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Smashed Penny Bracelet - In Resin!

Friday, October 5, 2012

You guys know I can never stay away from penny crafts for long, right? :D So today I give you my latest smashed penny jewelry creation:

Ta-da! Smashed pennies in resin!

This is one of those crafts that's really easy in theory, but a little more tedious in practice.

First I spent a good half hour polishing pennies, since I wanted them nice and shiny in the resin. (There are lots of products you can use, but for the best shine I've found nothing beats Brasso [get the old formula in a metal can] and a nubby wash cloth, followed by a vigorous rub-down with a Magic Eraser for those really stubborn spots.)

I've yet to buy another brand of epoxy resin, so I used Easy Cast again for this batch. It seems that by mixing larger batches you're less likely to get the proportions wrong, so happily everything cured just fine this round:

I bought these molds on JoAnn's website for about $4 each (link here)  - although of course shipping tacks on another five bucks or so. (My bracelet ended up using only six pennies, though, so really you only need one mold.)

The pennies sink right to the bottom of the molds, of course, so in the future I might try layering the resin to get them to "float" more in the center. (Although that would make drilling a little trickier.)

After a day of curing I popped out the pennies, trimmed the sharp edges off with scissors, and then filed the edges a bit, too, since I knew they'd be rubbing up against my wrist.

 Pretty, right? They remind me of little paper weights


Next came the tricky part: drilling.


You'll need a drill press for this, because keeping a perfect 90 degree angle is essential when drilling lengthwise through a narrow piece. (This is my Dremel drill press.) I'm using a small wood block here as a support, both to safeguard my fingers and because the resin has rounded edges, which makes it want to rock a bit.


You can see I'm pressing the resin piece against the wood block pretty hard; if you're not careful the drill will make the resin shift down into the gap in the platform, making your hole go off course. I found it helps to drill very slowly, and to kind of pump the handle on the drill press so that you drill in several small stages:


If you rush it you're pretty much guaranteed a slip and a wonky drill line, so take your time. Oh, and I just eye-balled the spacing, but you could also measure to make sure your holes are all consistent.

The finished pieces. See the small frosted drill lines?

Next is the easy part, although funnily enough it took me the longest: stringing the bracelet.

I reeeally didn't want to make a stretchy bracelet, but when I couldn't find a good two-cord clasp at any of my local craft stores I caved and bought some clear stretchy cord. Then it took me four or five tries to find the right spacer beads, since I've never made a bracelet like this before and honestly didn't know which kind would look right.

The first beads I picked were gorgeous (and matched my wedding band!), but since they weren't round they didn't lay right on my wrist:

 
Plus all you saw were the white sides of the beads, which aren't supposed to show.

This is something any jewelry maker would have known, I'm sure, but I guess I like learning things the hard way. ;)

Next I tried some chunky clear beads, but they were too big, making the bracelet either way too big with six resin pieces or too tight with only five:

So back to the craft store I went, and came back with three more options:

Too dark...

Too blah... 
(They're actually lovely shades of copper, but the finish didn't seem right.)

...and finally, my very last choice turned out to be my favorite:
The beads are a translucent two-tone with lavender and orange. The orange picks up the pennies, and the lavender makes a nice contrast. Plus the translucence goes great with the clear resin.


Now for some better lighting:




You can definitely see a slight yellow tinge to the resin here (taken in indirect sunlight, no color correction), but only because it's on a white paper. You can't see it on other colors, or if I'm wearing it:

The pennies are from the Magic Kingdom, and most are from Adventureland and Frontierland. (I need to replace the Goofy penny with a Jungle Cruise one, and then I'll have a more complete set.)


I believe the yellow tinge is partially a result of the Easy Cast - which I've heard isn't as crystal clear as, say, Ice Resin - but even more so from the pennies themselves reflecting on all the interior edges:


For example, you can see that the center resin piece below looks clear, while the sides look yellow:


Again, that's the pennies reflecting through the resin. So don't worry too much if you want to use Easy Cast for this project; my guess is other brands will still look a bit yellowish with pennies in them.

