How to Turn Your Souvenir Pressed Pennies into Jewelry – DIY Earring Tutorial

May 26, 2016

I’m not saying I choose my vacation destinations based solely on the locations of souvenir penny machines, but I am kind of hooked on these inexpensive keepsakes.  And yes, I have the Penny Collector app on my iPhone, making the location of penny-pressing machines around the world readily available.  But what is not to love–you basically get a keepsake charm (jewelry-making supply!) for less than a dollar.  Swoon!

Here is a jewelry-making project that might just make you a fan of pressed pennies!

Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings made with suppies from

You can turn your souvenir pressed pennies into a pair of earrings with just a few supplies.


You will need the following supplies:


Use metalworking tools to turn souvenir pressed pennies into keepsake earrings C

Turn souvenir pressed pennies into charms with just a few metalworking tools. Turn the charms into earrings with basic jewelry tools.


You will need the following tools:


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings D

Use a metal file to shape the pressed penny, and remove any burrs from the edge.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings mark the charm for hole position.

Measure and mark the pressed penny for the hanging-hole position, working around any embossed design. It is best to make the hole position between 1/16th and 1/8th inch from the edge.


Use a center punch to mark hole position prior to drilling or punching a hole in metal. Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings

Place the penny on a steel bench block and use an automatic center punch to make an indent at the hanging hole mark. The indent is helpful for accurately guiding the hole punch.


How to punch a hole in a coin. How to punch a hole in a penny.

Punch a hole in the pressed penny using the two-hole punch. Line up the punch with the mark using the indent as a guide and turn the crank clockwise. Once the hole is punched, turn the crank counter-clockwise to release the penny. I used the smaller, 1/16th inch hole punch.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings H

Holes punched and ready for finishing.


Use an oxicizing solution like Novacan Black Patina to antique your Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings

You can choose to either leave your pressed-penny charms bright and shiny or antique them with an oxidizing solution. I chose to use Novacan Black Patina to darken the pennies, and then polish the high points; this finishing method enhances the embossed pattern and makes the design “pop”.


Clean the surface of your Souvenir Pressed Pennies prior to application of patina.

Begin by cleaning any oxidation or residue off the penny’s surface using a 3M sanding sponge. This will allow the patina to work quickly and evenly.


How to patina copper with Novacan black patina for Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings

Use a cotton swab to apply Novacan Black Patina to the pressed pennies. Be sure to flip the pennies over and finish the backside too. Once the surface is darkened, rinse the pennies in water and dry them.


EuroTool ultra polishing pads from Rings & Things work great for poishing to a mirror finish for your Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings

Use a 3M microfine sponge to remove the patina from the high points of the embossed pattern. Use an ultra polishing pad to polish the pressed pennies to a high shine.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings DIY - penny jewelry; coin jewelry

The souvenir penny charms are all polished and ready to turn into keepsake earrings.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings Make a Swarovski crystal link to adorn your earrings.

To make the beaded Swarovski Crystal links, begin by stringing beads onto each eye pin in this order: antiqued-copper bead, crystal briolette bead, and antiqued-copper bead.


Make a bead link to add sparkle to your earrings.

Cut off the excess length on the head pin; there should be about 5/8 inch of bare wire remaining, to bend into a loop with your bail-making pliers.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings P

Use the smaller, 2.9mm bail-making rod to form a loop on the end of the eye pin. The loop should be perpendicular to the smaller eye pin loop. Grasp the eye pin “tail” and roll it around the bail-making rod. Use chain-nose pliers to finish forming the loop.


Add a bead link to your Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings

Twist open the large loop on the crystal-bead link and attach the pressed-penny charm; twist the loop closed. Repeat with the second bead link and pressed penny.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings R

Twist open the loop on the niobium ear wire and attach it to the smaller loop on the bead link. Twist the loop closed. Repeat with the second earring.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings with French wire keepers for security

Add French wire keepers to the end of the ear wires. French wire keepers help keep earrings securely in place.


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings EXAMPLE 3

From pennies, to souvenir pressed pennies, to finished earrings!


Souvenir Pressed Penny Earrings A

Find a Souvenir Pressed Penny Machine on the Penny Collector Website:


And there is more!

Smashed Penny Souvenir Bracelet

If you love making souvenir pressed penny earrings, you will love Tiffany’s Souvenir Penny Bracelet, too!


Make things!


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1 Comment

  • Reply CraftyHope April 4, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Somehow this JUST popped up in my feed, but I love this. I’ve long had an obsession with smashed pennies too. I had no idea there was an app. . .will definitely be looking into that!! Thanks for all the great tips and thoroughness for this project!

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