Saturday, January 15, 2011

a penny saved.. is a tile floor

i knew even before we bought our house that i wanted to put a penny tile floor in somewhere.  as in real pennies.  we had seen a floor like this at the standard grill in new york and thought it was really pretty and on a small scale wouldn't be hard to fabricate.

so i saved a bunch of pennies, made a template, bought some mesh backing for mosaic tiles, glue that could hold metal and started making sheets of tile.  




















then we just installed them directly over the existing ceramic tile in the vestibule with regular thin set.   




















and then grouted it with laticrete epoxy grout in chocolate truffle.  















it was really very easy and i love the way it came out.. most people that first see it don't realize that it's pennies.  i like the blend of the different shades of copper that was created from using old wheat pennies right up to bright 2010 pennies.  oh and in case you want to know... it took 3,889 pennies (it's about 3'-8" x 5'-8").  so $38.89 for app. 24 sf of tile is not bad at all.   

75 comments:

  1. This looks so awesome! I remember you showing me pictures on your iphone...I LOVE it!!

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  2. Thanks Tara!!! BTW - your blog is great! I love reading all your posts. so funny :)

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  3. This is the most awesome thing I have seen in forever. SO COOL!!!!
    At the moment I am leaseing, But as soon as we get our house..I see a craft room in Pennies...LOL!!! (maybe even a bathroom)
    Thanks for sharing this.
    If you have any tips please let me know.
    sandrav9288@yahoo.com

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  4. I love it!

    I think we are going to do this to our bathroom that we are getting ready to remodel. How did you make the template? I don't quite know how to begin.

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  6. I absolutely love this look! we have a 4'x4' 'landing' by the backdoor that I am wanting to do this to.

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  7. Did you put them all head up? Tails up? or mixed???

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  8. Do you remember how much the lacrete epoxy grout was? Also did you seal the floor at all? Any problems w coins popping off w daily wear?

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  9. Where did you buy the mosaic mesh backing?

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  10. This is awesome!!! How did you make the template??

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  11. did you just put newspaper or cardboard under the mesh while glueing the pennies on? And did you do a sheet at a time or do it all at once. This is such a neat idea!

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  12. Thanks all! Hopefully this will answer some of the questions...

    I made the template in AutoCad - basically just laid out the pattern using a circle the size of a penny and then printed it out. I guess this could be done in any drawing program, I just am familiar with AutoCad. I did a sheet at a time just slightly bigger than one square foot.

    The pennies are placed randomly - I looked more at the color of the copper and didn't want them all heads or tails up. Also various years so that some are darker and less shiny.

    I purchased the grout at Lowes - can't remember the cost but it wasn't anything outrageous. As far as the setting the tile, its just a normal thin set. I did not put any additional sealer on the pennies. Also this vestibule is not heated so it can be very cold in the winter / hot in the summer and there have not been any issues with pennies getting loose or popping off.

    I purchased the mesh backing online at http://www.mosaicartsupply.com/mosaic_tile_mesh.aspx (I couldn't find it anywhere else in local tile or craft stores). Also the glue I used was for metal - purchased at a craft store.

    I put the template on cardboard when glueing the pennies on... Basically I took the template and taped it to a piece of cardboard, then covered the cardboard with packing tape so that after I glued the pennies on it would be easy to lift off the sheet.

    Hope this answers most questions!

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    1. is it possible for you to upload that circle template online here? something that we could use to print out?

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    2. Is there any way that you could send me the autocad file? I'd like to have a template tray milled from it.

      Thanks!

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  13. Such a great idea! I want to do this in my kitchen, have you had any problems with moisture? Is it a slick surface to walk on?

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  14. I'd like to do this in my bathroom, so may need to figure out a sealer--I would think certain bathroom cleaners might react funny. So glad you have this how to online. Looked at one place's site, some store, and they had people lay the pennies directly on the ground--what a back/knee killer. Your method makes more sense. Would you be willing to share or sell your template in a pdf format for those of us without autocad? Thanks for the recent extra explanation.