And finally, here's my attempt at a pin-able pic for my fellow Pinterest users:


 (I'm not going to tell you how long I spent looking at fonts for this, because I know someone out there is already judging me for picking this one. Is there a word for font anxiety? 'Cuz I haz it. I haz it BAD.)

I hope you liked my latest penny craft! And in case you missed them before, you can see some of my other smashed penny jewelry tutorials here and here.
 
Happy weekend, everyone!

Posted by Jen at 10:56 PM Labels: , ,

64 comments:

  1. This bracelet is awesome. Not only is it adorable and totally something I'd wear (or beg to borrow, if I knew someone in real life who made one similar), but it makes use of the most useless coin ever!

    Seriously, I love it. <3

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  2. Love it! I collect smashed pennies and would love to do this. I guess I'm off to Hobby Lobby tomorrow :)

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  3. Jen, that is really lovely. Really. How do you make smashed pennies from DisneyWorld look classy?

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  4. OFD (Obsessive Font Disorder)?

    That is such a gorgeous bracelet! I dream of the day I have my very own Dremel in my hot little hands. If I drop any more hints to the guy o' mine about Christmas I might start to lose my reputation as suave and subtle.

    Squirrel Leigh

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  5. Love it! It is amazing all of the crafts you can do with the smashed pennies! I have a few collectible "coins" from the Smithsonian museums in D.C. and may have to see if some of your smashed penny ideas would work for them too!

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  6. Yeah, I've had some issues with Easy Cast not being as clear as it should be. Usually the first time I use it, it's clear, but every time after that, it's real yellowy. I've heard this stuff works much better, but it smells really bad.

    http://www.benfranklin.com/item.php?id=MP-ET00183&c=a&s1=Crafts,+Modeling+&+Home+Decora&s2=Clays+&+Modeling+Materials&s3=Casting+Resin&gclid=CPPCuIq367ICFUqoPAodDSUAWQ

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  7. Jen, I love it! I think someday I'm going to have to make one for my daughter. She loves smashed pennies. The question is, what do I do for my son's smashed pennies? Hmmmmmmm. BTW, I think you are awesome. I have found that I connect better with people that are open and honest with their problems, as opposed to my so-called "normal" friends. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with all of us. If I'm ever in Florida, or if you ever come out West, I will have to find a way to find you. You have inspired me to be more open with my own problems. Thank you!

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  8. Your resin projects are so inspirational! They make me want to rush out and buy a resin kit.

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  9. So stunning! What an amazing idea. I always pass by these machines cause I never know what I'd do with them. What an excellent way to preserve a memory.

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  10. Love it! My husband collects smashed pennies (I love them, but he goes NUTS for them.) He found a smashed penny album at a market in Hawaii and keeps his in there. But since I just today started making resin jewelry with molds like yours, now I'm going to be pushing him to make something with the pennies. How about...(wait for it)...FRIDGE MAGNETS??? Wouldn't that be a cool way to display them?

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  11. Your bracelet is awesome! Stop making me want to add new crafts to my list! =)

    I'm obsessed with picking the perfect fonts too. You would probably like this typography book that I have on my shelf.

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  12. I've been collecting smashed pennies since I've been here on the east coast and now I know exactly what I want to do with them.

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  13. I love the bracelet and the font. :)

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  14. This is superb, its making me want to give resin crafting a go. Also making me want to go to Disneyland, which is harder as it is a long way away

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  15. First off, love the bracelet! I've never tried resin crafting and I'm loving learning about it through all your experiments and trial & error stuff.

    Secondly, I totally got font anxiety today when I had to choose how to print my new business cards... how to pick something business-y, but still whimsical? Fun, but professional? Oy vey.

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  16. Between your tutorial posts and videos of this guy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4WpHb5Hd7s

    I'm thinking of giving this resin thing a go myself! :-D

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  17. Super cool! I would LOVE to do that, but I think the whole not having a drill thing would make it difficult.

