Search This Blog

April 04, 2016

Making Holes in Coins for Jewelry

Well, I promised myself I would get back to my regular blogging schedule, and here we are again. Yay!


Today, I figured I would write about making holes in metal, like coins or earring findings like these hoops.  It's a super easy thing to do with the right tools - and the right tools are definitely not a drill.  And of course, I'll show you the projects I made with each of these.

Let's get started at the beginning - which in this case, will be the hoops.

These are channel hoop findings from Nunn Design. I love, love, love them, but I had a specific design in mind to channel set some turquoise beads, but there is nothing for me to attach the beads with.

The best solution I could come up with is to add a hole near the bottom edge so I could run a wire down the middle of the channel. Then, there is some room near the post that I can wrap the other end of the wire around.

So, out comes my handy dandy metal hole punch. This one makes two different size holes and the only drawback is that it is really meant to make holes fairly close to the edge.  Basically, it has a small punch die that is attached to a screw. Slide your metal into place, position the die and clamp it down by screwing it into place.

And then keep turning. The die is pressed into the metal and the little plug of metal is pushed out a hole in the bottom of the punch. Unscrew to remove your item.  It is incredibly easy and requires no elbow grease at all. I've also found that it doesn't mar the surface of my metal, but I've only punched a few things recently and they weren't perfectly smooth to start with, so I guess I'll need to do a litle more research on that one.

There are a couple of limitations with this type of punch though. As I already mentioned, the hole can't be too far in the center of the metal and this punch only has two sizes.  But there are some in a similar style like this metal hole punch from BeadSmith that at least try to give a little more room to offset the hole.

A quick update to this post in response to a comment from Jen that she has trouble making the hole where she wants it. I didn't have that problem because this metal is thick and it didn't slide around, but I agree with her comment about making wire 'bones'. I use a different type of metal punch for that (mine is actually intended for leather, but it works). You can see it in this post on making a ring from wire bones, or on Amazon Pliers Style Hand Punch.  And just to be thorough, I think this plier style punch from EuroTool, also intended for metal, looks great too, I just don't have one... yet.  Back to the projects now.

And now that I've got the holes, I could finally make the earrings that I pictured from the moment I first laid eyes on these hoop findings.  I think these earrings are sooooo cool.  Turquoise heishi wired down the center channel. I love the way the heishi curve around the hoops and also sit inside the channel of the hoop.

If you've been following me for any period of time, you probably know that once I have a little success with something, I have to keep pushing my luck. I found a penny and a dime in the street earlier in the day (which I always think is a lucky thing) so I decided to make a lucky penny bracelet. The dime was sacrificed first to check how easy or hard it is to make a hole in a coin.

And guess what?!  It's super easy!  Like buttah (that's butter...)

And since I was already digging in the turquoise bead stash for the earrings, I figured it's a good idea to surround my lucky penny with turquoise beads on elastic cord. I really love the way the penny aligns with the beads on the inside diameter of the bracelet, but sticks out on the outside.  I've had a lot of compliments on it too.

Here's another look at the bracelet that gives a better idea of how it looks on your wrist.  The more I think about it, there are a lot of other fun options I can think of with coins.

By the way, if you're concerned that I'll be thrown in jail for defacing currency, just know that it is only illegal if your intent is to defraud with the changes. To make a hole in currency to make jewelry is fine. 

And on one last note, I want to mention that both the earrings and bracelet are not real turquoise but either magnesite or chalk turquoise.  I bought them as part of a mix of 10 strands of blue/green 'turquoise' from Fire Mountain Gems for about $8 with the 100 item discount.  I may have gotten super lucky, but my mixture has fabulous bright blue and greenish colored strands, in a nice variety of sizes and shapes. 

I just like to pass this on because sometimes people think it's impossible to make nice looking, sellable jewelry without spending a lot of money on their supplies. Even at the full price of $16 for ten strands, I think these beads are a great bargain.  I'll try to add a picture of the whole selection tomorrow.

Well, it's a relief to be working with metal for a change and to be writing about it again!  I hope you'll follow me in some form or another to get notified of future projects, and show me some love by liking, re-tweeting, commenting or sharing my tutorials.

By email: You can sign up by providing your email and you will be notified of new blog posts plus special offers. Make sure you confirm your subscription request by clicking the link in the email.

By liking my page on Facebook: Lisa Yang Jewelry on Facebook

By following me on Pinterest: Lisa Yang Jewelry on Pinterest

By subscribing on YouTube:  Lisa Yang Jewelry on YouTube

And Instagram: @lisayangjewelry


  1. I have one of these, and I like it, but it does have another caveat, at least in my particular application of it. I wanted to make "bones," straight links with a hole at either end. I cut my wire to length, hammer each end into a paddle, and punch a hole in each flattened end. Sounds simple, right? Well, I have the darnedest time getting those holes centered! If I DO get it in the right spot, sometimes the act of tightening the screw skews the bone out of alignment. I'm going to give this another try today, actually, because I have a chance to work in a shop that has a bench vice (I don't, yet). I'm going to clamp the punch in the vice and see if having extra fingers to hold the bone steady will help me get it centered more consistently.

    Otherwise, yes, this is a great tool and I love its portability. It occurs to me that I've seen them in other sizes, but I'm not completely sure about that. Writing on the tool "small" and "big" is a smart and timesaving idea. I'm doing THAT today, too!

    1. For wire bones, I use a punch that is meant for leather and it works perfectly. You can mark the spot where you want the hole and it is adjustable to the size hole that you can make. For the hoops, I originally used it, but the metal was just a little too thick, so the screw down hole maker was a ton easier. You can see it in this post:

    2. I've been toying with the idea of getting one of those punches. It makes sense that it would work better for bones. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the tip! I forgot I had that tool.

  3. I especially love the earrings you made---thanks for the great idea!

  4. I have this thing and it is not easy to create a hole at all! Takes a lot off muscle, and the hole is only "clean" on one side. There is no "donut hole" created. What am I doing wrong please?