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The fine folks at Artifacture Studios recently posted step-by-step instructions on Make: Projects for how to install a gorgeous penny countertop for a fraction of the price of granite. And to think I was under the impression pennies were useless in this economy. Nice work, Shane and Michael!

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Goli Mohammadi

Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at [email protected] or via @snowgoli.

  • Jamesmyname

    So does this count as a government-subsidized countertop? Technically speaking, this is a material that costs the consumer $0.01 each, but costs the government $0.012 each (

    Joking aside, I do like the look of this countertop. I for one think we should gradually discontinue the penny. I’m sure there are lots of other interesting uses we could find aside from inefficient/obsolete currency.

  • TomD

    So, I’ve been looking into accomplishing just this with a slight twist. I was going to use my collectible coins rather than just pennies. I have many older coins including a reasonably large variety of European coins that are no longer created as they have moved to the Euro as well as some older coins like the Buffalo Nickel etc. The collection isn’t exactly earth shatteringly valuable but it is not worthless either. I have no intention of getting these coins out in my lifetime but I’d like to leave the option open for my grandchildren (so yes, I’ll physically move the bar-top with me).

    That stated, can anyone confirm these coins could be removed (even if it took a lot of elbow grease)? Alternately, any suggestions on how to ‘cover’ the coins for later retrieval? I fear using solvents will also effectively distort any coins to the point where they really are not retrievable in any real sense.

    • Artifacture Studios

      Making them recoverable is not something we have tried, but there a couple of things that may work. Please note – we’ve never tried them, so proceed carefully if you do, and please let us know how it works out.

      There are a number of mold releases for epoxy. Finding one that dries clear, and wont cloud or discolor the coins or the epoxy over time might be difficult. I don’t know enough about the chemistry of the releasing agents to know for sure.

      You might also try PTFE wax (essentially teflon). Some forms of it are transparent when correctly applied, and is a functional ingredient in many of the mold releases above. Teflon is largely chemically inert, so some people assert that it’s less likely to cause clouding or discoloration over time. Again, I don’t know enough about the underlying chemistry to know if that’s a reasonable assertion or not.

      You could also try putting something like clay down and press the coins into it shallowly (to keep the epoxy from going under the coins) then spray it down with mold release or wax, clay, coins and all. Then pour the epoxy. The process should give you loosely (if at all) bound coins in a display that you could then mount to a substrate in a recoverable manner. In theory, then it should be possible… but finding something that would seal the edges of the coins and still look good, and a mold release that wouldn’t affect the appearance of the stuff inside is where the trick would be.

      Of course if the mold release worked as it should, you could simply remove the coins and back light the negative cast of the coins…. Actually, we may have to give it a try ourselves.