    And of course, I love the Disney part of it.. And, I'm kicking myself for not taking up the smashed penny hobby long, long ago! I LOVE the ones you've got, b/c they're not the standard Fab Five kinds of things, although the POTC Mickey is just adorable. I think my next visit may be spent obsessively stalking penny machines to find some cool ones!! (WAH! It's not planned, I don't know when I get to go!!!)

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  18. i go through every font option possible and then the ones i like i go over again and again hehe and i like the font you chose ^-^

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  19. oooh, this may be a good way for me to display the wheat pennies i have been collecting. the only problem i am having is that i like both the front (to see the year) and the back ( to see the wheat). hmmm, i will have to do some plotting and planning.
    anyway, totally inspiring, as always. =)

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  20. SO pretty! I've loved your smashed penny crafts before, but this might be my favorite!

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  21. I love it!! I have a couple smashed pennies from Tampa MOSI and Busch Gardens...I'm thinking earrings! Now I just have to find them. lol

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  22. Wow, Jen! I haven 't had time to comment on posts all week, but I've enjoyed every single one. What a great way to use/display your smashed penny collection. I just love this site!

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  23. Have you considered Raindrop epoxy? I've used it in my work, and it is perfectly clear, but you need to be super precise to get it equal (a small digital scale works best)

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  24. You gotta back off of the awesomeness, Jen.
    I am still working up the courage to start drilling some of my vast smashed penny collection to make regular jewelry and you've shown yet another project i need to put on the list.
    Really, how are we mere mortals to keep up?
    ;-)
    Great project.
    (next time you are working with beads lay them out on a bead board first so that you don't have to keep restringing)

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  25. Beautiful! This could work with seashell, too???

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  26. Yay for Czech fire-polished faceted rounds! I love them, and they sparkle almost as much as Swarovski.

    The bracelet looks lovely!

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  27. Absolutely gorgeous!
    I need to find something good to do with my smashed pennies!
    You are such a wonderful geeky inspiration too me <3

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  28. What a gorgeous and unique piece, Jen! Now I'm having serious bracelet envy!

    BTW, would you welcome smashed pennies as gifts from your fans?

    cr :)

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  29. Well, that bracelet is darling! My 7 year old daughter just loves it, too. Now she wants to start collecting smashed pennies so she can make her own :)

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  30. @ crownring - Heck yeah I would! Feel free to send any spares my way!

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  31. Smashed penny + resin + big hole + hardware = custom keychain? I think YES! :D

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  32. How did you tie it off? Especially with the beads?

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  33. @ Anony - I just tied a simple knot with the stretchy cord, although I had to use pliers to get it tight enough. I think I'll go back and add a dot of super glue, too, since I had one knot pull apart earlier.

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  34. Hehehe, I saw this bracelet on pinterest about an hour ago and immediately thought if you... I had no idea you actually made it!! Gorgeous work, I love it :)

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  35. Jen,
    Put a board (a piece of plywood, for instance) on the table of your Dremel drill press. Hold the resin piece against a wood block on top of the plywood. That way, the piece you are drilling won't try to "shift down into the gap in the platform."

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  36. Oh my goodness, that's amazing. I'm really in awe - that's gorgeous! Now I just need a trip to WDW to pick up the coins, resin, molds, and a dremel. Man, this blog costs me. :)

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  37. If you're tired of scrubbing your pennies, find yourself a Zazby's restaurant. Buy some food and get a side of Zaxby's sauce. Drop your pennies in the sauce. Eat your food. Remove pennies from sauce and wipe clean with napkin. Be amazed. :)

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  38. No-drill cord holes?

    Hi Jen and all, love the Epbot stuff! I'm not a resin-craft person (resin-er? resinator?), but would this alternative for making the holes work?

    1. Layer the resin so stuff doesn't sink all the way to the bottom.

    2. Before you pour the top resin layer, wedge in horizontally near the top and bottom two lengths of 10- or 12-gauge wire (or snipped pieces of coat hanger, or whatever) that are as wide as the mold.

