Make a unique tea-light holder featuring 18 of your shiniest US Pennies. Fits one standard 1.5" (38mm) tea-light candle.
The idea behind this little arts and crafts project was to take something worthless (a handful of pennies) and add the minimal amount of 3D printed magic to make something nifty and unique for under 10$.
Insert 3 Pennies into the 3 horizontal slots to form the flat bottom, then press 15 more Pennies into the slots around the outer edge. You can get different effects depending on which way each Penny is facing and how it is rotated (I'm partial to Abe looking up, but play around and see what you like). The slots are designed to hold the pennies with a bit of a spring force which is strong enough for casual handling; however some Pennies are thinner than others, and if you want to eliminate the risk of one of them coming out during rough handling or when someone drops it, a small drop of Elmer's white glue or something similar in each slot before you insert the Penny will do the trick.
- The black material does a good job of being unnoticble, leaving the focus on the cool pattern of Pennies. The white material shows off the 3D printed nature of the tea-light frame. I haven't tried any colors yet, but go nuts.
- US Pennies vary a bit in their thicknesses and the 3D printed tea-light frames will differ by a slight amount from one to the next due to the limitations of the technology. The 15 slots along the perimeter have enough springiness built in to accomodate these variations and will hold the Pennies reliably. The 3 slots that hold the Pennies that form the bottom are more susceptible to being too tight or too loose. If that is the case, you can just leave those 3 Pennies out and the tea-light candle will rest on the 3 little flats under each slot.
- You can turn old, tarnished Pennies into shiny, new looking ones with the old Ketchup and Baking Soda trick. Give your Pennies a bath in Ketchup for a couple of minutes (I used a small tupperware container with a lid and just shook the whole thing), then rinse off and rub them thouroughly in a Baking Soda and water slurry (equal parts Baking Soda and water in the small tupperware with a good 5 minutes of shaking). It sounds silly, but the acid and salt in the ketchup disolve away any copper oxide tarnish on the Pennies and then the Baking Soda slurry neutralizes the acid and is abrassive enough to remove any remaining dirt and grease.
- If you're interested in getting a matching pair of these, you can save 2$ by buying a double set here.