When I was little, I collected pressed pennies from those machines at amusement parks, but there was nothing I could ever do with them. When I started stamping pennies, the next logical step was incorporating the pressed pennies of course!
There are so many cool things about pressed pennies: they are cheap souvenirs, they remind you of the place you visited, and you can craft with them without any special tools. I’ve seen a few tutorials on how to make a pressed penny bracelet using drills or using a hammer to try to punch a hole in the penny, but there is a really easy way – a metal hole punch! The other things you’ll need to make a charm bracelet are a bracelet (or material to make one), a bunch of jump rings or split rings, and a pair of pliers. Oh, and pressed pennies. Here are your tools:
You may be able to find the hole punch pliers at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, but online is a great place to look. Split rings you can find at a craft store (or Walmart sells great copper colored ones!). Bracelets are difficult to find unless you can make your own. You may be able to find some good chain at a craft store, but finding a pre-made bracelet may be a bit difficult.
A quick clarification: jump rings are rings that look like the letter O. They have one circle of metal. Split rings are also shaped like an O, but have 2 layers of metal – they look like mini keychains. I prefer split rings in all my crafts because then my pendants/charms don’t fall off my bracelet/necklace. You can also solve that problem by soldering your jump rings, but that’s a lot of work and time.
After gathering your materials, decide where you want to punch the holes in the pennies. Sometimes the hole punch will leave a mark on the pennies around the hole – if you want to avoid that, you can use a small (thin) cloth or towel between the metal and punch. I generally don’t since the cloth makes it difficult to see where you are punching.
Once your pennies are punched, you’ll want to figure out the spacing on the bracelet. I like to estimate maybe 5-7 loops between each penny and lay the ring at those places to see how the bracelet would look. Then I adjust as necessary.
Then I start on one end. Thread the split ring onto the bracelet loop, then add the penny. Use your pliers to wind the split ring all the way around. (You may also need to use the pliers to loosen the split rings, which can sometimes stick).
Repeat the process until you’ve finished with your bracelet!
Punch pliers make this whole thing really easy. They are perfect for punching through pressed pennies (though they won’t punch regular pennies). Once you get the basics down, you can make earrings, necklaces, and all sorts of other fun things with pressed pennies! A bracelet is only the beginning!
P.S. I sell the pliers in my store if you are interested. I buy them in bulk so I get a bit of a discount. But the real reason you’d want to get one from my store is because I include the bracelet and the split rings, which makes the whole thing REALLY EASY. But in all honesty, making a charm bracelet is a piece of cake, provided you have the right tools. You can also pick up just the pliers from any etsy seller if you’re looking for just those without the added rings and bracelet.