when I go back, trust me, that dream has died).

    I never knew there was such a thing as Bartop Epoxy, that looks awesome!

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  127. My mom has a 2 drawer file cabinet she covered in pennies years ago. Next time I go there I'll have to take a picture so you can see!

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  128. You've just totally inspired me! That is an amazing idea. And you and John executed it so beautifully! Props to you both!

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  129. And how did you acquire the pennies from Brinks? Normally they are just new ones aren't they? Am asking because I collect pennies so I was amazed that you used wheat pennies in this project. Just a thought but using new pennies but giving them that old patina tarnished look would be great for a rustic appearance. Also anything that is grey colored would be a great appearance for those who decorate with silver objects....industrial style. Is there a way to make a mold from a real penny and substitute that instead? Would love to hear from this comment.

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  130. Wow! Your desk is amazing and I bow to your creativity. I saw someone do a penny floor and someone else do a floor with nickels and both looked amazing, but I've never seen a desk done and I love it.

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  131. dang, if I'd known this, I coulda sent you some UK pence and tuppence. they are smaller than dimes and larger than quarters, but you would've made them work, I know.

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  132. I think this is TOTALLY awesome! Wish I had the time/money/space to make my own! If youre looking for an idea for that back wall how about a steampunk-ish clock? One where you can see all the gears? Provided they are in a coppery color?

    WV: Dishe

    HONEY! I need you to get on the roof and adjust the dishe! My cooking show is all fuzzy!

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  133. Ack! That is SO COOL! I must ask tho, how is it holding up? Does the epoxy become truly rigid?
    -Tommy
    www.macguffinandpuffin.wordpress.com

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  134. For DANI who dreams of a PENNY BACKSPLASH: You should be able make one anyway! Just make it on a frame so you can hang it on the wall behind your stove. Then you can take it with you when you leave! And have a conversation piece of artwork, too. ;-)

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  135. My world doesn't make any sense! Awesome website! Will deff be back!

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  136. Fantastic! Now I'm wondering what could use a good coat of pennies around our house. Thanks for the great info!

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  137. Woohoo!! Saw that you were featured on another blog I read... "Under the Table and Dreaming". Still love this idea :)

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  138. We want to do a small wall in our bathroom in pennies. How did your wall above the shelf turn out, and do you have any tips? We'd really appreciate it. So excited to start!!

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  139. Can you email me the exact epoxy product to buy for a project like this, please? I have been asking at Home Depot and Lowes and they look at me like I left my brain at home and don't have a clue what to recommend. elanyhtak@yahoo.com

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  140. Wow! That's cool!
    Bending the edge pennies (and cutting the ones on the very edge) is really the piece de resistance.

    Where do you get "bar top expoxy"? And does it come in two parts that you mix together when you use it, as other epoxy does?

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  141. We're the ones who posted the Make:Projects tutorial. Here is ours. I like the idea of bending the pennies. It's interesting, pennies before a certain date are much more difficult to cut, I'm sure the same is true of bending as the composition changed. Doing it yourself and thus not paying for labor, I figured it costs about $7.50/sqft including the pennies and epoxy. Standard boring countertops at the bigbox stores were around $17/sqft!

    To answer Gary's question, you want to look for "2-part pour on epoxy." The one we used originally was Famowood Glazcoat. That remains pliable so will dent under heavy objects, but will work the dent out once the object is moved. Despite not being overly careful with it, we had our main kitchen countertop covered in $77 worth of pennies for 2 years before we moved and it still looked great. The apartment complex kept it and had no trouble renting the unit when we left. We're going to test a different epoxy from System 3 which is more expensive but I'm pretty sure cures rock hard. Whichever you use, follow the instructions carefully. For Famowood, you mix for 2min in one container, then pour into a second container, scraping the sides of the first, mix for 2 more min, and then pour onto your surface without scraping the sides. The reasoning for this is to avoid introducing unreacted resin to your surface. We used a torch the first time, but a heat gun really worked better. Just be sure it's clean so it doesn't blow dust onto the surface. The goal is to heat the bubbles, the air inside expands which pushes it to the surface quickly.