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  15. The Laticrete epoxy grout in chocolate truffle is available at Lowes for under $4. It has to be mixed with the Laticrete clear epoxy liquid grout which will run you about $20. Not bad at all. The other upside is that this brand and mix claims to never need sealing! ;) I am beginning this project for my laundry room and I will report back! Also the mesh from mosaicartsupply.com is only $1.27/foot and they sell the Weldbond glue for $5. Im going in with no format, just placing pennies on the mesh by touching them next to each other. If you look around on google you can see that many people do it this way. Ok wish me luck, will post pics! ;)

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  16. Do you think it's possible to paint the coins? I'm thrilled with your results, would love to replicate it as a kitchen backsplash! I'd like to use all sizes of coins but paint them different colors. Do you, or anyone reading, know if it would be possible to prime/paint the coins and still have the grout and mesh adhere to the coin?

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    1. you might as well use colored buttons . It just won't be the same .if you paint them they will lose all their character . go to ebay and buy little glass tiles diff colors . I did that on my bathroom countertop and down the overhang it's beautiful !

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  17. Love it!!! May do this in my kitchen when we redo it. Thanks so much for this idea and the instructions on how to do it!

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  18. I love this idea and I am going to ask my husband if we can do this for our next project even if it is a smaller surface like our ugly long wooden table. With my husband we need to take baby steps. Once we sees how nice it looks then I will be able to step it up! LOL! Thanks for sharing this with us all!

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  19. This is really cool! I hope that one day I will be able to do this in my home! It looks very easy to do and inexpensive.and its something fun to have in a home. its a conversation starter for any home. I think it would be cute for a table out countertop of some kind. Cant wait to see try this!

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  20. I am curious if you could do this over tile in a shower?

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  21. I love this! Could you somehow, post a step by step tutorial for doing this? Thinking...Kitchen Backsplash!

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    1. That's what I'm going to do! When I do it, I'll post before and after photos. :)

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  22. I was wondering if they will tarnish? How do you clean?

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  23. I was curios to know if you still have the template and would be willing to email it as a file to me. We are doing this in our utility room floor and the only hold on the project is the template. Please let me know if you still have it!

    Thank you

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  24. I am curious why the self adhesive fiberglass is not used, I would like to do this on my kitchen floor. Gluing each penny down, compared to using the self adhesive mesh, with no gluing just the thinset when laying the mesh to the floor seems like a whole less work. Any comments would be appreciate.

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    1. I am curious if you tried the self adhesive mesh and if so, how it worked?

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  25. Is the floor really cold? I have been considering doing paper floors in our laundry room but this looks awesome too!

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    1. I did the paper flooring it looks awesome. But the polyurithane scratches too easily. I am trying to figure out what to put on it that wont look bad after a week with my dog.

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    2. We did the paper floors as well. We got the clear epoxy they use to seal garage floors. It is thick and needs to be spread with a squeegie (sp?). Its supposed to be very durable even with dogs. And I have a lot of those!

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  26. I too would be interested in purchasing your template. I like your spacing.

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  27. I am in love but my practical husband wants to know how to remove them in the future. Any guesses? He's got a point that it may be more effort than it's worth if you have to remove them for resale purposes, because you are sick of them, or if you are broke and need to scrounge up some loose change to support your coffee addiction :)

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  28. We've been thinking of screwing down concrete board and applying the pennies on top. Then all you'd have to do is remove the whole boards. I think...

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  29. Since you don't have a resin or anything over it, do they smell, like pennys do?

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  30. This is a great idea. Rather than using it in a hallway/vestibule area I would love to put it in the kitchen as a backsplash. My granite countertop is black, brown and tan so this would make it pop. Thank you for posting this. Thanks to everyone else who made suggestions.

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  31. Somebody of Facebook commented that it is against the law to deface currency (not to mention copper is a conductor...so you wouldn't want to be standing on or near during a lightening storm?) ... what do y'all think? True or not?

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    1. I don't think it would classify as defacing. It's not even as bad as the smashed pennies and they aren't illegal.

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  32. My husband and I were talking about doing this... does it get hot?

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  33. Wow, amazing idea and it seems so simple to do...I would like to try

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  34. Where can O find laticrete epoxy grout?

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  35. I would love to have the template as well if anyone would like to share....I am wanting to try this in my half bathroom that is off of my master bedroom.....

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  36. Reminds me of the kites that Germans used to make out of their paper currency, when they printed too much of it and their currency devalued. It is beautiful, but it also says something the devaluation of our money. When I was a kid, gas was 12 cents and a coke was a nickel, so was a candy bar. You could buy two pieces of bubble gum for a penny. Then, Nixon took us off of the gold standard.

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  37. I have one question.....Can you get into trouble for defacingmoney by doing this project? I LOVE the idea however feel I should ask before trying it. My luck I'd do all the saving and find and hard work installing and then go to jail. LOL. Figured I'd ask fist....

