I was cruising around a local rock and roll boutique, and I found a set of buttons made from pennies: $1.99 for 3. Cool, I thought, but a penny should cost 1¢, not 67. A DIY project for sure.
Handful of coins
Electric drill or drill press
1/16” drill bit
Scrap hard wood
Small clamps (optional)
Needle and thread
1. Grab a handful of coins. Scour the bottom of your coin jar for subway tokens, foreign coins, or arcade tokens.
2. To clean the coins, pour 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt into a small bowl, and swirl until the salt dissolves. Submerge the coins, and soak for 10 minutes.
3. Take the coins out of the vinegar bath and rinse with water, then pat dry.
4. Using a pencil (a mechanical one works best), mark where you’ll drill your holes. I tried to find the 1/3 and 2/3 lines, and drilled where they intersected.
5. Place your coin on top of a piece of wood. If you can, use a piece of hardwood, not pine or cedar, as it will minimize the tearout and decrease filing. If using a hand drill, clamp the coin firmly to a stable work surface.
6. Drill the holes with a 1/16” bit. If using a drill press, set the speed at a low setting (500ish rpm). If using a hand drill, pull slightly on the trigger to set a slow speed.
7. Once your holes are drilled, wipe away the pencil marks with a damp finger.
8. Turn the coin over, to the hidden side, and file away any sharp points from drilling.
9. Wipe away any pencil or metal dust, and wash the button a final time with soap and water.
10. Sew your button. For detailed instructions, check out this video.