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  142. That is the most AMAZING DIY that I have come across in ages!!! It's gorgeous and worth the time and effort. I think I may well plan it for reno in my house. Thank you so much for the step-by-step. I've saved it to my files nd I've saved your site as well. Great site!!!!
    Kirsten

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  143. WOW! this is amazing...and I'd recommend ecopoxy craft resin for this if you are doing a kitchen counter: it's food-safe and has no odor...
    and imagine how cool this would be with beer bottle caps?

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  144. This looks great, but it's actually illegal to do this with US currency. http://moneyfactory.gov/historicallegislation.html
    Technically even a smooshed coin or torn bill are supposed to be turned in to be destoyed. I wonder if there is a hardware item that would give a similar effect like washers or copper plumbing supplies.

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  145. @ Jami - So long as you don't deface currency you intend to keep *using* as currency, it's not illegal here in the U.S. The exact wording of the law is here, if you'd like to check it out, but the pertinent line is: "...a fraudulent intent is required for violation. Thus, the mere act of compressing coins into souvenirs is not illegal, without other factors being present."

    That refers to smashed pennies, but I believe it applies to any instance of defacing currency for art projects or such.

    Not to mention there are restaurants with entire penny *floors*, and so far no one's been thrown in jail over it. ;)

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  146. Just ran into this post...I love it. BUT>>> I am wondering what it looks like with the design all complete (and the project on the wall) haha :) Great idea!!

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  147. Very cool....loved that you shared your techniques....thanks! My Parents own "The McKittrick Hotel & Penny Bar" in Southern Calif. They've become famous because my Dad pennied the entire bar area...everything! You can google it & see. They are also on facebook under Mike & Annie's McKittrick Hotel AKA The Penny Bar.
    ~~~Susie

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  148. Ever since I saw your glorious Penny Desk i've been dieing to do something similar without 100% copying it. It makes me think of a giant Mod Podge peice and I LOVE Mod Podge!! So today I happened upon a pinterest pin of a Lego table I believe to be at a Lego company. And be still my beating heart THERE came my plan! I plan on taking my childs play/train table and enrobbing it in Legos!! Ever since I was alittle girl I've been fasicnated with Legos and I plan to pass that on to my son.

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  149. You don't need a blow torch for the bubbles in the epoxy. Carbon Dioxide is what actually gets the bubbles to rise out, so you can just exhale over the area with the bubbles.

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  150. How do you think this would work on a kitchen floor?

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  151. I think it was 60 mins a few years back that had a family who wallpapered their bedroom in $1 and made a coverlet out of $5. Non permanent glue. Then they used the coverlet for a downpayment on a car when theirs died! I have a bunch of foreign coins I wanted to do a small table with but these pennies are beautiful! Think I'll start with the small table and work my way up to a penny project. Already talking to my hubby about redoing our kitchen bar like this! BEAUTIFUL!

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  152. Now HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!!! What a wonderful desk! LOVE IT!
    :) Mags / MagsGraphics

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  153. i'm from the bahamas and was just thinking how pretty this would be with our starfish pennies when i read that you had 1! how cool :)
    thanks for the tutorial!

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  154. It must drive people with O.C.D. crazy that the pennies aren't perfectly aligned LOL

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  155. Looks awesome! Im planning on doing this in our bathroom for the flooring to go with our copper vessel sink and am wondering what kind of epoxy I should use....I've tried to find diy step by step instructions online but the only ones I find use grout and I like the glossy clear epoxy look better...any suggestions would be appreciated! :)
    thanks!

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  156. Thanks so much for the step by step instructions for your penny covered desk top. I am slowly saving my pennies to cover a small table top. Now that I know exactly what is involved, I am juiced to get started. One question though what brand and type of glue did you use to glue the pennies down with?

    Thanks so much for sharing. I can't wait to see your other projects.

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  157. @kimosaby - I used a gel superglue to attach the pennies to the desk, but I imagine any kind of superglue would work!

