Despite the penny naysayers who think the currency should be eliminated from circulation, the humble one cent coin lives on. But if you’re not sure exactly what to do with all your spare change, this DIY project using pennies and epoxy will help you turn the copper coins into a work of art.

Whether your nightstand could use a lift, you’re looking to add some interest to a bar cart, or you want a statement making countertop, pennies are the perfect eye-catching material.

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

Whether you’re adding pennies to the surface of a kitchen counter or small end table, you’ll want to paint the surface first, since some of the surface will show through between pennies. A dark color blends best with the copper. Once the paint is completely dry, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Prepare the Pennies

First wash your pennies in soapy water to remove dirt. Then, use a gentle copper cleanser to polish the pennies. Once dry, arrange the pennies on your surface and play with different color variations until you find a pattern you like.

Step 3: Protect the Edge

Before you pour the epoxy that will keep the pennies in place, you need to create a waterproof edge around the surface of your counter or table using aluminum tape. The edge should sit slightly higher than the thickness of epoxy you want on your surface.

Step 4: Epoxy the Surface

Follow the instructions on your epoxy kit closely, or you could risk epoxy that sets too fast or not at all. Once the epoxy is mixed, pour it slowly from 2 to 3 feet above the surface in a small stream. Then, use a squeegee to spread the epoxy and remove any air bubbles. The first coat should just cover the pennies. It’s important to work efficiently and carefully, since epoxy sets quickly, and mistakes in one layer will show up several layers later.

Once the first coat completely cures, check for any air bubbles. Use a small knife to open them. The second coat will fill any holes. Two coats of epoxy should be sufficient, but for a thicker countertop, repeat the process again.

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