    3. When you unmold, drive out the lengths of wire endwise (since the ends are flush with the sides of the resin pieces) with a hammer and a slender nail set or punch.

    Voila, pre-formed holes with no drilling.

    Is there some reason known to experienced resinators why this wouldn't work? Maybe the wire lengths would stick in the resin too tightly? Could they be coated in something that would keep them from sticking?

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  39. JEN DONT DRILL THROUGH YOUR FINGER THANK YOU.

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  40. My mom loves smashed pennies, and has a ton of them from all over the States. I would show her this, but she isn't a jewelry kind of person. Do you have a cool way to display them? Like on a wall? The pennies currently live in her purse and I think it would be great if we had a cooler way than that or a coin sleeve to show them off.

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  41. I like the font. It screams 'I am a craft project!' to me (seriously, I saw the picture and was like 'wow, what a fitting font' before I even read about your 'fontxiety'. Don't know why, it just does.

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  42. Ooooooo! I love it when you do smashed penny crafts! My husband and I collect them, but they don't do much good sitting in a drawer. I might have to fight the grandkids for possession of the bracelet, though. ;)

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  43. love, love, love your smashed penny crafts. looking forward to more!

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  44. Love... what Dremel model do you have/recommended? I'm asking for one for Christmas so I can get going on my jewelry list!

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  45. Not to be evil, but I found a font game to eat up even more of your time:

    cheeseorfont.com

    ...And I look at that and realize just what a nerd I truly am.

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  46. I love this idea! What a clever way to use those souvenirs. :)

    And while I'm picky about fonts, I think your choice is just fine. After all, it's not like you used it for three paragraphs, in size 8, for detailed descriptions. It's a title. No hate or judging from me! :)

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  47. Annnnnd, now I want a drill press. Thanks a lot.

    I have a ton of smashed pennies saved up (it's my go to souvenir), and they're just collecting dust right now.

    This is such a wonderful idea.

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  48. What a beautiful bracelet! I'd love to try something like this someday - my collection of smashed pennies are just lying around with nothing to do.

    Thanks for sharing Jen.

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  49. Jen, you make me want to go smash my own pennies! You did such a lovely job on this bracelet.

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  50. Jen, have you tried Penny Brite for the polishing and cleaning?

    http://www.beaducation.com/shop/penny-brite-p-2048.html

    It does a great job cleaning up the metals and even helps remove firescale and such if you ever solder. I use it on my mixed metal work and it's a lifesaver. These earrings didn't take the flux properly and were crazy covered in firescale and the Penny Brite saved them. It might be worth a try - it smells at least a LITTLE better than the Brasso!

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  51. So cool! And your lighting is superb. Very jealous right now.

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  52. There really needs to be a word for font choice anxiety. I have it, too. Is there a support group out there we can join? (And, for what it's worth, I like your font choice.)

    Your bracelet is lovely. I'm an avid penny presser, and hate to see them just sitting in the little albums where no one can appreciate them.

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  53. Beautiful! You could totally be selling resin penny bracelets on Etsy - I'd buy one! (I'm not personally crafty, but I'm envious of people who are)

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  54. Excellent! I love this idea! Every time you use the dremel you make me remember that I want one...maybe for Christmas this year I'll treat myself.

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  55. Gotta getta drill press! Christmas, maybe!

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  56. That is amazing! I've started to look for smashed penny machines on our travels so I can follow some of your tutorials. :-)

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  57. With your love of sealife and pennies, you might like the pennies from the Bahamas. They have starfish on them. I was able to get two sizes of the pennies which is odd, but will work out great for a bracelet project.

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  58. I adore this bracelet and would make one right now if I had all the stuff. The drilling scares me. So... I will live through you! Thanks for sharing. I love your penny jewelry.

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  59. For cleaning pennies I like to just pop them in coca cola overnight (sounds weird but it's really good at munching away all the dirt, does make me worry a bit about what it's doing to my insides though!)

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