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    1. as far as the government is concerned. you own the material and can do whatever you'd like with it (same as squishing the penny)

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    2. you can not go to jail for this and you are not defacing the pennys. Look on the U.S. Mint website and you will get your answer.

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  38. I love this!!! How much grout did you have to use? How far apart did you place the pennies? Also, how hard was it to work between the pennies?

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  39. It would be very costly but, the coins could be plated without losing detail. There are many colored plating solutions available but cost of soltions and equipment would probably be way too much.

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  40. Oh wow! They really DO look like round-cut mosaic tiles from afar! This is such a great idea! I’ve done something similar with the backsplash for my kitchen and bathroom sinks, but not with coins. I used little broken pieces of the stone, ceramic and porcelain tiles we had lying around from when we renovated our home. I know that’s really what mosaic is about anyway, haha, but I think using pennies is such a creative way of creating a mosaic surface!

    Alana Geikie

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  41. And just think...In God We Trust is on every penny. Not a super religious person, but my grandmother taught me that every time you see a coin, pick it up. In God We Trust is on every one of them and it just couldn't hurt to have a little faith.

    Gorgeous.

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  42. I have just layed a Penny Floor in our bathroom, I used floor tile adhesive to place them on the floor and black grout between the pennies. I placed all the pennies heads up apart from one coin which i beleive adds another element of excitment to the whole penny floor thing. I live in the UK so the floor getting hot is never going to be an issue but it does get very cold. I was also conserned about the floor starting to smell and the coins oxidising and starting to change colour. I have recently purchased some Brasso metal polish and have polished random coins and going to seal the surface with a clear lacquer to stop the smell the oxidising and hopefully make it a little more hygenic. As for it being illegal, I am led to beleive that as long as you dont try and use the currency in the future then this is fine.
    Hopefully this post will help anybody who has the urge to do a Penny floor. It is very very easy to do but it does take a long time but by the reactions i have had from various visitors i believe it was absolutely worth it.

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  44. some have ask about spacing I plan to buy a grid, but the cardboard template sounds great.

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  46. Would it be possible to purchase the template pattern you made on AutoCad for the pennies?

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  48. Can you give me more info on the template you used and the mesh backing you used for creating your penny sheets? We'll be doing a penny floor in our house soon and are looking for info on how to get started. Thanks! angeliqueobryan @ gmail. com

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  49. I found an awesome and easy to use website for the template...
    http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/circle/

    very easy to use and you can adjust how close or far apart you want your pennies. Here are the settings I liked:
    Min Border: .5
    Dot Weight: 2.5
    Grid Spacing: .825
    Radius Multiplier .85 (changing this to 1 makes them basically touching)

    Hope this helps!

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    1. Thanks for the link! I tried this but the dots were smaller than a penny. Did I do something wrong?

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    2. I changed it to
      Grid Spacing: .875
      Radius Multiplier of .95

      Now they are the right size.. but not a whole lot of spacing in between them, but i am still happy with the outcome.

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  50. I'm a coin collector, and seeing this is so painful.. I will admit that it is a cool idea, but I keep thinking about those rare pennies worth thousands of dollars being accidentally chosen to be glued to the floor and become ruined.. Do some research before you you glue those pennies down!

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  51. I LOVE this!!!I saw something similar once and knew that I wanted to do this. We have just moved to a new home, and now is my chance. I have a huge kitchen remodel first, but I am thinking of doing this floor in a small area that now has tiles. The rest of the floors are really beautiful refinished old wood, so I think the copper would be fabulous as an accent. *pinned* Hoping to find more detailed how-to instructions.

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  52. This would really be a great ice breaker for your guests as they enter your house and see your cool flooring. What an interesting way to cover up your flooring Houston - it would sure take time for you to collect those pennies! Another unique way to decorate one's home, thanks for sharing!

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  53. Amazing ! Thanks for sharing everybody !

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  57. How about using the pennies to actually *buy* tile to make a backsplash? That's money you're removing from our economy. They may just seem like pennies, nbd, but for every hundred you saved to glue to your kitchen, you might as well be pasting a dollar bill to your wall, and I doubt pulling an actual dollar from our country seems like a smart idea to you.

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  58. I am getting ready to do my guest bathroom floor. I am so excited for this project. One of many. I am planning on doing a vase as well to place on a shelf to pull the whole room together.

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