Pennies As Wedding Art

Pennies As DIY Wedding Art

Who says pennies aren’t worth much these days? A lucky penny is always a nice thing to stumble upon, and doubly so on an important day like your wedding. Find a few ways to slip pennies into your festivities and you might just enjoy a little extra good luck.

Even for a couple without an ounce of superstition, the artistic merits of pennies can’t be denied. At the very least, you will have graced your wedding with a creative and noteworthy piece of art–and that’s good fortune indeed!

Worried about hiding from federal eyes? Don’t be. Turning pennies into art is perfectly legal. The only United States prohibition against defacing coins applies if you mean to use them fradulently, such as melting down the metal to sell it for more than the coin is worth. (This is no longer even possible with modern pennies, which have only a thin copper coating.)

Get as creative as you like; as long as you don’t steal the pennies, using them as wedding décor is absolutely fine.

Making Basic Coin Jewelry

For the DIY couple with not much time on their hands, making basic coin jewelry is the easiest way to incorporate pennies into the wedding celebration. Simply drill a hole in a penny. You can do this with an average electric drill, as long as the bit you use is narrow enough.

Clamp the penny securely to a table or workbench so it won’t spin (you can cushion it from being dented by a tight clamp with a bit of material in between), drill through the penny, and buff any sharp edges afterward with a square of 600 grit sandpaper.

You can string as many pennies as you like into necklaces, bracelets, anklets, or earrings using this technique. If you’re adding them to ribbon or string and you want them to be evenly spaced, tie a knot on either side of the penny once you have it in position.

Penny jewelry makes great wedding favors, as well as gifts for the members of your wedding party. You may also want to string together a few stacks of pennies to create heavy “tassels” for the corners of the ring bearer pillow.

Feeling ambitious? You can use the same concept to create a coin-scarf similar to the exotic jewelry that belly dancers wear. It will create a pleasing jingle as you move. String multiple layers of pennies by sewing one string of pennies to the bottom of your scarf, then sewing another string to the scarf about an inch above it. Continue sewing strings of pennies, making each one longer by the same number of pennies, and you’ll end up with a graceful taper.

Penny Sculptures

If your party is too warm for ice sculptures, you can hire a sculptor to make penny sculptures as striking room centerpieces. Far more than simple stacks and bridges, penny sculptures can be formed into elaborate spirals and 3D works of art that will become instant conversation pieces. Be careful to place the sculpture on a firm surface well away from accidental jostling.

An emerging trend among penny-lovers is to use them to coat entire surfaces. From copper countertops and coin-coated floors to penny-covered cars, the sparkling copper discs are becoming a popular form of dressing up any mundane object.

You can use the same idea to create an eye-catching top for your buffet table or dessert bar. You can cover the entire surface in an unbroken sea of pennies, which is striking enough, or you can use the coins to create swirls or wording of your choice. Cover your masterpiece with glass to ensure that it stays put throughout the entire event.

Experiment with Penny Color

Pennies provide a veritable rainbow of hues from shiny copper to dark gray and even to whitish-turquoise. Depending on how the metal interacts with the air, the color is actually quite flexible. You may wish to use this to your advantage as you arrange different colored pennies next to each other. You can alternate greenish and copper-colored pennies for a checkerboard effect, or you can arrange the coins in order of tarnishing to create a smooth gradient. Either way, the color of pennies can be as striking as the shape.

You may like the look of old pennies that have developed a turquoise patina. If you want to patina pennies yourself, it’s possible using salt water and a 9 volt battery, but it’s probably easier to collect old pennies from friends and family (or the ground).

To restore pennies to sparkling-new, soak them in a salt-and-vinegar mixture overnight. You can also add lemon juice or tomato juice (ketchup works well) because of the acidity. Check the date first, though; pennies minted after 1982 have a higher zinc content and will polish to a slightly darker color. Never attempt to polish a collectable coin, as you could decrease its value.

Penny Presses

Do you carry pennies with you every time you visit a theme park in the hopes that you’ll find a penny press machine? If you keep a collection of pennies stamped with reminders of all your vacations, it makes sense to give your guests the same opportunity to remember your wedding.

Customized penny press machines can be rented for weddings and special events, although the price is high–nearly a thousand dollars for just a few hours of penny-pressing fun. On the other hand, a lot of work does go into creating custom-designed presses (you’ll probably want to stamp yours with the date of your wedding, as well as pictures of your faces or other meaningful symbols) and the machines are quite substantial to transport.

Give attractive baggies of pennies to your guests and they’ll walk away with completely unique wedding favors. If you really love the idea of creating custom pennies for your friends, penny press machines can be permanently bought for about four times the price of a rental.

Coin Cutouts

Another way to turn pennies into lasting works of art is to cut shapes out of their centers. This is a difficult project for the average DIY enthusiast, but many artists specialize in cutting custom shapes from pennies, which can be ordered online for only about 40 cents each. Cutout pennies can add to your wedding theme; string pennies with shamrock cutouts around the room for an Irish wedding, or use peace signs for a wedding with a “summer of love” theme.

If you’re using cutout pennies as table decor, you may want to cut simple hearts in their centers and scatter them like confetti. Invite guests to take them home as favors after the wedding. If you’re giving cutout pennies as more elaborate wedding favors, you may want to invest in a more complicated cutout, like your wedding date or names.

A Penny Saved is a Penny Used!

From using pennies as buttons to creating impromptu tap-dance shoes with penny soles, the nation’s smallest currency can pack a large aesthetic punch. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to create the masterpieces yourself; a simple online search will reveal no shortage of penny artists who will be happy to create custom jewelry and accessories for your wedding. Think twice before passing up the next penny you see on the street!


Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.