before and after

before & after: penny wall

by Kate Pruitt

With all of us here at D*S going through a major copper obsession right now, it should come as no surprise that we love penny installations — walls, floors, you name it. One of the greatest assets of using pennies for decor is the inherent variation in color and pattern you get; the salvaged look of pennies works in your favor, and as you’re gluing them down, you don’t have to worry about trying to maintain any order. It’s going to look great no matter what! This penny wall by Lizzie and her husband, Ryan, is a perfect example. It adds just the right touch of dark luxuriousness to their bar corner, and it sets off their vintage-inspired decor beautifully. Awesome job, Lizzie and Ryan! — Kate

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Time: It took us from May until January. That being said, it would have been much quicker if we had really put our nose to the grindstone. As an example of the time-consuming nature, we would glue in 1- to 2-hour spurts, and it would give us between 3 and 6 inches of pennies (a few rows). Needless to say, it got a little daunting.

Cost: $75 ($50 in pennies, $25 for supplies)

Basic Steps: First we nailed the plywood to the wall. You could just glue the pennies directly to the drywall if you wanted. The reason we used plywood, though, was to ensure the surface was completely flat so that the pennies would be flush with the wall. Also, if we move one day, we didn’t want to have to scrape them all off.

Starting at the bottom of the wall, we glued an exactly level (like, get your level out) row of pennies. From there, nestle the next row of pennies in between the spaces of the previous row. That sounds easy, but there is some play in the nestle, so you have to be careful. You can easily get a little off track, which, after a few rows, turns into a downright slanted row of pennies. At one point, the pennies got slightly unlevel and we had to rip a couple of rows off and re-do them. Very irritating . . .  Also, we always started on the outer edge of the wall because we wanted to make sure the penny on that side didn’t stick out too much since we were going to be covering it with trim. Lastly, we nailed the wood trim around the edges.

Our advice is to skip the glue gun completely. We had to re-glue some of the pennies to the wall after Ryan nailed up the trim, and he used a clear silicone instead of Elmer’s. He said it worked the absolute best, but it would definitely be more costly. I’d also suggest checking the level of the wall every 6 inches or so. Believe me, you don’t want to rip any pennies off. It’s like ripping out a part of your soul :) Lizzie

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  • What kind of cleaner/detergent if we want to clean it first before gluing the pennies down?? Did you have it in a certain way like all heads up??

  • I love the way this looks! My question is, do you have to put any kind of coating over it? Or do you have to fill in the gaps between the pennies? Thank you!

    • hi PAM, did you find any info on sealing/coating penny walls? I want to put penny mosaic in my shower but cannot find any info about the sealing to prevent build up of soap scum etc in the gaps!
      thanks, Yvonne :) Ireland

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