Like any young college aged person, I have a fair amount of hand me down furniture. One of my hand me down pieces is a cherry wood coffee table. It’s a nice quality/solid wood table, but the cherry stain didn’t ‘t look great with my deep pumpkin colored accent wall and the table was was a bit traditional for my taste. It also wasn’t exactly in pristine shape after a few run-ins with a certain beagle. Rather than throw away a nice quality piece of furniture I decide to revamp it by painting it black, tiling it in pennies, and sealing the top with a clear resin. Here is how it went…
My original inspiration for this project was an article I read about a hotel in NYC that used pennies as floor tiles. This got me thinking that it would look really awesome to tile a tabletop in pennies, and it would be a great way for me to update our scratched up coffee table. For the most part it turned out really well.
Here is a before shot of our table:
My first step for this furniture makeover was to sand the entire table to get rid of it’s sheen. This helps prevent the paint from chipping or peeling.
Next I painted it black (insert Rolling Stone’s lyrics here) using an angled paintbrush. The best way to get a smooth, even finish is by applying the paint using multiple thin, smooth coats. I did three coats.
Already it looks so much better and a lot more modern right? Well, this is just the beginning. To get the pennies I first gathered any loose change I had, but that was only about enough to cover 1/20th of the table. I ended up going to the bank to get LOTS of rolls of pennies. I laid them out on the table a little at a time (all heads up for good luck!) and then used super glue to get them to stay in place. Super glue is the perfect adhesive for this since it dries so quickly.
I found that the best way to lay them out was by laying them out in rings starting from the outside and working inward. Each time I would lay out one ring, make any necessary adjustments, glue them down, and then start on the next one. Very efficient.
This step took a decent amount of time (and about $10 in pennies) but eventually we were able to fill it all with pennies. When we first started this project my boyfriend and I estimated it would take between $3 and $4- were not great at estimating apparently.
Once the tiling is done it’s time to start thinking about resin. Now, ideally if you are doing this project you have a square or rectangular table. If so, you can build a small lip around the table top to keep the resin contained. Unfortunately our table is VERY irregularly shaped, so we had to use an alternate method. To do this we used tape and aluminum foil. First we covered the edges of the table in blue painter’s tape to protect the surface.
Next we cut long strips of aluminum foil (which will function as the lip of the table) and attached them to long strips of duct tape.
Then we taped the duct tape to the protected rim of the table, leaving the aluminum foil extending upward. Ideally the foil should end at the seam between the table top and the blue painter’s tape. You do not want the resin to touch the tape when it is poured.
The idea is that the foil will serve as a nonstick surface that can be peeled off once the resin dries. Eventually we got the foil taped all the way around the table.
Now- time to pour the resin. We used this brand which I would definitely NOT recommend. We ended up having major issues getting the resin to dry completely, and after reading reviews online I now know we’re not alone.
You have to follow the directions exactly (which we did) but even then there are no guarantees. The very center of our table never fully dried (and this project took place over a month ago). This is why I recommend using an alternate brand of resin. Anyhow, we poured the resin onto the table top and used a squeegee to smooth it out. We actually used a toothpick to pop any teeny tiny air bubbles. Shiny huh?
After the suggested drying time we removed the foil and tape. There were some areas where there was tape and/or foil stuck in the resin but it was pretty easy to fix using a box-cutter or X-acto knife. We sanded the edges of the table and touched up any messy spots with extra black paint.
By the time we were done it looked quite nice, very clean and shiny in spite of the slightly tacky center.
We ended up solving the sticky-situation by adding a strategically placed centerpiece- currently pine cones for the holidays. Now we have a one of a kind, handmade, and stylish coffee table to rest our feet on every day. It was also very cost effective since penny-round tiles cost significantly more than a penny per tile. Even though we ran into some minor issues along the way, we’re both very pleased with how it turned out. What do you think?