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  158. That looks amazing! I don't normally get exited about decorating ideas but this is too cool to pass up. My wife loves it too. I see a project coming. Thanks for taking the time to post for is to learn from. Great work guys.

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  159. I have a question about this smashing looking table of yours. When the epoxy is dripping off the edges how do keep the bottom edges smooth? When it dries there is obviously going to be dried drips. Do you do some shaving off the bottom or sanding or something?

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    1. We just kept scraping off the drips with a flat metal spatula as the epoxy dried, but yeah, the end product does have a slight waviness to it underneath. It's not bad, though, and I think it feels kind of cool, really - you just have to keep catching/scraping the drips right up until the epoxy starts to set up, so that any remaining excess just forms a slight bump. I suppose you could also wait and cut the drips off with a saw, and then sand down the edges to make them smooth that way - totally up to you!

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    2. OMG- This is awesome!!!! ------------------------- I was just browsing on-line because I have a question about two-part epoxy envirotex. I came upon this site and will now be coming back often. I'd love to see the other projects that are mentioned on this page. Since, I am here and haven't found my answer elsewhere, I might as well ask all of you my question. I have been doing image transfer mixed media images. I have layers and layers of images. They have been adhered mainly with Golden Acrylic Medium. Towards the end, I started using Liquid Fusion Glue (a thin great transparent permanent glue.) Now, I'm letting everything dry. I then attach my canvas board to "Wedi Board" for support and with four pieces of wood build a frame for my "collage." It's approximately 18" x 24" and after heavy duty glueing my image board to the strong Wedi board will be a thickness of about an inch. My wood frame will be about one and half inches high so there is room to fill in epoxy. Finally, my question- Is it safe to add envirotex to a picture that has other substances on it? I've used envirotex before but have always made a point of keeping a very clean surface. This time there are some "dirty- gluey" areas that if rubbed could be rolled off. I don't want to try to pull off these little pieces, though because they either tear or stretch out the area around them, distorting or removing a part of the image, when disturbed or cut off. I want to go ahead and finish up with my favorite step- the envirotex finish coating but am sooo worried that it will turn into a disaster because there are "gooey" spots around. I've spend so much time working on this project (I'm too embarrassed to even say) but am now scared to actually finish it because of this "messy factor." Also, in addition to the layers of images, I have used tiny wire strands for hair, fuzzy textured paper pieces to blend portions and a couple other items for the first time in this newest image. Has anyone had any experience with this type of situation. Does envirotex still hold everything in place and get that amazing perfect surface? I've tried other final finishes and envirotex is the best by far. I was considering buying a spray to first coat my picture with and then wait a day or so and then apply the envirotex, Would the envirotex still adhere? Any ideas? Stella p.s. That table is so incredible!

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  160. A friend of mine saw a penny floor tutorial today and commented how fun it would be to cover the floor of an arcade in game tokens. Thought you guys might love that idea as much as I do!

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  161. OMG- This is awesome!!!! ------------------------- I was just browsing on-line because I have a question about two-part epoxy envirotex. I came upon this site and will now be coming back often. I'd love to see the other projects that are mentioned on this page. Since, I am here and haven't found my answer elsewhere, I might as well ask all of you my question. I have been doing image transfer mixed media images. I have layers and layers of images. They have been adhered mainly with Golden Acrylic Medium. Towards the end, I started using Liquid Fusion Glue (a thin great transparent permanent glue.) Now, I'm letting everything dry. I then attach my canvas board to "Wedi Board" for support and with four pieces of wood build a frame for my "collage." It's approximately 18" x 24" and after heavy duty glueing my image board to the strong Wedi board will be a thickness of about an inch. My wood frame will be about one and half inches high so there is room to fill in epoxy. Finally, my question- Is it safe to add envirotex to a picture that has other substances on it? I've used envirotex before but have always made a point of keeping a very clean surface. This time there are some "dirty- gluey" areas that if rubbed could be rolled off. I don't want to try to pull off these little pieces, though because they either tear or stretch out the area around them, distorting or removing a part of the image, when disturbed or cut off. I want to go ahead and finish up with my favorite step- the envirotex finish coating but am sooo worried that it will turn into a disaster because there are "gooey" spots around. I've spend so much time working on this project (I'm too embarrassed to even say) but am now scared to actually finish it because of this "messy factor." Also, in addition to the layers of images, I have used tiny wire strands for hair, fuzzy textured paper pieces to blend portions and a couple other items for the first time in this newest image. Has anyone had any experience with this type of situation. Does envirotex still hold everything in place and get that amazing perfect surface? I've tried other final finishes and envirotex is the best by far. I was considering buying a spray to first coat my picture with and then wait a day or so and then apply the envirotex, Would the envirotex still adhere? Any ideas? Stella p.s. That table is so incredible!

