Space Exploration Smashed Penny Bracelets


I turned 33 this year. To celebrate, my girlfriend and I took a trip downtown to the Adler Planetarium. On multiple floors, I spotted a favorite icon from my childhood: the engraved penny machine. Even better, there was a change machine right next to it that gave you two pennies with each paper dollar you fed into it (how could I resist?)

Taking a cue from the smashed penny jewelry tutorials online, I ended up making something fun to commemorate the day.


2 smashed engraved pennies
Drill hole punch
Liver of Sulfur XL Gel
Solo plastic cups
Wooden coffee stirrer
Paperclips
Hemostat clamp
Baking soda
Glass measuring cup with handle
Glass jar with lid
Plastic shopping bags
0000 super fine steel wool pads
Renaissance micro-crystalline wax polish
Stainless steel lobster claw clasp
Four 6mm stainless steel split rings
Four 6-8″ strands leather cording (black, dove gray, indigo)
Antique brass end caps
Jewelry pliers
Wire cutters

Once the holes were punched through on either side, I washed both pennies with Ajax dish soap and wiped them off with a paper towel. I then looped the paper clips through one of the holes on each side to make the pennies easier to retrieve from the sulfur solution I used to create the patina.

For the sulfur solution, I used the wooden coffee stirrer to transfer a small amount of the liver of sulfur gel to the disposable plastic cup. I added 1/2 cup of hot water (microwaved in a glass container for 1 minute). I immediately took the solution (and the pennies) to the back porch (well-ventilated area, out of the way, keeping everyone clear of the rotten egg smell).


Five minutes of soaking was sufficient to turn the pennies black. After I retrieved them and set them to the side, I used baking soda to neutralize the solution (poured small amounts until it stopped fizzing, left to sit for one hour) and then transferred it to the glass jar. Once the lid was secured, I double-bagged the jar to dispose of it along with the cup the solution was in.


Once I took the pennies inside, I removed the paper clips and wiped them down with baking soda and a paper towel. Afterwards, I used the super fine steel wool pad to remove the patina on the engraved portions of the pennies, leaving a burnished image behind on each. I then applied Renaissance wax polish to either side to seal in the patina.


From there, I inserted the split rings on either side. I used the wire cutters to trim the leather cords, looped two contrasting colors through each ring and attached the end caps and clasp to the trimmed ends with the pliers.


For $2, I was able to create a fun and unique souvenir from my birthday, better than anything I could have found in the gift shop (apart from astronaut ice cream). What do you guys think?

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~ by blackmoodcraft on May 31, 2016.

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