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Thursday, December 12, 2013

DIY Penny Bathroom Backsplash

     We've all seen it.  It's all over Pinterest and all the rage right now...Penny Projects! The first image I saw was of people "tiling" a floor with pennies.  I was amazed. I needed this to happen.  But I was also a little afraid.  So my husband and I came up with a solution, a backsplash!  I really wish I would have taken more "how-to" photos but I will do my best to explain and show what I DO have.  So let's get started!
      Here is everything we used - 

  • Wall Paint
  • Paintbrush (Possibly a roller depending on your area)
  • A TON of pennies (We probably used about $35 worth for our small area)
  • Super Glue
  • Spray Lacquer
  • Something to protect your walls (We used rolls of clear plastic sheeting)
  • Drill Gun W/ Grinder Wheel
  • Level
  • Optional - New fixtures 
     So let's get started. Here is a before picture of our bathroom.  Not bad, just outdated.  We really had a perfect situation and spot for this, just a tiny half guest bath.  I knew I wanted to get rid of the big mirror and replace the lights and then the penny backsplash idea was born.  

  1. Step number one was removing everything off of the wall.  Carefully remove your mirror and lighting fixture (If you like).  Thankfully this wall was not textured, so really my prep work was almost done.  
  2. I then painted the room a lighter cream.  But the backsplash area I painted a darker brown.  I knew that this would barely shine between the pennies and I wanted it to be dark.  
  3. After everything was dry, I used my level to draw a line in pencil horizontally across the wall so I knew where to start my line and keep it straight.  This was actually the only line I had to draw, everything stayed surprisingly in line. 
  4. Next, start gluing up those pennies! Just start lining them up on your line, putting a little drop of super glue and putting it up.  Don't use a lot of superglue! It just takes a tiny dot.  Even still you will probably get that really incredibly frustrating "glue fingers" that don't fully come off for days.   We tried using Gorilla glue, but it just doesn't dry fast enough.  Super glue worked really amazing for this project.  Now before I go on, a note about the pennies.  A lot of people have asked where I got them, if I picked them out, and if I put them up there a certain direction or orientation.  The answer in short is, I got them from the bank and yes, the tellers will look at you like you are CRAZY for wanting $20 in pennies.  I didn't pick them out at all, I love the old dirty ones mixed with shiny new ones.  Now if they were so dirty they were just one big black spot I would not use that one.  Also, some one the rolls I got were brand new, all of them.  So I returned those pennies and asked for a mixed roll.  I didn't use any orientation at all, except for one row in the middle.  I picked out pennies with our anniversary year and put all those face up in one row.  Just a neat little detail if you ever notice.
  5. The gluing process will take a very very long time.  Don't let it make you crazy though.  Just do an hour or so at a time.  It took a few weeks of a few hours here and there.  But I'm sure you could get it done faster if you were more determined ;)
  6. Now is the time you are getting near the edges.  You are thinking, what do I do here?!  Well, it took us some trial and error. You need penny halves or ever smaller. The best system we found was using a clamp on the very edge of a table to TIGHTLY hold a penny so that it slightly hangs over the edge.  Then we used a grinder wheel on our drill to cut through the penny.  It took a few tries to get the hang of it, but by the end I was a penny cutting machine!  Don't forget those goggles!  You are now left with a penny half and an even smaller piece that has fallen to the floor, no doubt you will find a place for both.  
  7.     The next step is putting pieces in like a puzzle. Just find where your penny halves fit! Here you can see where we used the penny halves to create a really nice line on each side.  This really helped finish out the entire look.
  8. Don't worry you are almost done! I know you never want to see another penny and never want to mess with super glue again, but it is worth it!  Once all the pennies were up, I used the plastic roll to take around to protect my walls around the penny wall.  Then I put on my mask and goggles and used a spray can of clear lacquer and sprayed away!  Don't spray too much, you don't want runs.  If you see one just quickly wipe it away.  I did three coats of spray.  
  9. You are done!  Now just install your new mirror and new light!  For your mirror, find out where your nail will be in the wall and just remove that penny.  It's that easy!  Now stand back and be amazed at what you have accomplished.

 Thank you so much  for reading and keep on the lookout for more how-to tutorials (Next time with more pictures)  If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!  :)  


  1. I absolutely love this idea! Thank you so much for hosting a giveaway! I found you on a giveaway link and now I have this amazing idea with pennies spinning in my head! Keep these awesome posts coming, you have a very excited new reader!

  2. To save time (a lot of time) and all the cutting of those pennies, it is much quicker to avoid cutting by just trimming the edges and top and bottom with a beautiful wood trim. Your trim will cover the areas left blank... You can miter the corners for a professional look. Paint or stain the trim "before" fastening to the wall

    1. Thank you for your comment! Thats a great idea! I know when we first started we wanted the more "industrial" look with the penny edges, but I would have certainly just done wood trim now to save some time!

  3. P.S.....also add a very professional finished look and saves tons and tons of time !!!

  4. I love this-- and maybe doing this too --real soon

  5. Out of curiosity... Other sites have you using all of the tile grade products like grout, mud and so on. Has the super glue hold well? I want to use it in my kitchen, so it will be wiped down regularly. Thanks!

    1. Thanks the question! We went through the same dilemma when we were planning. Whether we should treat it like we were "tiling' the wall and grout it. We decided not to since the pennies are so shallow and textured, you don't even notice the tiny little gaps between them at all. And as far as holding up, we did it almost a year ago,and not a single penny has shifted or fallen! And easiest part of super glue, even if they did, you can just pop it back up there with some more super glue. And I'm sure as long as you add a couple coats of the clear lacquer,it would wipe down super easy. Thanks for reading!

  6. How many pennies do you estimate this took? I'd like to try it on a similar size backsplash.

  7. How many pennies do you estimate this took? I'd like to try it on a similar size backsplash.



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