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  162. I scored a 3x6 foot wooden table at the transfer station last summer that needed a lot of help. This is exactly what I was planning to do with the top but painting the edge of the table and legs black. I wasn't sure how to clean the pennies. You have answered that question AND how to seal the finished project. Thank you sooo much! FYI the kitchen will be black appliances with copper/black/gold metal roofing (I think Lifescape is the manufacturer) as a backsplash. You have new follower - love Pinerest and the places it takes us...like here!

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  163. really good job, tedious project but well worth the effort

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  164. What patience and a great hubby to work with you. Loved the outcome and especially the bar epoxy instruction.

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  165. Like, like, like!! I will be awaiting your trip to my house to work on my fabuloso early 90s mauve/teal countertop so that it, too, can be beeeautiful like yours. And I LOVE your sense of humor.

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  166. I read the penny countertop blog post and noticed that they did not mention glueing the pennies down.. is this step actually necessary?

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  167. OMG! Being a numismatist I can't help myself but say these were my following expression....

    OMG! Tarnex! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    OMG! She's doing what?
    Acetone will get that off.

    ... oh well she just increased the value of some coins... ;D LOL

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  168. We just bought a house that has a bar in the basement that will need a new top. I do believe I have FOUND IT!!! Thank you for your awesome tutorial!!! I cannot wait to get started and get this done!

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  169. I didn't have the time to read the whole blog but would this be good for a "kitchen" counter where there will be lots of cutting edges. Is the finish hard enough to deal with the knifes in the kitchen. I also do lots of crafts on the counter, with coverings or would I run into trouble with other substances, mostly glue of different kinds. I ocassionally have to scrape the glue off the counter.

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    1. No, I definitely would NOT recommend an epoxy finish for a cutting surface; it has a glass-smooth surface that can scratch if you're not careful, although it does take a heavy amount of pressure and something really sharp to do it. This is better suited for desks or less-heavily-used surfaces, for sure.

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  170. What size was this surface? I see you said it took just under 2000 pennies, but how big pf a surface did that cover? Thanks!

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    1. The desk is about 22X40 inches. Hope that helps!

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  171. What went on the wall above the pennies?

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  172. A great project and it looks wonderful. A way to avoid all the hard work of penny bending, bevel the front edge of the desk with bevel that one penny width. Then you simply fill that bevel with a row of flat pennies! You did mention a router and that's what got me thinking about this.

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  173. We did our whole kitchen floor with pennies, had to have them special ordered from the bank... took $863.00 in pennies and 6 days to glue all of them down not counting the time for the sealer to dry... but it is awesome !!!!

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  174. Is it possible to combine coins with this type of flooring- Epoksidinės grindų dangos ? For me this style looks warmer, so I want it to be at my home, but these coins style is also quite nice :))

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  175. I just tried this with a coffee table and I have a couple of tips for anyone else who wants to try it. First and most important, note that when Jen says Gorilla Glue, she means the super glue made by Gorilla, NOT the Original Gorilla Glue. Please, learn from my fail. Also, I used a product called Envirotex instead of an expensive bartop resin and so far so good! You can get it at Michael's, JoAnn's, or on Amazon. Thanks for the tutorial!

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